Hy-Vee at Midday: Spring into the Mediterranean style of eating

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - When is a diet not a diet? When it’s a lifestyle. The Mediterranean style of eating is consistently rated one of the healthiest dietary patterns by registered dietitians to promote healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Based on food traditions from various regions of the world including Greece and Southern Italy, the Mediterranean diet emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish as a protein source and healthy oils from olives and nuts. Also, meat and cheeses are used as flavor enhancers, rather than main dishes.
May is Mediterranean Diet month, which means it’s the perfect time to highlight the primary principles of the diet with three delicious, seasonal recipes.

Grilled Greek Salad
Serves 4
Greek salad is a classic favorite. Give it a new flavor twist by lightly grilling a base of Romaine and dressing it lightly with olive oil vinaigrette & fresh herbs.

All you need:
Hy-Vee Select olive oil, as needed
2 Romaine lettuce hearts, cut in half
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, seeded and cut into bite-size chunks
3/4 cup Kalamata black olives, cut in halves, if desired
1/4 pound Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

All you do:
1. Preheat grill to high.
2. With a basting brush, lightly brush cut surfaces of Romaine hearts.
3. Place lettuce, cut sides down, on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes. Turn; grill 1 minute. Remove from heat; coarsely chop lettuce and place in large serving bowl.
4. Add tomato, red onion, cucumber and olives to lettuce in bowl. Top with crumbled feta cheese.
5. In a mason jar with tight-fitting lid, combine oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and black pepper. Shake to combine and pour desired amount over salad. Store unused dressing in refrigerator.
6. Top with parsley.
Source: Adapted from www.oldways.org

Smoked Salmon & Pesto Flatbread Pizza
Serves 6 (1/2 flatbread pizza each)
Quick-to-assemble, this full of flavor flatbread pizza is an easy way to warm up to fish in non-traditional entrées.

All you need:
3 Flat Out Flatbread rosemary & olive oil artisan thin pizza crusts
1/2 cup Classico traditional basil pesto
1 (4 oz) smoked salmon fillet, coarsely flaked
1 cup coarsely chopped kale greens
1/3 cup Hy-Vee shredded pizza cheese
1/2 small red onion, sliced
1 Roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup Hy-Vee feta cheese crumbles

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place pizza crusts on a baking sheet. Spread with pesto. Sprinkle with flaked salmon and kale.
3. Top with shredded pizza cheese, red onion, diced tomato and feta cheese.
4. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Cut each flatbread pizza in half before serving.
Source: Adapted from www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com

Dried Figs with Ricotta, Walnuts & Honey
Naturally sweet fruit is the basis of desserts in the Mediterranean. Dried figs are enhanced with ricotta cheese, honey and the healthy oils in walnuts for a winning combination of flavor and textures.

All you need:
16 California walnut halves
8 dried figs
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, divided
1 tbsp honey

All you do:
1. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over a medium-high heat until fragrant, about two minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Cut each fig in half crosswise and place on a serving dish cut side up.
3. Make a small indentation into the cut side of each fig half with a small spoon or your finger. Place ½ teaspoon of ricotta cheese on each fig and top with a walnut half.
4. Drizzle with honey and serve.
Source: Adapted from www.walnuts.org