12 Plant-Based Recipes to Enjoy on the Mediterranean Diet

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Researchers at the University of Barcelona found that the traditional Mediterranean diet topped a low-fat diet in helping older adults improve their cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Mediterranean-style eating generally means plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, limited amounts of red meat and processed foods, and a relatively high amount of fat from olive oil and nuts. Experts believe the benefit stems from the fact that the unsaturated fats found in olive oil and nuts actually help protect the cardiovascular system.

Did you know the Mediterranean Diet may be more beneficial than the low fat diet? So enjoy your olive oil and nuts with these plant-based, dairy-free recipes

Mediterranean Diet May Be More Beneficial Than Low Fat Diet

The researchers repeated their findings in another study of 7447 men and women aged 55-80, which ran from 2003 to 2010. The participants were randomly assigned to one of three diets: an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, an unrestricted-calorie Mediterranean diet rich in nuts, or a low-fat diet where the advice was to avoid all dietary fat.

After 5 years, total fat intake in the low-fat diet group decreased from 40% to 37.4%, and slightly increased in both Mediterranean diet groups (40% to 41.8% in the olive oil group; 40.4% to 42.2% in the nut group).

On average, participants in all three groups lost some weight, but the olive oil group lost the most. They saw a 0.88 kg weight reduction compared to a 0.60 kg weight reduction in the low-fat diet group. But the nuts group saw the lowest weight reduction at 0.40 kg, which does counter part of their prior hypothesis.

But the researchers still hold strong that fat limitations are not beneficial to long-term health and should be reevaluated.

12 Plant-Based Recipes to Enjoy on the Mediterranean Diet

These recipes are rich in olive oil or nuts, have a plant-forward approach, and are in line with the Mediterranean Diet. They also pull flavor influences from regional countries like Greece, Italy, Spain and France.

Fresh Tomato Soup with Olive Oil and Rustic Croutons

Tomato Soup with Homemade Olive Oil Croutons

Greek Orange Salad with Fresh Mint

Orange, Mint and Onion Salad

One-Pot Sicilian Couscous

One-Pot Sicilian Couscous Recipe - A Plant-Based Dinner Recipe from One-Dish Vegan

Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables

Mediterranean Vegetables Recipe - grilled or roasted; dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan

Vegan Pine Nut Cheese Pasta

Creamy Vegan Pine Nut Cheese Pasta Recipe Infused with Green Tea - dairy-free and optionally gluten-free

Eggplant Caponata

Plant-Based Eggplant Caponata Recipe and How to Serve It (naturally dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and paleo)

Simple Socca with Stove Top and Oven Directions

Simple Socca Recipe - Naturally dairy-free and gluten-free chickpea flatbread from the Mediterranean

Lentil Salad with Marinated Onions, Roasted Tomatoes and Greek Olives

Lentil Salad with Marinated Onions, Roasted Tomatoes and Olives

Herb Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Olive Oil Agrodolce

Marinated Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Olive Oil Agrodolce

Pesto Hummus Pasta Salad

Basil Pesto Hummus Pasta Salad

Tuscan Potato Leek Soup

Rustic Tuscan Potato Leek Soup with Olive Oil Pesto

Grilled Peach Salad with Crunchy Spiced Pecans & Vegan Goat Cheese

Grilled Peach Salad Recipe with Spiced Pecans and Dairy-Free "Goat Cheese"

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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