More than 8 million older Americans are overweight or obese, but research has shown that eating a Mediterranean diet, in addition to your senior fitness routine, can keep you aging healthy and living well.
If you aren’t quite sure where to start, meander around the Mediterranean with these easy to follow recipes from superstar chefs.
Grilled Sardines with Mint and Almonds
Take grilling indoors as the season turns with this North African dish from globe-trotting celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern.
- 3/4 cup whole almonds
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
- 3 large garlic cloves
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 fresh sardines—cleaned, heads left on
- Lime wedges for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread the almonds in an even layer and toast for about 10 minutes, until golden.
- In a medium bowl, stir the saffron with 2 tablespoons of hot water. Let stand for 2 minutes. Stir in the onion, raisins and half of the roasted almonds.
- In a food processor, combine the cilantro, mint, garlic and crushed pepper. Pulse just to combine. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil. Add two-thirds of the herb mixture into the onion mixture.
- Using a sharp paring knife, make 3 diagonal slashes into the fish on both sides. Rub the remaining herb mixture all over the fish and into the slashes. Broil the fish for about 3 minutes per side, until nicely charred and cooked through.
- Spoon some of the sauce onto a serving platter, top with the grilled sardines and serve with lime wedges.
Chef’s note: “If sardines aren’t available, try using any fresh fish. I prefer small fish: anything from 5 ounces to 2 pounds is perfect.”
Quinoa Salad with Pickled Radishes and Feta
Food and Wine’s Best New of 2008 Chef Giuseppe Tentori channels his native Italy with this heart-healthy salad.
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 medium radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound thin green beans
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 large English cucumber—halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 6 ounces Greek feta, thinly sliced
- In a small saucepan, simmer the red wine vinegar with the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the radish slices. Let stand until cool, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the green beans until they are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the beans under cold water until cool. Pat the beans dry and cut them into 1 1/2-inch lengths.
- In a medium saucepan, bring 1 3/4 cups of water to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover and simmer over low heat until the water has been absorbed, about 12 minutes. Uncover and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, toss the cucumber with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the quinoa with the parsley, lemon juice and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Drain the radishes and add them to the quinoa with the beans, cucumber and feta. Toss well and serve.
Chef’s Note: “The quinoa salad can be refrigerated for up to 3 hours.”
Balsamic Strawberries with Strawberry Sorbet
You don’t have to skip dessert when you’re eating healthy; just try this fast and easy recipe from Mediterranean-style megachef Mario Batali.
- 1 pound strawberries, quartered
- 1 1/2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper
- Strawberry sorbet for serving
- In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with the vinegar and a generous pinch of pepper.
- Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve over strawberry sorbet.
Chef’s Note: “Try pairing the dessert with a nicely sweet Italian Brachetto d’Acqui.”
For senior fitness tips, check out last week's blog on wellness and exercise.
Grilled sardines photo by Stephanie Meyer via FoodandWine.com
Quinoa Salad photo by Anna Williams via FoodandWine.com