If you love olives, grapes, seafood, fresh herbs and all that can be made with these amazing ingredients, you’ll absolutely fall in love with Mediterranean cuisine.
Countries such as Croatia, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Morocco, among others that are located near the Mediterranean Sea, make up this region and contribute to its culinary tradition. In the early years, since the Mediterranean was a major trading hub between these countries, spices, herbs, vegetables and other foods were widely disseminated. Nowadays, we can find a great variety of ingredients of different precedence in this area and all over the world!
The key ingredients that come to mind when one thinks about the Mediterranean culinary tradition are wheat, olives and grapes. This Mediterranean triad can make up a perfect meal with relatively few ingredients: think about a delicious pizza drizzled with the most exquisite olive oil and the finest wine of them all… maybe this is why this region’s food is so popular!
Vegans and the Mediterranean Diet
However amazing this Mediterranean triad may be, this area has plenty more to offer. Fresh vegetables like eggplants, artichokes, squash, onions, mushrooms, cucumbers, and a wide variety of greens and legumes dominate this cuisine together with the most incredible herbs and spices that give an extra something that distinguishes this cuisine from others.
In a vegan or a plant-based diet, one would want to add as many vegetables, legumes, herbs and spices as possible to make all their dishes as flavorful and nutritious as possible. The Mediterranean diet seems to be a great choice to follow if one has a plant-based philosophy.
First of all, this diet is one of the healthiest diets of all, and now that we have learned a little bit about its key ingredients, we can understand the reason: healthy fats, nutritious vegetables and fresh herbs are at the base of its pyramid.
Combining these two diets together, it will be possible to create a delicious, healthy and incredibly wholesome plant-based meal.
Follow this Mediterranean pearl couscous recipe and bring some flavor and culture to your vegan table!
- 3 cups of cooked pearl couscous.
- 15 oz of chickpeas.
- ½ cucumber
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes.
- ⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives.
- 1½ cups baby arugula.
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar.
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley.
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder.
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano.
- salt and pepper to taste.
- Start by cutting all your vegetables. Cut the cucumber into small dice and place it in a big bowl. Cut the cherry tomatoes and the kalamata olives in halves, try to remove the pit from the olives, then add them to the cucumber.
- This recipe will be ten times better if you already have your pearl couscous and chickpeas cooked in advance (beware, it will be great to serve this salad cold on a hot summer day!). Place the pearl couscous and chickpeas together with the vegetables that were previously cut.
- Whisk all these together and set them aside.
Now it’s time to prepare the dressing in a separate bowl. This will be what brings the salad together and adds the true Mediterranean flavor we were looking for!
- Whisk together extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, the juice of one fresh lemon and all your spices: the dried garlic powder, dried oregano and dried parsley. Once this is done, drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and legumes and mix them thoroughly. The idea is that all the ingredients can have plenty of dressing; now, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Keep the salad in the fridge until it is time to eat; while it’s sitting in the fridge the legumes will absorb the dressing and it will be ten times more flavorful.
- Right before serving, once all the guests are sitting at the table or right before you sit down to eat, add the baby arugula and again one more time.
You can add some crispy nuts on top to add some extra crunch and squeeze one more lemon before serving.
If you wish to add more protein still, balsamic roasted tofu can be a great choice! What’s best about this salad is that it is easily customizable to fit your preferences.