Who doesn’t love a great plate of authentic Italian food? And these days, more and more people are trying to make healthy food choices. Well, you’ll be glad to know that there’s no reason to sacrifice either. The Italian lifestyle offers plenty of healthy food choices, and here are a few nutritional insights into healthy Italian eating habits.
Enjoying the Mediterranean diet
If you’re trying to cut back on meat, and love Italian food, you’re in luck. Remember, Italy is located in the Mediterranean. There have always been endless Italian recipes created with fish and seafood. There’s no need to sacrifice taste, or authenticity, by replacing your favorite pasta meat with fish or seafood. Take cooked linguine, and toss it in a sautéed mixture of garlic, olive oil, parsley, coarse salt, red pepper flakes, a splash of white wine and a generous portion of shrimp. Delicious
Use Olive Oil
Not all fats are created equal. And did you know that a great quality olive oil is actually good for you? Whether you cook with olive oil, use it as a base for salad dressing, or drizzle it over delicious crusty bread, the flavor and health benefits are huge. Here’s a simple way to create infused olive oils at home. Add garlic cloves, rosemary, and even sun-dried tomatoes, to extra virgin olive oil. Seal and allow the rich flavors to wow you later.
Fruits as a Side Dish
Italians love their fresh fruits. Fruits can be eaten with cheese as an appetizer, used as a snack, or even served for dessert. Here’s a simple fig treat that proudly shouts Italian and is, in fact, very healthy. Wrap thinly sliced prosciutto around fresh, halved figs. Then, drizzle each one with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Serve the flavor-packed appetizers with a glass of your favorite wine. This one’s always a crowd pleaser.
Garlic a Day Keeps Doctor Away
What’s Italian food without a good dose of garlic? But, garlic does more for you than add flavor to your menu. Garlic has immense health benefits, too. Besides, rumor has it that garlic will also keep vampires away. Don’t believe it? Well, when was the last time you saw a vampire hanging around an Italian kitchen?
Here’s an easy, but delicious, garlic bread. Take your favorite crusty loaf bread. Slice it lengthwise. Then, generously drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Crush fresh garlic, and spread it liberally over the bread. Sprinkle a bit of coarsely ground salt, some grated Romano cheese, and oregano. Broil the bread on a metal sheet until slightly bubbly and golden brown. Amazing!
Tomatoes – Healthy Meal Option
Tomatoes are both flavorful and healthy and are a natural antioxidant. Whether they’re served with mozzarella and basil in a fresh Caprese salad or stewed in a wonderful pasta sauce, tomatoes are a truly healthy Italian food option. Here’s a delicious Caprese salad recipe. Take vine-ripened tomatoes and slice them to a moderate thickness. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Add a pinch of sea salt, and top with fresh mozzarella pieces and basil leaves. Colorful. Scrumptious. And, yes, healthy too.
Wine as a Recipe
There’s a reason Italians believe wine is more than a beverage, but also a food. Wine is delicious served in a glass, or as part of a recipe. And besides tasting great, wine is good for you, too. Here’s a simple dessert that’s packed with flavor.
Instead of coffee, try serving almond biscotti dunked in Vin Santo (also known as Holy Wine). And don’t forget to drink the remainder. Salute!
Hungry yet? If you’re in the mood for authentic Italian cuisine, and are in the Miami area, stop by Serafina, located at 19565 Biscayne #1944. Or call us for reservations, and we’ll have a table waiting for you.