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Mediterranean-inspired meals

Adapt this healthy way of eating from Europe’s richly diverse culinary regions.

By Joan Teotico

MARCH 2013

Eating a Mediterranean diet has been linked to a number of health benefits, such as: improving cardiovascular health and reducing build-up of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol; lowering the risk of depression, mental health decline and cerebrovascular disease; increasing longevity; and keeping weight gain at bay.

There are more than 15 countries located at the border of the Mediterranean Sea; among them are Italy, Greece, France, Spain, Turkey, Israel and Monaco. Although nuances in the Mediterranean diet exist in these nations and regions within them, the cuisine’s essential ingredients and components include the following:

• Eating plenty of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains;

• Using olive oil as a healthy source of fat instead of butter;

• Selecting low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese;

• Adding spices and fresh herbs to enhance flavor of meals; and

• Consuming seafood such as fish instead of red meat.

In addition, healthy cooking methods that are of note include grilling, broiling, roasting, baking, steaming and sautéing. Salads are served with whole grains such as bulgur and quinoa then simply dressed with olive oil or vinaigrette.

Roselyn Tiangco, pastry chef and owner of Kitchen's Best Home Patisserie, takes your taste buds on a journey to Europe’s sun-drenched coastal regions with her Mediterranean-inspired recipes, which she created exclusively for HealthToday. The key to preparing and cooking these sumptuous yet healthy meals is “Fresh ingredients—that's the secret. … And, as much as possible, no preservatives,” she says.

Good food and good health may apparently co-exist. Fish and seafood are the primary source of protein, and omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in the pan-grilled salmon. The cauliflower mash side dish is made with mushrooms that deliver vitamin D, a nutrient that helps keep our bones and immune system strong. To enhance the flavors of her fare, Tiango uses fresh herbs and heart-healthy olive oil.

But before you make major changes in your diet, talk to your doctor and dietitian. He or she can help you determine the total calories, the ideal food portions and serving sizes you need.

Enjoying meals with family and friends—even exercising—is a key practice that is included in the Mediterranean dietary pyramid. Involve your loved ones in menu planning, buying ingredients, recreating these recipes in your kitchen and, finally, savoring each bite towards good health, wellness and vitality.

Pan-grilled salmon with mashed truffled cauliflower



150 g salmon fillet
pinch of salt and pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ onion, chopped
2 overripe tomatoes


1. Season salmon fillet with salt and pepper; pan grill each side for one to two minutes.

2. Heat olive oil in the pan. Sauté onions and tomatoes for 30 seconds to one minute on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Serve with mashed cauliflower (recipe follows).

Chef’s tip: Go local: Swap salmon with deboned tilapia.

Mashed truffled cauliflower


3 cups water
120 g cauliflower
salt and pepper
10 g fresh button mushrooms, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ Tbsp truffle oil


    1. Fill a large pan with water and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook for five minutes until tender. Drain. Mash using a blender.

    2. Sauté chopped mushrooms in olive oil. Afterwards, add to cauliflower mash, and season with salt and pepper.

    3. Drizzle with truffle oil. Serve.

    Serves one.

    About the chef: Roselyn Tiangco is the pastry chef and owner of Kitchen's Best Home Patisserie located at Ground Floor McKinley Park Residences Condominium, 3rd Ave. corner 31st Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig and at Unit 5B Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City. She is a graduate of the Grand Diploma Course in Patisserie in France’s renowned Lenôtre. She successfully completed certificate courses at Le Cordon Bleu and Pierre Hermé in Paris, and at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. Her extensive educational background also includes certificate courses and studies in schools located in Manila, San Francisco, Tuscany and Melbourne, and also in Thailand and Vietnam.

    Get more Mediterranean-inspired recipes from Chef Roselyn in the March issue of HealthToday, out now in newsstands and bookstores.

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