On A Mediterranean Diet? Try These 6 One-Pot Vegetarian Meals
Image Credit: Pixabay

There are plenty of ways to eat healthy. You could go with a simple, balanced meal or a healthy weight loss or weight gain diet, or—if you have a health condition like hypertension—you could also try a DASH diet. If you believe in ancient Indian wisdom, then you could also eat healthy by adhering to Ayurvedic principles of ritucharya and dincharya. But in recent years, one of the most holistic and healthy diets that has been popularized the world over is the Mediterranean diet.  

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that is inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea region, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and southern France. It is known for its emphasis on whole, unprocessed foods and a balanced approach to nutrition. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Healthy fats like olive oil, proteins like fish and seafood, some dairy products like yoghurt and cheese, and fresh herbs and spices are a part of this diet. 

Many studies in recent years, including some published in Lancet as recently as 2022, indicate that there are plenty of verifiable health benefits of adopting the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet has been associated with numerous health benefits. It is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and improved cognitive function. These health benefits are believed to be attributed to the overall nutrient density, high fiber content, and favorable fatty acid profile of the diet. 

It is important to note that the Mediterranean diet is not just about the specific foods consumed but also encompasses a lifestyle that promotes regular physical activity, shared meals with family and friends, and mindful eating practices. So, instead of adding whole food groups, you can also focus on a few recipes at a time that include the best of all that the Mediterranean diet has to offer. Wondering how to go about that? Here are some vegetarian, one-pot Mediterranean diet recipes that you can start with at home. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Food Wishes

Lemon Cauliflower Potato Roast

This recipe provides a flavorful and nutritious one-pot dish with the combination of roasted cauliflower, potatoes, and the tangy lemon flavor. It incorporates the use of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and herbs, which are typical ingredients in the Mediterranean diet. All you need to do for this one is cut the cauliflower and potatoes the same size, and dress them with a mix of lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 200 degrees, and that is it! 

Cashew Chickpea Penne

For this one-pot Mediterranean diet recipe, you can also use other pasta varieties like fusilli or macaroni. This recipe calls for plenty of fresh ingredients that are typically a part of the Mediterranean diet, like chickpeas, tomatoes, spinach leaves, garlic, oregano, basil, lemon and olive oil, not to mention a thick cashew paste. All you need to do is cook the tomatoes, spinach leaves, chickpeas, herbs and spices together, add water and cook the pasta with the rest of the ingredients instead of separately. The cashew paste needs to be added last. 

Mushroom Aglio Olio 

Traditionally, an aglio olio needs only three ingredients—pasta (usually spaghetti or linguini), olive oil and garlic, which are traditional Mediterranean ingredients. A simple one-pot dish, you can enhance this one by adding one or more varieties of mushrooms, which are a great source of plant proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Stir fry the garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil, add chilli flakes, black pepper and oregano, and finally add cooked spaghetti or linguine pasta to make this dish. You can also top the dish with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese. 

Paneer Jambalaya

Truth be told, a Jambalaya is not technically a Mediterranean dish—it is an American Creole or Cajun dish. But put the concept of Jambalaya together with Mediterranean ingredients, and you have a one-pot winner dinner on your hands. What you need to do is cook heat olive oil and cook the paneer along with garlic, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, oregano, paprika, thyme, cilantro, salt and pepper. You can also add some cayenne pepper for that Cajun touch. Add soaked basmati rice to this veggie mix, add stock or water accordingly, and cook it up like a soupy pulao. 

Coconut Chickpea Rice

A simple pulao like dish prepared with Mediterranean ingredients, you can make this one with basmati rice if you don’t have risotto or arborio rice available. Boil the chickpeas separately and ahead of time for this recipe. Cook some tomatoes, onions, carrots, peas and chickpeas in olive oil with spices like garlic, cumin, turmeric, paprika, pepper and salt. Add the rice and coconut milk, cover and cook until done. 

Veggie Minestrone

A minestrone is a one-pot classic dish from the Mediterranean, so it is perfect for a Mediterranean diet. All you need to do is cook garlic, onion, carrots, spinach, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes and any other veggies of your choice in olive oil. Add stock, cannellini or kidney beans, and season with oregano, black pepper, paprika and salt. Now add macaroni or any other small pasta to this dish and cook until done. You can top the Veggie Minestrone with parsley and parmesan cheese.