I hope the New Year has started well for you and you are enjoying the winter, cooking wonderful foods and celebrating life with family and friends.
I love everything about winters. I love being able to wear multiple layers of scarfs and sweaters. I love drinking hot dark chocolate as an excuse to stay warm. I love that in Lecce we get a sunny day almost every day even in January.
And I love cooking recipes with my favorite soffritto (sauté) made with extra virgin olive oil and red tomatoes (full of the powerful lycopene antioxidant) which now doctors say will make us healthier and stronger.
Doctors have finally proved that the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet may be due not only to the consumption of certain foods, but also to cooking techniques such as soffritto, which can help the extraction of carotenoids and phenolic compounds from food matrix, and could contribute to its bioacessibility, bioavailability, and health effects.
This means that we should not use a “bad quality” extra virgin olive oil for cooking (or even worst an oil that is not extra virgin, but refined with chemicals).
A bad quality olive oil may not have the polyphenols required to make the soffritto so healthy.
Cooking with good EVOO every day will result in healthier and tastier foods as well as in healthier skin and hair as EVOO is also naturally rich in Vitamin E (which is aka the beauty Vitamin!).
The Mediterranean Diet is not a quick fix but a lifestyle that should be followed every day.
I have to admit that both my Grandmothers knew all this, way before this scientific study.
I still have memories of the incredible smell of their soffritto. They made it every day and used it as a base for all their recipes.
Basically, it was their “natural” everyday medicine!
And because I am now on a mission to “rejuvinate” through food, I have been using a soffritto made with red tomatoes and EVOO every day: from my minestrone (vegetable soup), legumes soup, risotto with artichokes, fish in red sauce to basically everything I cook.
The taste is sooo much better even when I use the most simple ingredients.
You can add onion or garlic to the soffritto too.
Please find here a recipe with lentils which are naturally rich in proteins and perfect for people following a Mediterranean Diet or a plant-based diet.
ingredients for 4 servings
-300 grams of dry lentils
-3 tablespoons of Equilibrium or Green Season Extra Virgin Olive Oil (3 tbsp in total for cooking and 1 tbsp per person on top of each plate)
-10 red tomatoes
-2 dry or fresh bay leves
-dry or fresh wild rosemary
-1 tsp of sea salt
Soak the Lentils over night.
The morning after, wash and slice the red tomatoes and sautè them in a pot with three tablespoons of Equilibrium or Green Season EVOO.
Cover the pot with the lid and let the tomatoes melt and if necessary add 3-4 tablespoons of water (so they do not stick).
Then rinse the lentils and add them to the pot. Cover them with water, add two bay leaves and a bit of fresh wild rosesmary and let them cook at low heat for about 45 minute until they are ready.
Two minutes before switching off the flame, add 1 tsp of sea salt.
Let the lentils cool down and serve on a plate.
Add 1 tbsp of Equilibrium or Green Season EVOO on top of each plate and a bit of chilly pepper (I use the AOP Chilly Pepper from Espelette that we bought on our last culinary trip to France).
Enjoy ….and if you make extra……you can also freeze so you have a wonderful meal during the week after a tiring day at work.
This recipe is perfect for people who want to follow a plant-based diet but don’t want to eat cell- cultured meat. Lentils are very rich in proteins.
For this recipe you can also use other extra virgin olive oils but the important thing is that they are rich in polyphenols. Our extra virgin olive oils are made in a way that polyphenols content is very high, much higher than those of EVOOs you normally find in a shop.
If you wish to receive more information about our Extra Virgin Olive oils or recipes you can make with them, please let me know.
I hope to have you in one of my health retreats in Puglia or in other locations where you’ll learn how to adopt a healthy Mediterraean Diet in your every day life for happiness and longevity.