With a warm climate plush with seasonal fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and other nuts, there are a plethora of Mediterranean Dishes for Vegetarians to choose from.
Benefits of a Vegetarian Mediterranean Diet
Mediterranean cultures favor fish and seafood based dishes, but the most important ingredients in a healthy Mediterranean diet are fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. Nuts and legumes provide the proteins your body needs to properly function. Vegetables and fruits provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Mediterranean diets place emphasis on seasonal produce because nutrients are best consumed from fresh foods.
- Spring: leaf vegetables like lettuce, spinach and chard, as well as asparagus, berries, broccoli and young beans
- Summer: apricots, avocados, berries, citrus, figs, grapes, melons and tomatoes
- Autumn: apples, pears, pumpkins, squashes, root vegetables and pit fruits like cherries and apricots
- Winter: leaf and root vegetables like spinach, carrots, garlic, onions and potatoes
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and other seafood, are an essential part of the Mediterranean diet. If you’re a vegetarian, finding the foods that contain these essential fats is critical to maintaining good health. Avocado, flax seed and walnuts all contain these fats.
Iron, typically found in red meat and certain sea foods, is important in maintaining a healthy heart and immune function. Dark, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are rich in iron and are often paired with many salad dishes in Mediterranean cooking. Vegetarians often find they are deficient in vitamins and minerals such as B6 and B12, which are typically found in meat and seafood.
Taking time to find fruits and vegetables that provide these essential nutrients can be a pain, but it is an important step in maintaining a healthy Mediterranean diet. Soy beans and seaweeds like spirulina (a type of algae) contain vitamins B6 and B12.
Mediterranean Dishes for Vegetarians to Try
These veggie-based dishes are staples of traditional Mediterranean cuisine and will keep you healthy.
- Catalonian Artichokes: saut