It’s been all over the news recently, yet it is hardly news at all. We’ve known since the ’80’s that the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest around. I’m talking about eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and olive oil and keeping red meat, animal fats and sugar to a minimum. It’s really not that hard to do, especially if you have help in the kitchen. What? You don’t have an assistant to do the chopping, cleaning and cooking? Well, neither do I, or anyone else I know, but we do have our slow cookers to help. While it won’t do the prep work, a slow cooker is a great way to cook simple, healthful meals without fuss. And to make it easier, you can buy vegetables pre washed and trimmed. They cost a little more perhaps, but it’s a lot less than take out food would be and far better for you.
Here’s a recipe from The Mediterranean Slow Cooker. It is a Moroccan-style vegetable tagine made with golden vegetables like carrots, squash, and rutabaga, sometimes called yellow turnip. Don’t like them? Try something else, like sweet potatoes or celery root. The vegetables are sweetened with dried apricots and flavored with fresh ginger, cumin and cinnamon. Cook until tender, adjust the seasonings, and serve with couscous or rice for a warming cold weather meal.
All three of my slow cooker books have recipes that fit into a Mediterranean diet eating plan. In The French Slow Cooker, try the Creamy White Bean Brandade or Salmon Steaks with Mustard and Parsley. In The Italian Slow Cooker, you will find Cherry Spiced Pears and Turkey Meatball and Escarole Soup, and much more.
GOLDEN VEGETABLE TAGINE
The warm, sunny colors of this Moroccan style tagine make it perfect for a hearty winter meal. Serve it over rice or couscous as a main course or as a side dish with grilled lamb chops or chicken.
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablesoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
6 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
1 pound rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups 1-inch chunks peeled butternut squash
12 dried apricots, halved
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 cups Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, mint or flat-leaf parsley
Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes.
Scrape the onions into a large slow cooker. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the remaining ingredients except for the cilantro in a large slow cooker and toss well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until the vegetables are tender.
Taste for seasonings. Just before serving, sprinkle with the cilantro.