Tag Archives: national mediterranean diet month

Tzatziki Sauce

In celebration of National Mediterranean Diet Month, here is the second of two Mediterranean-inspired recipes from Nutritioulicious intern Jo Bartell.

Since I shared a nutritioulicous baked falafel recipe yesterday, I thought it would be fitting to share my easy recipe for tzatziki sauce today. Tzatziki is a Greek dipping sauce that tastes great on its own or with falafel, sliced veggies, or whole-wheat pita. Tzatziki demonstrates yet another use for nutritious, delicious, and protein-packed Greek yogurt. I used 2% plain Greek yogurt for this recipe, but it also tastes great with 0% if you want to cut out even more of the fat.

Tzatziki Sauce: (adapted from www.allrecipes.com)
Servings: 6; Serving Size: ¼ cup

Ingredients: tzatziki recipe
  • 18 ounces (1 large container) 2% plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
Directions:
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill, and garlic.
  2. Process until well combined. Transfer to a separate dish, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Garnish with sliced, raw cucumber.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 115 calories, 6 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein, 60 mg sodium, 180 mg calcium

Have you ever tried tzatziki? What kind of dips do you make with Greek yogurt?

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Baked Falafel

In celebration of National Mediterranean Diet Month, here is the first of two Mediterranean-inspired recipes from Nutritioulicious intern Jo Bartell.

I have always loved falafel. Lucky for me there is no shortage of delicious, crispy falafel at the various Middle Eastern restaurants and falafel stands scattered throughout New York City. For those of you who are not familiar with this delicious food, Falafel is a ball or patty made of ground chickpeas. Falafel can be eaten alone as a snack, but it is often served in a pita pocket topped with vegetables and different sauces such as hummus or a yogurt sauce called tzatziki. The main ingredient of falafel is chickpeas, which makes the falafel high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. This combination of nutrients creates a healthy, satisfying meal component.

The problem with falafel from a nutritional standpoint is that it is usually deep-fried in oil. This cooking method turns a healthy dish into a less healthy version filled with saturated fat and cholesterol. Luckily, I found a great recipe for baked falafel I want to share. It is easy to make and definitely nutritioulicious!

Baked Falafel Balls (adapted from www.food.com)
Serves: 8; Serving Size: 4 falafel balls

Ingredients: baked falafel recipe
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup bulgar wheat
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed for brushing
  • 1 red onion, finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1¼ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons whole-wheat breadcrumbs*
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • ¼ cup minced parsley

*Note: You can substitute Panko Breadcrumbs for the whole-wheat breadcrumbs.

Directions: 
  1. Bring water to a boil and remove from the heat. Mix in the bulgur. Cover and allow the wheat to sit until all the water is absorbed — about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan and sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion is just transparent.
  3. Add chickpeas, red chili flakes, salt, cumin, and coriander to the pan and sauté for 1 minute more. Combine the chickpea mixture and bulgur in a food processor.
  4. Add the lemon juice, breadcrumbs, cilantro, and parsley and process until just mixed and the mixture has a grainy texture. Set mixture aside for 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Form falafel mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a lightly oiled sheet pan. Brush the balls with olive oil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden, turning the pan once during baking.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 110 calories, 3.5 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 17 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 4 g protein, 173 mg sodium

Do you like falafel? Have you ever made it at home?