22 September 2017Last updated

Food | Recipes

Eat light, think Mediterranean

As spring melts into summer, give your daily diet a sprightly Mediterranean makeover with these light and crisp recipes

18 Mar 2016 | 12:00 am
  • Cumin and chilli falafels in pitta with tzatziki.


Cumin and chilli falafels in pitta with tzatziki

Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 15 mins
Serves 4

820g tinned chickpeas, drained
½ cup chopped coriander, plus extra to garnish
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
4 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
4 tbsp plain flour
Sunflower oil, for frying
4 pitta breads
300g Greek-style yogurt
½ cup thinly sliced cucumber
½ red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint

For the falafels, lightly crush the chickpeas with a potato masher. Add the rest of theingredients, mix well and shape loosely into eight patties.

Heat oil in a pan and shallow-fry the patties on both sides until golden brown and crisp on the outside.

To assemble, heat the pitta breads and slice open. Spread the tzatziki inside, stuff two falafels in and garnish with coriander. Serve immediately.


Grilled chicory, pecan and Gorgonzola salad with orange-coriander dressing

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 10 mins
Serves 2

2 small chicory heads, halved
½ cup pecan nuts, toasted
½ cup Gorgonzola, crumbled
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
125ml orange juice
1 tsp red grape vinegar
1 tbsp olive/avocado oil
1 orange, segmented
Fresh coriander, as needed
A pinch of chilli flakes
Toasted pitta breads, to serve

Heat a griddle and grill the chicory on both sides until slightly wilted. Place on two plates and top with the pecan nuts, Gorgonzola crumble and spring onion.

Mix together the rest of the ingredients to make the dressing and pour over the chicory. Serve with warm, toasted pitta.


Melon, pear and smoked beef Carpaccio with caper dressing

Prep time 15 mins
Serves 4

4 sweet melons, thinly sliced
4 pears, thinly sliced
20 slices smoked beef
½ cup caper berries
4 tbsp capers
¼ red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp red grape vinegar
1 tsp mustard
4 tbsp olive/avocado oil
Assorted herbs, to garnish
Lemon wedges, to serve

Divide the melon, pear, beef and caper berries between four plates.

Pulse the capers, onion, vinegar, mustard and oil in a blender, until the capers appear roughly chopped. Drizzle over the plated fruit and meat carpaccio.

Garnish each plate with some herbs, and serve with lemon wedges as well as salad and toast, if desired.


Couscous with beef sausages, avocado and onion salad

Prep time 5 mins
Cooking time 10 mins
Serves 2

1 cup couscous
500ml boiling water
1 red pepper, seeded, diced
½ green pepper, seeded, diced
1 yellow pepper, seeded, diced
1 cup olives, pitted, diced
50g feta, crumbled
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 avocado, sliced
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp caper berries
Lemon juice, as needed
2 beef sausages, sliced

Place the couscous in a bowl and pour in the boiling water. Cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes or until the water has been absorbed, then stir in the peppers, olives, feta and coriander. Season to taste.

In a bowl, combine the avocado, onion, caper berries and lemon juice to make the salad. Set aside.

Dry-fry the beef sausages in a griddle until brown on both sides.

Plate the couscous and salad and top with the beef sausages to serve.


Fried halloumi with mint and caraway dressing

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 15 mins
Serves 2

4 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for frying
2 tbsp caraway seeds
½ tsp finely chopped garlic
3 tbsp red grape vinegar
½ tsp lemon juice
4 tsp finely chopped mint
240g cake flour
8 thick slices of halloumi
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Olives and toasted focaccia, to serve
Basil leaves, to garnish

To prepare the dressing, heat the oil in a pan and fry the caraway seeds and garlic for a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in vinegar, lemon juice and mint. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Season the flour with salt and pepper.

Dip the halloumi slices in it, then in the egg and back in the flour. Shallow-fry until golden and drain on paper towels.

Plate the fried halloumi with olives and toasted focaccia. Drizzle generously with the dressing, garnish with basil and serve as an evening snack or appetiser.


Chicken skewers with spring onion skordalia

Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 20 mins
Serves 8

8 chicken breast fillets
½ cup basil pesto
8 beef bacon rashes
24 fresh sage leaves
Olive oil, for frying, plus extra, to serve
350g potatoes, peeled, boiled
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 tbsp white grape vinegar
½ tsp lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
2 spring onions, finely diced
2 cups broad beans, blanched

Flatten each chicken fillet slightly and season with salt and pepper.

Spread pesto on each fillet, top with a beef bacon rash and three sage leaves. Roll up each of them, then cut into three equal pieces and thread on to eight skewers.

Heat oil in a pan and shallow-fry the chicken skewers on all sides until cooked through.

To make the skordalia, blend the potatoes, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and oil in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in the spring onions.

Place the broad beans on a platter and drizzle olive oil on top. Then arrange the skewers on the platter and serve hot with skordalia.


Grilled aubergines, pesto-glazed cherry tomatoes and baby mozzarella salad

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 15 mins
Serves 2

4 medium aubergines, thinly sliced
4 tbsp finely chopped garlic
250ml olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes
½ cup basil pesto
2 cups baby mozzarella balls
Fresh basil leaves, to garnish
Ciabatta, to serve (optional)

Preheat the oven grill.

Place the aubergines, garlic and oil in a bowl and toss to coat well. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.

Heat a griddle on high and cook the aubergines in batches on both sides until tender.

Toss the tomatoes and pesto together and place on a baking tray. Grill until soft and tender, about 4-5 minutes. Season.

Toss the aubergines, tomatoes and mozzarella together and transfer to a plate. Garnish with basil and serve with warm ciabatta, if so desired.


Toasted ciabatta with paprika hummus, roasted tomatoes and Parmesan

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 15 mins
Serves 4

500g baby tomatoes
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
3 tbsp olive/avocado oil
8 slices ciabatta, toasted or grilled on both sides
Parmesan shavings and fresh basil leaves, to garnish
Fresh rocket, to serve
800g tinned chickpeas, drained
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp sugar
125ml olive/avocado oil

Preheat the grill to medium.

Place the tomatoes and rosemary on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until the tomatoes are tender, about 4-5 minutes.

To make the hummus, blend all the ingredients together, except oil, in a food processor until a smooth paste forms. Now slowly add oil, blending continuously. Thin with a little warm water, if necessary.

Spread the hummus on the ciabatta and top with the roasted tomatoes. Garnish with Parmesan and basil and serve warm with rocket on the side.


Spaghetti with mussels and salsa

Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 20 mins
Serves 4

400g spaghetti
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
6 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
½ tsp chilli flakes
300ml non-alcoholic white wine
1kg raw mussels in half shells
100ml fresh cream
3 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
Fresh rocket, to serve
Toasted country loaf, to serve
1 red pepper, seeded, diced
1 orange or yellow pepper, seeded, diced
4 tbsp diced cucumber

Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and keep aside.

Heat butter in a pan and fry the onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and chilli flakes until the onions soften.

Pour in the non-alcoholic wine, bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for a minute. Add mussels and cook for 4-5 minutes, then add cream. Simmer for a few minutes before stirring in the parsley. Season.

Place the al dente spaghetti in bowls and top with the sauce and mussels. Garnish with salsa and serve with rocket leaves and bread on the side.


Puttanesca pasta

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 25 mins
Serves 2

300g tagliatelle
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
½ red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp capers
½ cup olives, pitted, sliced
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp shredded fresh basil
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente and drain.

Heat butter and oil in a pan over medium. Fry the onion and garlic for a minute, then add tomatoes, capers, olives and chilli flakes.

Simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, 10-15 minutes. Stir in parsley and basil and season.

Plate the pasta and generously pour the sauce over it. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.