Research has found that the Mediterranean diet is linked to a healthy heart. The diet is rich in vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts. Thinking of switching or adopting some of the principals of the Mediterranean diet? Here is a delicious recipe to get you started. —Andrea K. Walker, Chicago Tribune
- 1 small eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 small yellow zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 small green zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 6 medium mushrooms, sliced
- 1 sweet red pepper, seeded, cored and cut into chunks
- 2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 Cups water
- 1 1/2 Cup coarse polenta (corn grits)
- 2 Teaspoons trans-free margarine
- 1/4 Teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 10 Ounces frozen spinach, thawed
- 2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, sliced
- 6 dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water to rehydrate, drained and chopped
- 10 ripe olives, chopped
- 2 Teaspoons oregano
Step 1: Heat the broiler (grill). Position the rack 4 inches from the heat source.
Step 2: Brush 1 sliced eggplant, 1 sliced yellow zucchini, 1 sliced green zucchini, 6 sliced mushrooms and 1 chopped red bell pepper with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange in single layer on a baking sheet and broil under low heat. Turn as needed and brush occasionally with 1 tablespoon olive oil. When tender and slightly browned, remove from the broiler (grill). Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for later use.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat a decorative, ovenproof 12-inch flan or quiche dish with cooking spray.
Step 4: In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat and slowly whisk in 1 1/2 cups coarse polenta. Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes. When polenta comes away from side of pan, stir in 2 teaspoons trans-free margarine and season with 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Remove from heat.
Step 5: Spread polenta into the base and sides of the prepared baking dish. Brush with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and keep warm.
Step 6: Drain 10 ounces thawed frozen spinach and press between paper towels. Top polenta with the spinach. Over this, arrange a layer of sliced tomatoes (from 2 plum tomatoes), 6 chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 10 olives. Top with remaining roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons oregano and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
Step 7: Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. When warmed through, remove from the oven. Cut into 6 wedges and serve.