Tag Archives: Mediterranean recipes

Mediterranean Barley Stuffed Peppers

Hi friends!

How was your weekend? Did you celebrate St. Paddy’s Day? I was flying cross-country all day Friday on the actual holiday, but I had a chance to celebrate the Irish holiday yesterday with my parents. I’m in Jersey this week visiting family, and went to a winery yesterday with my parents that had a live Irish band playing. It made me want to be back in Ireland hanging out at pubs with my family!

So, let’s dive into the real topic at hand today: Mediterranean Barley Stuffed Peppers – an easy Meatless Monday dinner idea!

I’ve always been a fan of stuffed peppers, and for this recipe, I wanted to do something different in terms of grains. I usually will use brown rice for stuffed peppers, but this time I decided to try barley instead and loved it.

I like to make a nice sized pot of grains at the beginning of the week to use for a few different meals, so this time, I cooked up some barley and used some for this recipe, then some another night with veggie burgers and sautéed zucchini.

You can always swap out the barley for whatever other grain you feel like – such as farro, cous cous, or rice for a gluten free option.

These peppers take a Mediterranean twist with the inclusion of crumbled feta, red onion, artichoke hearts, avocado, red onion and portobello mushroom. I always love making meals Mediterranean-style because the ingredients commonly used in this type of fare are so healthy and flavorful!

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Easy Mediterranean Flatbread Pizza

Hey, hey!

Last Saturday’s sunset

How was your weekend? Mine was a good one that was full of sports!

My husband and I went to the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, which was neat. I’m not a huge golf person but find sporting events of pretty much any kind fun – plus it was my first time at the Torrey Pines golf course, and the views were beautiful as expected!

I also watched a lot of tennis, as the Australian Open came to a close. Watching the Williams sisters compete against each other in the finals was inspiring – I mean, they are such badass female athletes! – so on Sunday my hubby and I headed to the tennis courts nearby to get in a workout together. We’re not technically all that great at tennis, but we have fun and get some exercise, so that’s all I really care about.

Besides a weekend full of sports, my weekend was also filled with good food, as per usual. For dinner one night we enjoyed Mediterranean flatbread pizza, and today I’m sharing the recipe with you guys!

These flatbreads are a great healthy recipe idea for this weekend’s Super Bowl – and they’re ready in 20 minutes flat! Since I love to make a bunch of appetizers & finger foods to graze on during the big game, I tend to go for recipes that are easier to whip up. Otherwise, the game’s starting and I’m running around the kitchen like a madwoman trying to finish cooking. Anyone else ever been there on Super Bowl Sunday? 

The flatbreads center around Mediterranean diet-centric ingredients like baby arugula, crumbled feta, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, red onion, and olive oil that give these babies a ton of flavor, a nice dose of produce, and a bit of healthy fat without being calorically heavy.

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Mediterranean Feta & Lemon Hummus Dip

Hi friends! So, this weekend’s the big game in California… and while I have no strong feelings towards one team or the other, I always love a good Super Bowl!

The actual game, the half-time show, the obscenely expensive commercial spots… I love it all. And we obviously can’t forget about football food! I’ve been drooling at my computer screen all week checking out my fellow blogger friends’ recipes for game day, and today I’m sharing a new yummy one of my own.
Mediterranean Feta Dip

While I’m a sports fan in general, football is definitely my favorite sport. I grew up with my dad coaching football (still does!), so I think I was kind of bred into loving the sport. I was a competitive cheerleader from ages 7-17 who cheered at many football games, both of my brothers played football growing up (one of which coaches football now), and these days I’m just as big of a fan of the NFL as my husband is – though he’s an Eagles fan and I’m a Giants fan.

This fan rivalry was a minor point of contention when we met, and we still tease each other when our respective teams blow a game (It happened pretty often this season! Ugh.). I played in two Fantasy Football leagues this year, and it’s so much fun!

Mediterranean feta hummus dip-1

I don’t typically enjoy going to parties or bars for the Super Bowl because I actually like to watch the game and hear what’s going on. Most years my hubby and I just relax at home and watch it.

But, this in no way means that I scrimp on game day food! Hell no. I like any reason to have fun in the kitchen in general, so naturally I get all excited and make a bunch of fun Super Bowl food for just the two of us.

Mediterranean Feta Hummus Dip-3 copy

This dip idea was born after I made a few batches of the lemon hummus recipe that I shared last week. Actually, the title of this post could have been The Week That I Made 5 Batches of Hummus, because that’s precisely what happened.

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Copycat Lemon Twist Hummus

Last fall, my friend Danielle came into town for the weekend and we had a girls’ wine tasting day in Temecula. We had a picnic at one of the wineries, and I had brought apples, cheese, pretzels, almonds, pumpkin bread, and a new flavor of hummus from Sabra called Lemon Twist:


We pretty much housed the entire container of delicious hummus into our wine-filled bellies, and I made a mental note to try to recreate lemon twist hummus at home.

Last week, my favorite HIIT studio, The Fit Mill, hosted a membership event where we worked out, then enjoyed snacks & wine afterwards. I recently began partnering with The Fit Mill with my health coaching biz, and for the occasion I whipped up a few of my recipes. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to create a copycat lemon twist hummus. lemon hummus-5But first, I had to figure out the secret to super creamy hummus. I’ve posted a few hummus recipes on the blog before, and while I obviously love them, have always found that homemade hummus doesn’t have as creamy of a texture as store-bought or restaurant style hummus. Why is that?! I scoured the Internet to found out.

Besides using a ton of tahini, it turns out that one of the tricks to creamy hummus lies not within adding anything in, but taking something out: the chickpeas skins!
chickpeas & skins

It seems laborious, but removing the skins off a can of garbanzo beans takes about 10 minutes. You gently squeeze the bean and the skin just pops off. And ooh la la, it is worth the effort! My hummus experiments resulted in super smooth, creamy, lemon twist hummus. Trust me, I will be doing this with every batch of hummus I make from now on! You simply must try it.

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Mediterranean Freekeh Salad + Giveaway

You know how people sometimes say that the little things are the big things? Well I’m a big believer that little things can make a huge difference when it comes to recipes.

Freekah salad

Take garlic for instance: Use too much of it and it totally kills the dish for me (and the entire 24 hours afterwards when I’m burping up garlic!), don’t use any and it might taste like it’s missing something. Another good example is herbs: Using fresh ones can make all the difference in the world, and you don’t even need to use a lot to make it pop in a dish, because herbs are fragrant and awesome in tiny quantities.

garden bed herbs

My garden bed of herbs

Two of my favorite herbs are basil and mint. I use basil all the time because it’s fabulous in so many dishes, and mint is great for an extra flavor oomph when paired with the right ingredients.

The dish that I’m sharing today exemplifies just what I mean about the little things going a long way in recipes: a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, a bit of fresh lemon juice, just enough salt and pepper, and just a tablespoon of chopped fresh mint to give this salad lots of flavor.    
Freekah salad-4

When Fit Approach partnered with Freekeh Foods to collaborate with some bloggers like myself to come up with recipes incorporating freekeh, I was interested because I had never even heard of freekeh before. 

freekeh defined

Last weekend I put my creative food blogger hat on to cook freekeh for the first time and come up with a fun dish, which wound up being a healthy recipe with a Mediterranean flair: 

Mediterranean Freekeh Salad

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Mediterranean Pasta with Lemon Ricotta [Gluten Free]

Happy March! Doesn’t it feel like February just flew by?

Since I began trying out a gluten free diet (a discussion on my experience with going gluten free to come soon!), I’ve tried a bunch of different GF pastas. I know that some people feel ehh about pasta and can take it or leave it, but I am not one of those people. Two of the GF pasta brands that I’ve liked thus far are Tinkyada and TruRoots. I don’t care for that overly corn-y taste to some of the gluten free pastas, and these two brands are on-point with offering a similar tasting pasta alternative to the real, gluten-filled kind.
GF Fusilli

My carb-loving self enjoys whipping up healthy, yummy pasta dishes, and I didn’t want to be completely missing my pasta fill just because I’m experimenting with a gluten free diet.

Med. Pasta-5

For this dinner, I used TruRoots Ancient Grains fusilli – a whole grain, high fiber pasta made of quinoa, amaranth and brown rice. The pasta’s made in Italy, which sparked an idea to make it a Mediterranean themed dish.

Med. Pasta-3

Grains, roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, baby spinach, lemon, extra virgin olive oil, ricotta…doesn’t this seem like something you’d eat while staring out at a sea of blue water from the coast of Greece while drinking a glass of vino?

Med. Pasta-1

Hopefully I’ll get the chance to do just that one day, but for the moment, eating this pasta dish in my kitchen will have to do.

Med. Pasta-2

Oh, and might I also add that I just love ricotta?

Med. Pasta-4

Mediterranean Pasta with Lemon Ricotta [Gluten Free]
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 8 oz gluten free fusilli, or other short shaped pasta
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup jar roasted red peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1-6.5 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 TBSP fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup (part skim) ricotta cheese
  • 1½ TSP grated lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 TBSP of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add the roasted peppers and artichoke hearts, and cook for 4 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach and tomatoes in, and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted and the tomatoes are softened. Mix in the fresh basil.
  5. Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and return back to the pan.
  6. Add the veggies to the pasta, and drizzle the remaining 1 TBSP of olive oil in. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine well.
  7. Mix the ricotta and lemon zest together in a bowl.
  8. Spoon the pasta into bowls to serve, and add a large spoonful of ricotta on top of each dish. Enjoy immediately.


I’m off to go for a long walk with my hubby and puppy and to enjoy the weekend. Hope you have a great rest of yours!