Photo courtesy of The Mediterranean Dish

It’s no secret that eating the Mediterranean way helps promote heart health and weight loss. But fast-paced modern living makes it hard to stick to any diet, especially during the holidays. This is why our healthy Mediterranean alternatives make a great addition to your holiday menu.

The thought of a Thanksgiving feast featuring apple pies, buttery dinner rolls and your grandmother’s casseroles might make your mouth water. But if you’re trying to lose weight, you’re painfully aware that these rich comfort foods contain a lot of fat, sodium and sugar.

To create lasting weight loss and a healthier lifestyle, Modere recommends the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on whole foods that are rich in phytonutrients. This holiday season, enjoy some Mediterranean diet-friendly recipes to help you savor your festive meals while still staying on track with your health goals. Try this flavorful, hearty Apple Cranberry Freekeh as a healthy vegan substitute for stuffing at your Thanksgiving dinner. What is freekeh? Made from green durum wheat, this ancient roasted grain food is a natural prebiotic rich in fiber, protein and essential nutrients. Look for freekeh in the grains and flour aisle at your local supermarket.

From The Mediterranean Dish

Servings: 6

Apple Cranberry Freekeh Stuffing

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups freekeh
  • water
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, washed, dried, chopped
  • 1-2 small Granny Smith apples, washed, dried, cored, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 3 scallions, washed, dried, finely chopped
  • 1 cup parsley leaves, washed, dried, stems removed
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Soak freekeh in water for 15 minutes. Rinse out, drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare vegetables and other ingredients as indicated above.
  3. Heat two tbsp olive oil in large and deep skillet. Add chopped red onions, celery, and apples; sauté for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.
  4. Add garlic powder, seasoned salt and pepper; toss together briefly.
  5. Now mix in drained freekeh, and top with vegetable broth.
  6. Bring broth to a boil, and continue to cook on medium-high heat for 3-4 more minutes or until broth has significantly reduced (you could see moisture, but broth should no longer cover freekeh).
  7. Now turn heat to low. Cover skillet and let everything cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  8. Stir in cranberries; cover again and let cook for another 7-10 minutes or until freekeh is fully cooked.
  9. Test freekeh to make sure it is not too moist or too sticky. If neither, then freekeh is ready.
  10. Remove from heat, and mix in scallions and parsley.
  11. Garnish with toasted walnuts. Enjoy!

 

As you prepare the bright flavors in this dish, you can feel good knowing that it’s a vegan option that’s higher in protein and lower in fat and sodium than traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. This is a great way to stay on track with your Mediterranean diet weight loss goals during the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Modere!