Recipes to Enjoy by Elena Paravantes, RDN, from Her New Cookbook

November 19, 2021

NEW YORK – Elena Paravantes, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, shared three recipes from her new book The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners, published by DK/Penguin Random House. The book features delicious and nutritious recipes, excellent insights and tips for following the healthy Mediterranean diet, and beautiful photographs by Daniel Showalter.


Citrus Mediterranean Salmon with Lemon Caper Sauce

Citrus Mediterranean salmon with lemon caper sauce from The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners by Elena Paravantes, RDN. (Photo by Daniel Showalter/ DK/Penguin Random House)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/8  tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 (6 ounces/170 grams) salmon fillets


For the lemon caper sauce:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

5 fluid ounces (150 ml) dry white wine

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

2. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, and black pepper. Whisk until blended, then pour the mixture into a zipper-lock bag. Place the fillets in the bag, shake gently, and transfer the salmon to the refrigerator to marinate for 10 minutes.

3. When the salmon is done marinating, transfer the fillets and marinade to a medium baking dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). Remove the salmon from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Set aside to rest.

4. While the salmon is resting, make the lemon caper sauce by heating the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. When the olive oil begins to shimmer, add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.

5. Add the lemon juice and wine. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sauce becomes thick, about 2-3 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the capers and black pepper, and stir.

6. Transfer the fillets to 2 plates, and spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sauce over each fillet. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Roasted White Beans with Summer Vegetables

Roasted white beans with summer vegetables from The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners by Elena Paravantes, RDN. (Photo by Daniel Showalter/ DK/Penguin Random House)

1 cup uncooked medium white beans

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 medium onion (any variety), minced in a food processor

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon tomato paste diluted with 1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup hot water

1. Place the beans in a medium bowl and cover with water by 2-3 inches (5-7.5cm). Soak overnight or for 10 hours.

2. When ready to cook, drain and rinse the beans, and place them in a large pot. Cover with at least 2 inches (5cm) of water to account for expansion. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the beans are soft but not mushy. Remove from the heat and drain.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine the bell peppers, onions, garlic, cooked beans, olive oil, tomato paste mixture, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper. Toss gently to avoid breaking the beans.

4. Transfer the mixture to a large casserole dish. Place the halved cherry tomatoes on top and then add the hot water to the dish by pouring it into a corner and tilting the dish so that the water spreads across the surface. (Do not pour the water directly over the casserole as this will wash off the olive oil.)

5. Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven to roast for about 1 hour or until the peppers are soft, adding small amounts of hot water, 2 tablespoons at a time, if the beans appear to be drying out. After 1 hour, remove the foil and roast for 10 more minutes.

6. Remove the dish from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Roasted stuffed figs from The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners by Elena Paravantes, RDN. (Photo by Daniel Showalter/ DK/Penguin Random House)

Roasted Stuffed Figs


10 medium fresh figs

11/2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

11/2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

Pinch of salt

11/2 teaspoon honey


1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with foil, and grease the foil with olive oil.

2. Using a sharp knife, make a small vertical cut into the side of each fig, making sure not to cut all the way through the fig. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, almonds, cinnamon, sesame seeds, and salt. Mix well.

4. Stuff each fig with 1 teaspoon of the filling, gently pressing the filling into the figs. Place the figs on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes.

5. While the figs are baking, add the honey to a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat the honey for 30 seconds or until it becomes thin and watery.

6. Transfer the roasted figs to a plate. Drizzle a few drops of the warm honey over each fig before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners by Elena Paravantes, RDN, published by DK/Penguin Random House, is available online.


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