Vegetables and Fish for Healthy Springtime Meals

Seasonal vegetables and fish are staples of the healthy Greek diet. Try the following recipes for light springtime meal options.

Stewed Green Beans

4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

1 medium to large onion, chopped

1 cup tomato passata or puree

2-3 large fresh tomatoes, chopped

2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 cups water

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Add the tomato passata or puree, the fresh chopped tomatoes, and the 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce reduces down slightly. Add the salt, pepper, and the beans and simmer, stirring occasionally. Continue simmering until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Serve as a side dish or with rice or pasta as a vegetarian main course.

Fish in Swiss Chard

2 fresh lemons

1/3 cup mixed Greek olives, pitted, plus 12 whole Greek olives, pitted

4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 small-medium red onion, grated

1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

1-2 bunches Swiss chard with at least 5 very large leaves (or more as needed), tough ends trimmed

2 pounds skinless, center-cut white fish fillets, such as halibut or cod

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 small red onion, diced

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Cooked rice or bulgur

Finely zest and juice both lemons. Reserve the juice and half the zest. In a small bowl, combine the remaining zest with the olives, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the chopped parsley, 2 teaspoons of the grated onion, and the red pepper flakes until incorporated.

Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Use a knife to separate the leaves from the chard stems so you have 2 strips of leaves from each stem. Thinly slice the stems crosswise, and set aside. Dip the chard leaves in the boiling water for 10 seconds to soften; drain, allow to cool slightly, and pat dry with paper towel. Cut the fish into equal-sized pieces to be wrapped in the chard leaves, season with salt and pepper, and spread 2 teaspoons of the olive mixture on each piece of fish.

Place 1 piece of fish on a piece of chard and roll it up as you would stuffed grape leaves, use any extra leaves to patch any parts that may need extra wrapping. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until tender and lightly golden, 8 to 9 minutes. Add the chard stems with the remaining grated onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the reserved lemon zest and juice with the water, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the liquid bubbles, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining parsley, reserving about 2 tablespoons for garnishing the finished dish.

Place the wrapped fish in the skillet, add the tomatoes and whole olives, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the fish is opaque and the chard can be cut easily, about 12 minutes. Serve over the grain of your choice with sauce spooned on top. Garnish with the reserved chopped parsley.


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