5 Sardinia Recipes to Try this Summer

5 Sardinia Recipes to Try this Summer

Counting the colors on your plate is the easiest way to measure the quality of your meals.  By adding a diversity of colors to your plate, you are also adding loads of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that play essential roles in keeping you and your body healthy. 

In the U.S., we tend to value CALORIES over COLOR, and often associate lower calorie meals as the best option for maintaining our health.  While calories are important, without adequate vitamin, mineral and phytochemical intake your risk of illness, injury, and chronic disease will increase substantially (1).  While the sun is still shining, and fresh summer produce is in abundance, use mealtime and socially distant outdoor gatherings as an opportunity to try some new, fresh and color foods. 

 

Who Eats This Way?

Sardinia, Italy is a great example of a community where a kaleidoscope of colors shines on every plate.  Located on an island west of the Italian peninsula, this longevity hot spot is home to a picturesque coastline and almost 10 times more centenarians per capita than the U.S. Their diet mostly consists of whole grains, beans, fruit, and vegetables. They are also known for goat’s milk and cheese from grass-fed sheep. Unlike the standard American diet where 34% of calories come from meat, only 5% of their diet is from meat, fish, and poultry. They cultivate a lot their food by hunting, fishing, and harvesting; all activities that all involve far more effort than simply going to grocery or ordering groceries online. During the summer residents spend time outside walking an average of 5 miles per day along the coastline.  Since family time is sacred Sardinians enjoy family-style meals and love having guests (2, 3).

In the Sardinian community, colorful foods are grown all around you.  Corbezzollos, or strawberry tress, are widespread across the island (4).  4,000-year-old olive groves produce an incredibly rich and fruity olive oil (5).   In almost every family backyard you will find a family garden boasting with fresh heirloom tomatoes, basil, and kohlrabi (5,6).

How Can I Cook with more Color?        

This summer is the best time to pack your plate with the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season.  Make color and variety a part of your routine and at socially distant outdoor gatherings.  If you don’t think you are getting enough color or variety in your meals, you can rely on N4L For routine eating, you can rely on N4L meal plans for at least 10 servings of fruits and veg, more than 25 grams of fiber, less than 10% calories from saturated fat each.  Every meal kit includes at least 1 traditional Sardinian recipe so you too can enjoy the local cuisine of this special place.  The next time you are cooking for a summer BBQ, incorporate vibrant produce, organic olive oil and love into your colorful creations.  These ingredients will enhance the flavor, nutrition, and pride you have for each dish.  If you are looking for some inspiration this summer, try one these 5 Sardinian inspired recipes.   

1. Sardinian Strawberry Quinoa Salad

This recipe is inspired by the Corbezzollo, or strawberry trees that are native to the Mediterranean and widespread across the island of Sardinia.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Servings: 6-1 cup servings

Ingredients:
Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

Salad:

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature (I used a mixture of white and red)
  • 1 lb. sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1-2 tablespoon(s) minced fresh basil
  • 2 oz crumbled goat cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh arugula
  • ½ cup sliced almonds

Directions:

1. Grab a small bow to make the dressing. Combine the olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, cider vinegar and maple syrup. Stir together until combined and set aside.

2. Grab a large serving bowl for your salad ingredients. Add your cooked quinoa, strawberries, basil, almonds, goat cheese (optional) and arugula. Stir until salad is mixed evenly

3. Pour the dressing from step one over your quinoa mixture and stir until the salad is evenly coated with the dressing. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

2. Sardinian Kohlrabi and Fennel Bulb Salad

Kohlrabi and Fennel are not as common in the US, but they are a staple across Europe.  We grow ample amounts of both on our farm.  They are both full of healthy fiber, crunchy and refreshing on a hot summer day. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes.

Servings: 5-1 cup servings 

 

Ingredients:

  • small bulb fennel, thinly sliced
  • small tender kohlrabi, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced or peeled 
  • 1/2 red onion sliced thin
  • cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fennel leaves, for garnish

Directions:

  1. To make the salad, start by grabbing a large serving bowl.
  2. Add the fennel, kohlrabi, red onion and parsley. Toss until evenly combined.
  3. Then add in the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt/pepper to taste.
  4. To serve, garnish each plate with a few fennel leaves. 
3. Sardinian-Style Chickpea Burger:

This plant-based burger puts a Mediterranean spin on the Traditional American Burger.  This burger can be cooked on the stove top and or baked.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes.

Servings: 7-8 burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp ground flax
  • 3/4 cup sweet white onion, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, diced
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 small handful basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for cooking
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp Gluten Free Oat Flour

Directions:

  1. For the burgers: Add flax and 3 Tbsp. water to a small bowl. Mix and set aside to gel, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add onion and garlic to a small saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add chickpeas to a food processor, and pulse until broken into small pieces. It should look like rice/riced cauliflower. Add it to the same large bowl.
  4. Add cashews to the food processor, and pulse until broken into small pieces. Add it to the same large bowl.
  5. Add Italian Seasoning, basil, olive oil, balsamic, a healthy dose of salt and pepper, and the flax-water mixture to your bowl of chickpeas and cashews. Mix to combine.
  6. Add oat flour and mix until combined. The mixture will be slightly tacky, but easily shaped into a patty with wet hands. If it’s too wet, add more oat flour 1 Tbsp. at a time.
  7. Shape into 7-8 patties, wetting your hands slightly between forming each patty.
  8. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, and cook each patty until browned. Flip, and cook until browned. Option: to cook on the grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  9. Serve on a salad, in a lettuce wrap or on a whole grain bun. Add nutritious toppings like arugula, tomato, roasted red pepper, hummus, or olive tapenade
4. Sardinian-Inspired Banana Nice Cream

Homemade gelato and sorbet are two of Sardinia’s beloved desserts.  Try making your own sorbet at home using fresh or frozen bananas.  Have creating your own flavors with different toppings!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes.

Servings: 2

Ingredients: 

  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional - toasted coconut flakes, slivered almonds, chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Place sliced frozen bananas and a pinch of salt in a food processor.
  2. Process on high until the bananas are super smooth, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Serve immediately, or place in the freezer to serve later.
  5. Sprinkle on your fun toppings!
5. Melo Melon Mocktail

Many Sardinian cocktails mix prosecco with fresh fruits like watermelon.  We created our own faux version so you can enjoy a refreshing beverage as a family.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

 

  • 3 cups watermelon, cubed
  • ½ cup lime juice (about 2 limes juiced)
  • 2 cups plain club soda
  • 8 sprigs of fresh mint

 Directions:

  1. Cube watermelon and remove any seeds. Slice four thin rounds from your limes and set aside - these will be used for garnish. Juice the remaining parts of the limes.
  2. Combine the watermelon and lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth. Using a sieve, strain the watermelon and lime mixture until you are left with just the juice and set aside.
  3. Place 5 mint leaves at the bottom of each glass and muddle to release the flavor of the mint.
  4. Fill the cups with ice and pour the watermelon-lime juice halfway and top with club soda until full.
  5. Gently stir with a spoon and garnish each glass with a thin slice of watermelon, sprig of mint and lime wedge and enjoy!

 

References:

  1. Locke A, Schneiderhan J, Zick SM. Diets for Health: Goals and Guidelines. Am Fam Physician. 2018;97(11):721-728.
  2. Sardinia, Italy. (2019, December 19). Retrieved August 14, 2020, from https://www.bluezones.com/exploration/sardinia-italy/
  3. Pes GM, Tolu F, Dore MP, et al. Male longevity in Sardinia, a review of historical sources supporting a causal link with dietary factors. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015;69(4):411-418. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.230
  4. (2020, April 13). The Fruits Of Sardinia. Retrieved August 14, 2020, from https://totalsardinia.com/fruits/
  5. Olive Oils From Sardinia Find a Modern Audience. (2020, June 16). Retrieved August 14, 2020, from https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/production/olive-oils-from-sardinia-find-a-modern-audience/70193
  6. Posardi - Sweetness of Sardinia. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2020, from http://posardi.com/sardinia-blue-zone/ardinia/dp/B07ZL6S14C
  7. Paoli, M. (2020, August 06). 8 Foods Sardinian Centenarians Eat Daily. Retrieved August 14, 2020, from https://hardcoreitalians.blog/2020/08/06/8-italian-foods-sardinian-centenarians-eat-daily/