There is a common misperception that the Mediterranean Diet doesn’t have any meat, especially red meat. Beef is eaten in many countries around the Mediterranean, but there are two big differences between typical consumption in these countries and how it is eaten here in America. First, meat in the Mediterranean is very rarely eaten as steaks, burgers, ribs, or roasts, but instead as a part of stews, soups, and casseroles. This means that instead of eating a pound or more of meat in a sitting, the typical person will only eat a few ounces. They still get the taste of meat, but also get plenty of vegetables, fresh herbs, and, of course, olive oil. The other big difference is that meat in the Mediterranean traditionally comes from grass fed, free roaming animals. Grass and herbs is what animals are meant to eat and they are healthier. Grass-fed animals have higher amounts of healthy fats such as omega-3’s and antioxidants and less antibiotics and medicines that are used to treat grain-fed animals.
Grass-fed ground beef is now available in most stores and I would recommend it for this stuffed pepper recipe. This recipe is the perfect combination of a flavor-packed comfort food that is low in calories, anti-inflammatory, and packed with anti-oxidants. I took out the rice that is in most stuffed pepper recipes and added some parmesan cheese as a topping. Serve with a simple salad with traditional Greek dressing or Carol Borchadt’s Cucumber, Tomato, and Red Onion Salad.
For more delicious Mediterranean recipes try “Foods of Crete: Traditional Recipes from the Healthiest People in the World” by Koula Barydakis and Bill Bradley, R.D.