The Mediterranean Diet continues to be a lifestyle choice that’s fresh, delicious and easy to follow. The diet emphasizes plant-based foods, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Olive oil is used instead of butter, and herbs and spices replace heavy salting. Fish and poultry are favored over red meat, and red wine is encouraged in moderate amounts.
“Greek food is an excellent example of classic Mediterranean cuisine,” says Maeve Webster, president of Menu Matters, a consultancy focused on helping foodservice operators and food manufacturers analyze, understand and leverage trends. “If you think about the Greek climate, it’s typically very hot, diners avoid loading up on heavy foods. Instead, they choose smaller plates with bold flavors, which are delicious, but not heavy, so you can graze rather than get uncomfortably full.”
When it comes to protein, Webster says Greek cuisine does include some chicken and lamb, but with a twist. “Those meats are usually served in smaller portions than what you’d typically see in American cuisine,” she says. “Sauces are lighter, focused on oils, vinaigrettes and other less-heavy options. There’s a strong use of herbs and lemon juice to create brightness. Cheeses are used in judicious amounts, so they don’t overpower a dish.”
Many people are more aware of individual Greek dishes than of the cuisine as a whole. “Hummus, a plant-based, shareable appetizer, has moved far faster than the regional cuisine,” Webster says. “Since so many individual items have become mainstream – including vinaigrettes, feta, olives, calamari and Greek salad – that opens the door for the rest of the cuisine to gain in popularity.”
“Many Greek dishes require fairly simple preparation, so they tend to be easy item to add to the menu,” Webster says. “That’s not to say there isn’t complexity in flavor or compelling applications, but many of the most mainstream items are pretty easy to pull together quickly. There are many value-added options for operators with prep space or skilled labor challenges.”
Use Marzetti® Greek Vinaigrette with Olive Oil & Feta Cheese or Marzetti Mediterranean Vinaigrette in marinades, drizzles or as an accompaniment to fresh-tossed salads. This robust, non-separating and authentic vinaigrettes feature extra virgin olive oil, feta cheese, red wine, distilled white vinegar and just the right touches of garlic, bell pepper, onion and black pepper.
Contact Maeve Webster at Menu Matters
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