You probably know all about the health benefits of eating like a Greek islander. Research has proven the Mediterranean diet can do wonders for your heart, brain, mood, and waistline. But maybe you’re a little tired of the same-old kebabs and tomato-cucumber-feta salad. Enter Live to Eat: Cooking the Mediterranean Way (amazon.com; $30), the latest cookbook from chef and restaurateur Michael Psilakis. It’s filled with dozens of fresh recipes, made with healthy fats and nutrient-rich produce, that will make you want to move to Greece (seriously). To give you a taste of how Psilakis combines simple ingredients to create mouthwatering dishes, we pulled three of our favorite recipes from his book. Scroll down to learn how to make a citrus salad with yogurt, tzatziki sauce with warm pita and crudités, and a juicy Greek-style turkey burger.
Citrus Salad With Greek Yogurt
1 ruby red grapefruit, segmented with its juices
1 Cara Cara or other navel orange, segmented with its juices
1 key lime, segmented with its juices
16 oz. Greek yogurt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. honey
8 mint leaves roughly chopped
- Combine the grapefruit, orange, and lime segments and their juices in a bowl.
- Spoon the yogurt into each of four dessert bowls.
- Divide the citrus mixture and juice among them and season with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle the honey over and garnish with the mint.
Cucumber Yogurt Dip With Crudités and Warm Pita
Serves: 4 to 6
Cucumber dip (tzatziki)
Makes: 5 ½ cups
3 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup white vinegar or white wine vinegar
4 cups Greek yogurt
1 large English cucumber, ends trimmed, peeled, and halved lengthwise, seeds discarded and flesh cut into ¼-inch dice
3 Tbsp. loosely packed chopped fresh dill
2 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- Combine garlic and vinegar in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Combine the yogurt and garlicky vinegar in a bowl. Using a whisk, gently work the liquid into the yogurt until it is fully incorporated.
- Fold in the cucumbers, dill, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid. (The dip will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.)
NOTE: Be sure to remove all of the seeds from the cucumber; they release water, which will make the dip too loose.
Crudités and warm pita
2 rounds whole wheat pita
1½ cups Cucumber Yogurt Dip (see above)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Pinch fresh ground black pepper
2 pounds mixed fresh vegetables such as carrots, celery, broccoli, grape tomatoes, and peppers, cut into matchsticks or bite-sized pieces
- Warm the pitas in a microwave or toaster for a crunchier texture. Alternatively, to add a smoky flavor, place directly over a gas flame until very lightly charred in places. Flip over and repeat on the other side. Stack the pitas on top of each other and cut into eighths.
- Put the dip into a serving bowl, drizzle the olive oil on top, and season with the pepper. Serve with the vegetables and pita.
RELATED: 22 Mediterranean Diet Recipes
Greek Turkey Burgers
Extra virgin olive oil, for rubbing
¼ cup milk
2 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed
1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp. (heaping) Garlic Puree
Fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup Cucumber Yogurt Dip
4 whole wheat English muffins, split and toasted
8 (¼-inch-thick) slices beefsteak tomato
8 thin-sliced red onion rings
½ cup packed arugula
3 Tbsp. loosely packed chopped mixed herbs (dill, parsley, mint)
- Line a small tray with parchment paper and rub it all over with olive oil.
- Combine the milk with ¼ cup water in a large shallow bowl. Add the bread, using your hands to soak it. Squeeze out any excess liquid.
- Combine the bread, turkey, and garlic puree in a medium bowl. Mix with your hands until just combined. Handle it as little as possible. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ½-inch-thick patty, place on the tray, and rub olive oil over each.
- Preheat a gas grill or grill pan over medium heat. Season both sides of each patty with salt and pepper, then grill until soft to the touch for burgers that are just cooked through.
- Spread the dip on 4 of the English muffin halves. Top with a patty followed by a squeeze of lemon juice, 2 slices of tomato, red onion, arugula, herbs, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and the muffin top.
Excerpted from the book LIVE TO EAT by Michael Psilakis. Copyright 2017 by Michael Psilakis. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown and Company.