I've tried a lot of diets in my lifetime but, to be honest, the one that always made the most sense to me was the Mediterranean Diet. This is a diet that is rich in vegetables, fish, poultry and olive oil (which is a healthy fat). And it turns out I was right!

According to a new long-term study that was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people lost double the amount of weight in the Mediterranean diet than a low-carbohydrate diet and about six times more than in the low-fat group. So what does this mean? Start eating like a Spaniard! Yes, there can be a lot of red meat in our Hispanic/Latin diet, but there are also some super-delicious Mediterranean-diet friendly dishes made with olive oil, chicken, fish and more veggies. Take a look at these 5 delicious recipes from Spain—and indulge for your health!

Read more ¿Qué más? Would you buy organic food from Spain if you could?

Vegetable Paella 1

Vegetable Paella

Image via Spark People

Ingredients (For the Paella): 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 yellow onion, sliced into strips, 2 bell peppers, sliced, 1 small bulb fennel, core removed and sliced, 3 garlic cloves, sliced, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 pinch cayenne pepper, 1 large bay leaf, 1 cup no salt added diced tomatoes, 1 cup brown rice, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2 1/2 cups boiling water, 1 cup canned or frozen lima beans, drained and rinsed. Ingredients (For the Pesto): 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves only, 8 Kalamata olives, pitted, 1 clove garlic, 1 lemon zested and juiced

Directions:
1. Place a large saute pan over medium heat, then add the oil. Add the onions and peppers when the oil is hot and cook for four minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the fennel and garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Add all the spices and the bay leaf, and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, then add the vinegar and scrape the bottom to pull up any caramelized bits.

4. Add the rice to mixture, stir and cook for one minute. Slowly add the boiling water to the pan, stir to combine. Raise the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir in the lima beans, cook for 5 more minutes, then serve.

5. Prepare pesto in food processor or by hand by chopping all ingredients together. Once rice is tender remove paella from heat, stir in pesto. Serve warm.

Recipe courtesy of Spark People.

Advertisement

Zarzuela de Mariscos, a.k.a. Spanish Seafood Stew 2

Zarzuela de Mariscos, a.k.a. Spanish Seafood Stew

Image via Whats4Eats.com

Ingredients: Fish and shellfish (see variations), cleaned and prepared -- 2 pounds, Olive oil -- 1/4 cup, Onion, minced -- 1, Red, green or yellow bell peppers, small dice -- 2, Garlic, minced -- 3-5 cloves, Serrano ham or prosciutto (optional), sliced into thin strips -- 1/4 cup, Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced -- 3 to 4 cups, Almonds, ground in a spice grinder or food processor -- 1/2 cup, Bay leaf -- 1, Saffron -- pinch, Salt and pepper -- to taste, White wine -- 1 cup, Water or stock -- 3 cups, Lemon juice -- 1 tablespoon, Parsley, minced -- 2 to 3 tablespoons

Directions:
1. Clean and prepare your fish and shellfish as directed below. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the onions, peppers and garlic and sauté until onion turns translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the ham or prosciutto and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomatoes, ground almonds, bay leaf, saffron and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes to marry the flavors and reduce the liquid somewhat.

4. Add the wine and simmer to reduce its volume by about half. Then add the water or stock, lemon juice and parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 more minutes.

5. Add the fish and seafood to the stew. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until everything is cooked through. Do not overcook. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Whats4Eats.com.

Advertisement

Spanish One-Pot Green Beans & Potatoes 3

Ingredients: 1 lb "Italian" or wide green beans, fresh or frozen, 1lb potatoes, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, sliced, 1 teaspoon Pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika), plus more for sprinkling, Salt, 1/4 olive oil, a good olive oil for drizzling at the table, boiled eggs

Directions:
1. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil.  While it's heating, wash the potatoes. Peel them if you like (I never bother).  Cut the potatoes into large chunks and put them in the pot.

2. If you're using fresh green beans, wash them, trim them, break them into bite-sized pieces.  Or just rinse some frozen green beans, which work well for this. After the potatoes have boiled 8-10 minutes, add the beans to the pot. Boil the potatoes and beans 10 minutes more. At this point the potatoes and beans both should be tender.  If the potatoes get done before the beans,  just fish them out.

3. Reserve one cup of the cooking liquid.

4. Drain the potatoes and beans and leave them in the colander.   Using the same pot, fry the garlic in 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Remove the pot from the burner and let the oil cool some. Add the pimentón.  Stir in the reserved liquid. Add the potatoes and beans. Bring them to a simmer.

5. Serve with boiled eggs,  good bread,  a good olive oil for drizzling at the table, and pimentón for sprinkling.

Recipe courtesy of Simple Spanish Food.

Spanish Baked Chicken 4

Spanish Baked Chicken

Ingredients: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, Dash of pepper, 3 bay leaves, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1/4 cup sliced pitted green olives, 3 pounds chicken parts, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 cup dry white wine

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl combine the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, garlic powder, pepper, bay leaves, raisins and olives. Prick the skin of the chicken with fork tines and add to the marinade, coating well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken in a 12x8x2-inch baking dish. Combine wine with the marinade and pour over chicken. Sprinkle chicken with brown sugar. Bake uncovered at 350°F, basting occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 50 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes.

Advertisement

Spanish-style Stuffed Bell Peppers 5

Spanish-style Stuffed Bell Peppers

Image via suavehouse113/flickr

Ingredients: 2 red bell pepper (12 pound whole green or red bell peppers plus 14 cup minced), 3 tbsps olive oil, 1 onion (chopped), 1 tomato (peeled seeded and chopped), 1 garlic clove (minced), 34 cup long-grain rice, 2 14 cups chicken broth, 2 tbsps slivered almonds (toasted lightly), 12 cup frozen peas (fresh or thawed), 12 lb zucchini (scrubbed and cut into 14 inch cubes), 12 tsp ground cumin, 1 wedge lemon (garnish)

Directions:
1. Halve 3 of the whole bell peppers lengthwise, leaving the stem ends intact, core and seed them, and in a large saucepan of boiling salted water blanch them for 3 minutes, or until they are just tender. Remove the peppers and invert them on paper towels to drain (they will soften while they stand.)

2. In a heavy 11- to 12-inch skillet heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it sauté the onion, the remaining whole bell pepper, chopped, the tomato, and the garlic over moderate heat, stirring, for 15 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the broth, heated, and salt and pepper to taste, bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the rice is barely tender. Stir in the almonds, the peas, the minced bell pepper, the zucchini, and the cumin and divide the mixture among the bell pepper shells, mounding it. Bake the stuffed peppers in an oiled baking dish, covered, in a preheated 325°F. oven for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender, and serve them with the lemon wedges.

Recipe courtesy of Yummly.com.