Summer days conjure images of al fresco dining and Mediterranean-type treats to snack on while sipping a cool cocktail.
Picture a platter of olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and eggs…yes eggs can be included as part of the Mediterranean diet! Unlike other fad diets, the Mediterranean diet consists of healthy whole foods and does not require you to cut out other food groups. Health benefits of the Mediterranean diet include lowered risk of diabetes and heart disease, and of course, it’s excellent for maintaining weight.
A huge plus of the Mediterranean diet is it’s rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. While eggs do contain cholesterol, eating eggs will not necessarily raise your cholesterol. Compared to non-egg eaters, those who eat eggs daily have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke and a lower risk of dying from these conditions.
So, it makes sense that eggs can be included in the Mediterranean diet. Global dietary guidelines also allow for one egg per day, and vegetarians who do not consume other animal products can eat up to two eggs per day in moderation. Although the Mediterranean diet is based around plant foods, moderate amounts of dairy, poultry, seafood and eggs are allowed.
Speaking of the Mediterranean and our much-awaited summer months, did you know that as many as two in 10 Africans may be vitamin D deficient, suggesting that our continent may have the highest levels of severe vitamin D deficiency worldwide? Eggs are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D – in fact, almost one-third of our daily vitamin D needs, with most of the vitamin D found in the egg yolk.
Despite the recent increase in the cost of eggs due to the avian flu outbreak, they are still one of the most affordable animal-source proteins. You can also be assured that eggs on the shelves at local retailers are safe for consumption, provided standard food-safety steps are followed when preparing meals.
Try this mouth-watering salad tapas combo – it’s affordable and can be enjoyed as a snack or delicious side for any meal any time of the day.
Serves 4 for R100
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
- 4 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rings
- ½ cucumber, cut into sticks
- 100 g packet Kalamata olives, drained
- 2 rings Feta, broken into pieces
- Greek salad dressing, to serve
- Make cheats poached eggs by pressing the middle of a perforated plastic wrap square into a small ramekin or bowl, leaving the rest of the plastic to hang over the outside edge. Spray the centre with cooking spray and crack in an egg. Bring the sides of the plastic overhang up and tie up tightly with kitchen string, ensuring there are no air bubbles around the egg. Take the plastic parcel out of the ramekin and repeat with the rest of the eggs.
- Bring a medium saucepan half full of water to a simmer on medium heat. Carefully add all the egg parcels and cook for 4 minutes for runny yolks or until cooked to your liking. Carefully cut the parcels open under the knots and unwrap. Season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, olives and Feta on a platter with the eggs. Serve with the dressing.
IMAGES TO BE CREDITED TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN POULTRY ASSOCIATION