Heart-Healthy Mediterranean Party Food

Looking for an easy way to entertain in a way that doesn’t go nutritionally overboard? The new trend toward rustic cheese and charcuterie boards make it simple to pick up ingredients from the market, then arrange them on a wooden cutting board or slate tile; a traditional mezze platter – assorted Mediterranean ingredients assembled charcuterie-style – is simple, inexpensive, and most nibbles are good for you.

The Mediterranean diet has long been recommended, molded after the traditional dietary patterns of people in Portugal, Spain, southern France and Italy, Greek and parts of the Middle East. Luckily, people who live in the Mediterranean know how to nibble, and nibbles make great party food.

If you don’t want to cook, pick up olives, feta, stuffed grape leaves and peppers, marinated mushrooms or calamari, cured meats and salamis, fresh pitas and hummus or red pepper dip from the deli or middle eastern market. All will keep well in the fridge for a few days. A bowl of pistachios in their shells make a perfect accompaniment.

For dramatic effect, find a long wooden board top it with a piece of parchment or butcher paper (if you need to) and haphazardly arrange ingredients on it, running down the length of the board; fill in the gaps with baguette, breadsticks, crackers, preserves, dried fruit and walnuts. All you need is a stack of napkins and tub full of ice and beer, and you have yourself a party.

Happy holidays!

Find more of Julie’s recipes and ideas at her blog, Dinner with Julie. You can also join her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, or find more of her posts on Babble.

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