As the daughter of health guru Dr. Mehmet Oz, "I grew up on Mediterranean food since my dad's family is from Turkey," says Daphne, 27. "He was always saying eat tons of vegetables!" Now everyone is following Dad's demands: In February The New England Journal of Medicine reported that most people who follow the Mediterranean Diet - which is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, legumes and nuts - are less likely to suffer from heart disease and strokes. The lifestyle can also aid in weight loss. "The dishes have fresh produce, lean protein and healthy fats. And they have so much flavor, they help you feel satisfied with less," says The Chew
cohost, who credits the diet with helping her keep off the 30 lbs. she lost in college. Here, Daphne puts together an easy-to-follow meal plan for PEOPLE that mirrors her daily menu. "I make various toasts to keep breakfast from being boring," says the author of Relish
. "I love the spicy baked chicken, and you can use the marinade for salmon. This meal plan is very flexible." And allows for dessert! "I've never eaten a meal where we don't have something sweet like fresh fruit or sorbet," she says. "It's the perfect nexus of healthy and indulgent."
SPICY BAKED CHICKEN THIGHS
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. dried oregano
2 lbs. organic, skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken and marinate for 1 hour in refrigerator.
2. Preheat oven to 425º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place in oven for 2 minutes. Shake off excess marinade and arrange thighs on baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until juices run clear (165º internal temperature). Remove from oven and let chicken rest 10 minutes before serving.
Spicy Baked Chicken Thighs: 350
MIXED GREENS, BLUEBERRY & WALNUT SALAD WITH LEMON-DILL VINAIGRETTE
6 cups mixed greens
1 cup fresh blueberries
½ cup walnut halves, toasted & chopped
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 tsp. honey
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. fresh dill, roughly chopped
Add all dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk together - or shake together in a clean glass jar. In a bowl, toss greens with dressing. Divide greens among 4 plates. Top with blueberries and walnuts.
"Making your own dressing will cut out unnecessary sodium and sugar," says Oz.
Mixed Greens, Blueberry & Walnut Salad with Vinaigrette: 250
GRILLED MARINATED SALMON FILET OVER ROASTED ASPARAGUS
4 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. honey
4 garlic cloves, smashed
4 (4-oz.) 1-inch thick salmon filets, skin on
24 asparagus spears
1. Pour 2 tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, and 1 tsp. salt into a reseal-able plastic bag. Add salmon filets and marinate 20 minutes in refrigerator.
2. Preheat oven to 400º. Cut or snap off bottom 2 inches from each asparagus stalk. Place asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 4 tsp. olive oil and ½ tsp. salt. Roast 10 minutes. Shake pan to rotate spears and bake another 5 minutes until tender and browned in places.
3. Meanwhile, heat an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high heat, and brush with 2 tsp. olive oil. Remove salmon from marinade and grill skin-side down 10--15 minutes, covered. Fish should remain just barely translucent at the center of its thickest part and flesh at edges should easily flake. To serve: Place 6 asparagus on each plate. Top with salmon filet.
Pesto: 120 per tablespoon
The Power of Pesto
"I love to put it on anything. It's delicious on pasta, brown rice or salmon," says Oz.
2 bunches fresh basil
3 garlic cloves
½ cup walnut pieces
½ cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
1 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly cracked pepper
¾ cup olive oil
Place basil, garlic, walnuts, cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper in blender or food processor. Gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified and smooth. To store leftovers, place in a bowl or container and cover with a thin layer of olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap or lid.
BROWN RICE PILAF
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup medium-grain brown rice, rinsed and drained
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
2 cups boiling water
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. salt
Chopped flat-leaf parsley (for garnish)
1. Preheat oven to 375º. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 2--3 minutes. Add rice and stir 2 minutes.
2. Place rice mixture, raisins and almonds in an 8-in.-square baking dish. Pour in boiling water. Add butter and salt and stir to combine. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.
3. Fluff rice before serving. Garnish with parsley.
Brown Rice Pilaf: 310
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