Stuffed olives made with infused olive oil are just the start for these heart healthy recipes.
Have you heard the news? Low-fat diets are out, and traditional high-fat foods are back. But these diets filled with healthy fats, like the mediterranean diet, aren’t just a fad. The benefits of olive oil, fresh herbs, and fish are well-established. The research supports the health benefits, more so than many of the other dietary trends of our generation.
In this post, we’ll cover the basics of the mediterranean diet, what the research shows us, and most importantly – how you can take your healthy high-fat diet to the next level. Why not infuse your mediterranean inspired dishes with a little something special: cannabis. From infused olive oil to stuffed olives to beautiful fish steaks – there are many ways to boost the health benefits of these healthy fats.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a scientific concept that describes the menu of the region before globalization brought in outside food (pre-1960’s and pre-McDonalds). Dieticians and scientists have linked this regional diet to many health benefits. A mediterranean diet is very high in total fat intake (thanks to the olive oil), but low in saturated fats. Because of the reliance on olive oil, stuffed olives, fish, and other healthy regional ingredients, the diet is exceptionally high in antioxidants.
Although there is a little variation between specific definitions of this regionally-inspired diet, it always includes olive oil as the primary culinary fat. There should also be multiple servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and at least three servings of fish and legumes per week. There is usually a high nut intake.
The diet doesn’t include high levels of refined sugar, like sodas and baked goods. It is low in red and processed meats, as well as dairy. Many of these unhealthy foods are commonplace in the North American diet, and it may be why Americans and Canadians have higher instances of chronic illness and disease.
How Healthy is the Mediterranean Diet?
It’s not just the antioxidants that make the mediterranean diet healthy; it’s also been widely linked to low levels of metabolic disease. The menu is naturally chock full of anti-inflammatory foods and has a very low glycemic index. Although counterintuitive to the low-fat fads of the 1990s, the high-fat olive oil-focused mediterranean diet helps maintain healthy body weight.
Extensive population studies of the region have found this diet reduces the risk of diseases widespread in the US. Studies have now linked this diet to low risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type II diabetes, and even longevity. The high-fat mediterranean diet isn’t just a new dietary fad, it’s a scientific fact.
As an added benefit, cannabis is linked to maintaining healthy weight. Studies have shown that cannabis consumers have lower obesity rates than non-consumers. Moreover, cannabis may be able to help combat diabetes. When combined with the mediterranean diet, cannabis may be able to help keep you healthier longer while looking your best.
Here’s how to take your mediterranean diet to the next level.
Basic Infused Olive Oil
- 1 cup of ground bud, a strain of your choice
- 2 cups of high-quality extra virgin olive oil
- Grind the cannabis flower into a rough grind.
- Add the olive oil and cannabis into a slow cooker; stir until well mixed.
- Turn on the slow cooker to low-medium heat. The temperature should never exceed 240°F (use a kitchen thermometer if you’re worried).
- Let the mixture heat for 3 to 4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until decarboxylation is complete.
- Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
- Pour the mixture through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove the used cannabis flower.
- Store your cannabis-infused olive oil in an airtight jar away from direct sunlight and heat. It should store for up to six months, or longer.
- Substitute infused olive oil for regular oil in any recipe. Do not use for frying or high-temperature cooking, as it could destroy the sensitive medicinal compounds.
Infused Stuffed Olives (Adapted from Bon Appetit)
Who doesn’t love good stuffed olives? These snacks make a tasty, small dose of medicine that’s perfect to enjoy on a summer’s evening.
- 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
- 1 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
- 2 oz goat cheese, room temperature
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 24 pitted large green olives
- 1 wide strip lemon zest
- 1 dried chili
- ½ cup infused olive oil
- 1 sprig of thyme
- Combine goat cheese, chives, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined and smooth. Goat cheese should be room temperature to help with consistency.
- Transfer into a pastry bag, or ziplock bag. If using a ziplock bag snip the corner off to pipe.
- Pipe mixture into the middle of the olives, and place in a large glass container with an airtight lid. Mason jars work well.
- Cover with cannabis-infused olive oil (see recipe above). Insert one piece of lemon zest, thyme, and chili per jar.
- Store in the refrigerator for 24 hours to infuse flavors.
- Enjoy with a side of smoked almost or with to your infused fish!
Infused Fish Marinade (Adapted from Bon Appetit)
This recipe works well for any white fish (swordfish, tilapia, cod, and haddock are good examples). If you love fish, you’ll also want to check out other delicious infused fish recipes.
- 1 cup large green olives, pitted and crushed
- ¼ cup finely chopped unsalted roasted pistachios
- ¼ cup finely chopped tarragon (or other favorite herbs)
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1/3 cup infused olive oil
- ½ lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 fish steaks of your choice
- 3 tbsp olive oil (not infused)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450°; season fish with salt and pepper. Drizzle with regular olive oil. If you use infused olive oil, you may lose the cannabinoids because of the high temperature.
- Place fish steaks in a baking dish, and bake for roughly 8 minutes until flaky.
- While fish is in the oven, mix together all other ingredients except lemon.
- Remove fish from oven and plate.
- Spoon the olive and pistachio mixture over the fish steaks, and season with lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Serve warm alongside an infused salad or roasted vegetables.
These mediterranean inspired recipes are just the tip of the culinary iceberg. One of the key ingredients in the mediterranean diet is olive oil, and with infused olive oil on hand, the world is your oyster. Maybe you’ll start with easy infused hummus, move to stuffed olives, and find your way into five-course Italian gourmet dinner – all with a little added THC and a lot of added therapeutic benefit.