It’s no secret that ‘the Med diet’ – one that’s rich in oily fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables – is the best thing going for a healthy body and mind.
Just this week, a study released by the British Medical Journal (involving research carried out by scientists at Harvard University over an eight-year period) revealed that swapping a daily portion of red meat for fish can reduce the risk of early death by almost a fifth (17 per cent over the eight years).
Luckily, fish, which is abundant in protein, Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, is one of the most versatile ingredients out there. With a choice of dishes from creamy chowder to fish cakes, roasted whole with fresh vegetables, or spiced in an infinite number of ways, the world really is your oyster.
So, to make it easy to make the switch from red-meat classics, here are seven super-easy substitutes (with recipes below) for a more Mediterranean (and perhaps even healthier) life.
1) Swap spaghetti bolognese for spaghetti vongole
Spaghetti alle vongole ("spaghetti with clams"), is a dish eaten throughout Italy, especially in Campania. A combination of salty clams, chilli and a splash of wine white, it's a real crowdpleaser.
2) Swap the Sunday roast for a baked whole fish
A whole roasted fish, such as sea bass, a side of salmon or bream, gives you a meal packed with vitamins (including K, B12, and A), which helps support a healthy heart function and the immune system.
3) Swap steak and chips for seared tuna steak
Tuna steak can be cooked the same way you cook beef – in a very hot pan, for just a couple of minutes on each side. It has a thick, satisfying texture, which makes it perfect for mid-week meals.
4) Swap beef meatballs for spicy fishballs
The fish balls shared below – delicately spiced fish bites that are fried in a golden broth of butter and oil – have their culinary roots in southern China. Use a generous kick of garlic, chilli and cumin to transform the versatile white fish.
5) Swap beef stew for a seafood stew
A lighter version of the comfort-food staple, and a blueprint recipe that can be adapted with different fish and seafood, depending on the season and what your fishmonger has in stock.
6) Swap burgers for fish cakes
There's a fishcake for every season. For summer, try adding a squeeze of lime, and fresh herbs like parsley and basil to make a summer supper as aesthetically pleasing as it is tasty.
7) Swap lamb curry for fish curry
An aromatic fish curry made with cool coconut milk and lots of spices is really quick to make, which makes it the ideal swap for a lamb or beef curry.