How well do you know your olive oils? Spinach, walnuts, oat products, broccoli, blueberries, dark chocolate and olive oil—what do all these foods have in common? They are all rich in antioxidants, a central theme of the Mediterranean Diet, which came about after the dietary patterns of southern Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco were studied.
Healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are all part of the diet. Olive oil, which contains a very high level of monounsaturated fats, is the main fat promoted in this diet and it is characteristic of the Mediterranean diet.
6 Types of Olive Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This is the first press of the olives through the cold pressing process. The virgin designation has to do with the amount of acidity of the olive oil.
- Virgin Olive Oil: Olives that are riper than those used for extra virgin oil are produced in the same way as extra virgin, the acidity is a bit higher, therefore, the oil is of lesser quality.
- Refined Olive Oil: This oil has a diminished flavor and scent, higher acidity than the two above and it is the result of refining virgin olive oil.
- Pure Olive Oil: Lighter in color and milder in taste than extra virgin olive oil, this oil is a result of the second cold pressing; it is not mixed with any non-olive oils.
- Refined Olive-Pomace Oil: This lower quality oil is produced by the ground flesh and pits left after pressing.
- Light & Extra Light Olive Oil: This low-quality oil is chemically produced.
This is an easy-to-make, yet healthy vegetable side dish that uses EVOO, extra virgin olive oil, a characteristic of the Mediterranean Diet.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes or Acorn Squash For Two
- 2 sweet potatoes, cleaned, with skins on, cut into 1” wedges or 1 2-pound acorn squash, cut into ¾ inch slices after being halved and seeded
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
- Parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 425 degreees
- Toss sweet potatoes or acorn squash with 1 Tbsp. oil
- Season with salt and peppe
- Roast, turning once, about 25 minutes, or until tender
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve
Roasted sweet potatoes or acorn squash are great additions for any main dish. And, they're healthy! For more food, wine and recipes, check out Sally Bernstein!