Flavors from the East

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Mediterranean-style foods have recently continued to grow in popularity, which may be due to their healthful qualities and fresh flavors. Foods classified as Mediterranean or Middle Eastern tend to emphasize the use of olive oil, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes as the primary foods. To capitalize on health-conscious customers seeking this style of cuisine and to grow your global-inspired menu, try the following:

Skip the salt. Use the natural flavors of herbs and spices like basil, cilantro, ginger and saffron in place of salt. These will complement sauces, dressings, marinades and more.

More fruits and veggies. Seasonal fruits and hearty vegetables not only add color to salads and seafood dishes, but they also add fresh flavors.

Use olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine. Use it in place of butter to flavor salads, vegetables and pastas.

Add some texture. Fiber-rich ingredients like beans, legumes, nuts and seeds make great healthy toppings and add texture to a meal.