The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook with Neda Varbanova

The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook with Neda Varbanova

We’re in for such a deal with immediately as a result of Neda Varbanova is right here to speak about her new cookbook and provides us a style with FOUR of her favourite recipes from it. (Did you see the 2 puns?)

Anyway, it’s possible you’ll know Neda as @healthywithnedi on Instagram the place she shares tons of wholesome cooking concepts, straightforward recipes, the cutest ever journeys along with her Grandma and likewise her tremendous cute outfits too.

Lauryn and her met years in the past in New York Metropolis over cucumber martinis (Nedi’s specialty), and since then Neda has come on the weblog twice, right here and right here, to share wholesome recipes with The Skinny Confidential group. She is a shiny gentle within the influencer area, which means she is so optimistic & encouraging. We’re so joyful to welcome her again to the weblog immediately.

Let’s let Neda take over to speak about The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook.

The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook with Neda Varbanova


Inform us about The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook – who’s the viewers?

Neda Varbanova: I’m so excited to have printed The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook. The e-book is a fruits of a complete lifetime of cooking Mediterranean-inspired recipes within the kitchen with my mom and grandmother from Bulgaria to Athens and New York Metropolis, and my work creating Healthy with Nedi – my wholesome life-style and diet model.

The recipes aren’t simply salads and smoothies (although it does embody just a few), slightly a set of hearty, scrumptious, Mediterranean-inspired recipes that additionally occur to be wholesome. Some recipes are low-carb, some are gluten-free, and the entire recipes are produced from contemporary and healthful meals. As well as, the recipes are straightforward to comply with and will actually please anybody. 

I created the e-book in order that anybody can get pleasure from it — from the on a regular basis wholesome eater to individuals who merely love good meals. In case you’re attempting to eat more healthy in 2023, this book is ideal for you. The recipes are wholesome with out sacrificing taste and the advantages are super. In truth, I’ve seen individuals who shift to a Mediterranean-inspired life-style to expertise all kinds of advantages, together with feeling happier, turning into extra energized, getting higher sleep, experiencing radiant pores and skin, and bettering digestion and weight reduction efforts. 

What if we wish to eat wholesome, however discover it tough?

NV: Simply begin cooking one healthful meal a day and even as soon as per week. When you begin maintaining a healthy diet meals, you’ll begin to really feel extra energized and also will be inspired to begin incorporating wholesome meals into all elements of your day. The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook additionally features a thirty-day meal plan to assist information you thru creating habits round good meals selections for individuals who prefer to have their meals scheduled. 

What’s your prime advice for consuming more healthy in 2023?

NV: Purchase my e-book! Lol, however in all seriousness, for me it comes right down to consuming actual meals, spending extra time within the kitchen and sharing meals with individuals that you simply love. Consuming a Mediterranean-style eating regimen is likely one of the finest issues you are able to do in your well being. Yr after 12 months The Mediterranean Food regimen is voted one in all the-if not the– healthiest eating regimen and one of the best factor about it’s all it is advisable to do is eat actual meals.

Consuming a Mediterranean-inspired eating regimen consists of consuming meals which are stuffed with contemporary greens, entire grains, nuts and seeds, and lean meats, in addition to a little bit of indulgence. This type of consuming is much less about counting energy and extra about having fun with the abundance of contemporary meals. So for those who begin consuming contemporary, healthful meals for each meal, it’s virtually assured that you simply’ll really feel extra glad and stuffed with power. 

If you cook dinner your personal meals and share it together with your family members, not solely are you able to take note of what’s going into your meals, you too can discover extra pleasure and connection in what you eat.

♡ What are the most typical substances in The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook?

NV: The most typical substances within the e-book are most likely high-quality extra-virgin olive oil (look into high phenol olive oil for well being btw — the advantages are unbelievable), leeks, spinach, feta cheese and lemons. These substances are merely the meals that I take advantage of essentially the most in my kitchen at dwelling and so in fact they made their approach into all of my favourite dishes.

To say that I’m a feta cheese lover is an understatement, lol. In truth, I can have feta anytime of the day and I truly love to combine it with candy and savory dishes. Attempt the Orange French Toast from my cookbook and sprinkle feta cheese over it. It’s so heavenly! 

One among my favourite parts of The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook is a chart that helps you make more healthy swaps for frequent substances reminiscent of refined white bread, white sugar and dairy merchandise, simply to call just a few. I actually wished to present the readers all of the instruments that they should eat effectively, really feel nice and likewise look fabulous. 

Recipes from The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook

I’m so excited to share just a few recipes from the cookbook with you. Listed below are recipes for a low-carb breakfast, a heartwarming starter (the stew), a vegan entrée and a gluten-free dessert that would get you thru a complete day of consuming the Mediterranean approach! Attempt them out and let me know the way it goes — I really like to listen to about individuals’s favourite Wholesome with Nedi recipes.

Greek Type Eggs with Spinach and Leeks 

Greek Style Eggs with Spinach and Leeks | The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook

Picture credit score: Oksana Pali

These eggs are the right dish for breakfast, brunch or a lightweight dinner. There isn’t any higher style than creamy feta with spinach and leeks. It jogs my memory of spanakopita, however with out the additional energy or carbs. This dish can also be filled with antioxidants and fiber and should scale back irritation and help weight reduction. If you cook dinner the eggs, watch them rigorously, as they’re straightforward to overcook. Flip off the warmth when the whites are agency and the yolks are tender and runny. However for those who favor the eggs effectively achieved, cook dinner them for just a few further minutes.

Makes 6 servings

+ 3 tbsp (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil

+ 3 leeks (white and light-weight inexperienced elements), chopped

+ ¼ cup (60 ml) water

+ 1 lb (454 g) fresh baby spinach

+ 3 tbsp (12 g) chopped fresh parsley

+ 2 tbsp (7 g) chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish if desired

+ Sea salt and pepper to style

+ 6 eggs

+ ⅓ cup (50 g) crumbled feta cheese, plus extra for garnish if desired

+ 1 tsp dried oregano

+ ¼ tsp chili flakes

+ Lemon zest, for garnish, elective


+ Warmth the olive oil in a large skillet over medium warmth. Add the leeks and cook dinner for 1 minute, coated. Then add the water and proceed cooking for five to six minutes, stirring often, till the leeks are mushy. Add the spinach, parsley and dill, and season with salt and pepper. Flip the warmth to excessive and cook dinner for five minutes, till the water begins to evaporate. Then carry the warmth again right down to medium.

+ Utilizing a big spoon, type six nests within the combination and crack one egg into every nest. Sprinkle the feta across the eggs, then do the identical with the oregano and chili flakes.

+ Cowl the pan and cook dinner for 3 to five minutes, till the egg whites are cooked however the yolks are mushy. (Prepare dinner for longer for those who favor the eggs effectively achieved.) Serve sizzling, topped with lemon zest, feta and chopped dill.

Nedi’s Tip:

♡ Frozen spinach can be utilized instead of the contemporary spinach if wanted. Thaw it in a bowl or colander and squeeze it with paper towels or your fingers over a strainer to take away extra water earlier than utilizing on this dish.

Yiayia’s Meatball Stew with Artichokes

Meatball Stew with Artichokes | The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook

Picture credit score: Oksana Pali

I’ve been dreaming about this stew since I had it final 12 months. I had spent a complete day on the airport in Greece, attempting to get on my flight again to New York Metropolis. The flight saved getting delayed and at last was canceled within the night. So I headed again to my grandma’s home and he or she had simply completed cooking this meatball stew. I used to be ravenous and it felt like essentially the most comforting meal one may have. The following time I visited my yiayia we made the stew collectively and I’m so glad I obtained to be taught her method. Cooking collectively creates so many particular reminiscences for me that I do know I’ll treasure perpetually. So I hope you get pleasure from this dish as a lot as I do.

Makes 6 servings

+ 2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil

+ 1 leek (white and light-weight inexperienced half), chopped

+ 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

+ 1 massive carrot, chopped

+ 1 purple cubanelle or bell pepper, chopped

+ 8 artichoke bottoms, lower in half (see Nedi’s Ideas)

+ 1 massive russet potato, peeled and chopped

+ 2 qt (1.9 L) low sodium vegetable broth

+ 2 cups (480 ml) sizzling water

+ 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) ground beef

+ ½ cup (90 g) dry chickpea rice or common dry rice (see Nedi’s Ideas)

+ 1 tsp cumin

+ 1 tsp pepper

+ ½ tsp turmeric

+ ½ tsp cinnamon

+ ½ tsp smoked paprika

+ ½ tsp oregano

+ ¼ tsp chili flakes

+ Sea salt to style

+ ½ cup (75 g) gluten-free all-purpose flour blend

+ 3 tbsp (12 g) chopped parsley


+ Warmth the olive oil in a large pot over medium warmth and add the leek, onion, carrot and pepper. Sauté for a couple of minutes, till tender. Then add the artichoke bottoms and potato and sauté for one more 2 minutes. Pour within the vegetable broth and water.

+ In a large bowl, add the bottom beef, chickpea rice, cumin, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, oregano, chili flakes and salt. Combine effectively and type small meatballs, about 1 tablespoon (15 g) every. Unfold the flour on a plate after which evenly roll every meatball within the flour to stop them from falling aside.

+ Gently toss the meatballs into the stew. Convey to a boil then decrease the warmth to medium. Prepare dinner for an hour, evenly coated. Garnish with the chopped parsley on the finish and switch off the warmth. Serve whereas sizzling and revel in!

Nedi’s Ideas:

♡ Artichoke bottoms could be bought in cans from Amazon. I at all times have my pantry stocked with them. They’re filled with fiber and vitamins and likewise make a fantastic low-carb substitute for potatoes. In case you can’t discover artichoke bottoms, one or two extra russet potatoes can be utilized as a substitute.

♡ Chickpea rice could be discovered from the model Banza. I additionally like to make use of it because it has extra protein and fiber than common rice.

Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Bolognese 

Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Bolognese 

Picture credit score: Oksana Pali

This lentil Bolognese sauce is filled with nutritious substances reminiscent of onion, garlic, carrots, mushrooms and lentils. The meatless sauce is tasty, hearty and likewise meaty sufficient {that a} meat lover received’t complain that something appears lacking. Spaghetti squash is a nutritious winter vegetable that gives a lot of fiber, beta carotene and folate. 

Makes 4 servings

+ 1 massive spaghetti squash

+ Sea salt and pepper, to style

+ 4 tbsp (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, divided

+ 1 medium white onion, finely chopped

+ 1 carrot, finely chopped

+ 3 cloves garlic, minced

+ 2 cups (140 g) cremini mushrooms, chopped

+ 1 (14-oz [397-g]) can cooked lentils, drained and rinsed

+ 1 (14-oz [397-g]) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

+ 1 cup (240 ml) tomato sauce

+ 2 tsp (8 g) coconut sugar

+ 1 tsp dried oregano

+ 1 tsp dried basil

+ ¼ tsp chili flakes

+ ¼ cup (10 g) chopped fresh basil, plus extra for garnish

+ ½ cup (56 g) shredded plant-based mozzarella (I used Daiya)


+ Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).

+ Minimize the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Season with a lightweight pinch of salt and pepper, after which drizzle with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil. Place the halves cut-side down on a big, rimmed baking sheet, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, till tender. (Smaller squash might be achieved before bigger squash.) Set the squash apart to chill. When cool sufficient to deal with, use two forks to interrupt up the squash into noodles after which place the noodles on a serving plate.

+ In the meantime, make the lentil Bolognese. Warmth the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil in a skillet over medium warmth. Sauté the onion, carrot and garlic for 4 minutes, stirring often. Then add the mushrooms and sauté till they start to melt. Add the lentils, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to mix.

+ Stir within the coconut sugar, oregano, basil and chili flakes. Simmer the sauce for quarter-hour, till it thickens, and all of the greens are tender. Then season to style with salt and pepper. Flip the warmth off and add the contemporary basil. Stir and put aside.

+ Spoon the lentil Bolognese over the spaghetti squash noodles after which sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Garnish with extra contemporary basil and revel in.

Nedi’s Tip:

♡ Do that lentil Bolognese over zucchini noodles, gluten-free spaghetti or in a lasagna.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Walnuts

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Walnuts

Picture credit score: Oksana Pali

That is essentially the most scrumptious, decadent, flourless chocolate cake that you’ll ever style. My mother used to make this cake for birthdays and particular household gatherings on a regular basis. In truth, we now have made the right tweaks to ensure it may be loved on this Mediterranean meal information. The substances consist primarily of chocolate, walnuts, eggs, butter and coconut oil. In any case, there is no such thing as a higher mixture than chocolate and coconut. Chocolate lovers will love this dessert!

Makes 8 servings

+ 6 eggs, at room temperature

+ Pinch of sea salt

+ ½ tsp contemporary lemon juice

+ 1½ cups (180 g) walnuts, finely chopped

+ ½ cup (1 stick/114 g) mushy butter, plus extra to grease the pan

+ ¼ cup (60 ml) coconut oil

+ ½ cup (96 g) coconut sugar

+ 2 tbsp (30 ml) honey

+ 2 tbsp (10 g) cacao powder

+ 1 oz (50 g) dark chocolate

+ Sliced strawberries, for serving, elective


+ Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease an 8-inch (20-cm) cake pan with butter after which place a bit of parchment paper on the underside. Minimize the paper to suit precisely within the pan.

+ Separate the yolks from the egg whites after which place every in separate bowls.

+ In a big mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the lemon juice utilizing a mixer till they change into white and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Then add the walnuts to the bowl with the egg whites.

+ In a smaller bowl, beat the mushy butter, coconut oil, coconut sugar and honey with a mixer. Add the egg yolks and cacao powder and beat till combined effectively.

+ Take half of the combination from the egg yolk bowl and add it to the bowl of egg whites and walnuts. Put aside the opposite half of the egg yolk combination.

+ Add the egg white combination to the ready pan and bake for 15 to twenty minutes. Insert a toothpick within the cake; if it comes out with no crumbs, the cake is prepared.

+ Let the cake cool fully then switch to a serving platter. When fully cool, unfold the remaining egg yolk combination on prime and over the perimeters. Then grate the darkish chocolate on prime and serve with sliced strawberries for those who like.

Nedi’s Tip:

♡ If the walnuts will not be already chopped, then add them right into a small meals processor and pulse till they change into finely chopped.

♡ These sound wonderful, the place can we purchase the e-book?

NV: You should buy The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook: Simple, Nutritious Recipes to Eat Well, Feel Great and Look Fabulous in most bookstores nationwide.

 I’ll even be internet hosting just a few e-book signing occasions within the coming months, comply with me on @healthywithnedi to remain up to date on new happenings. I’m so excited for everybody to strive my recipes and discover new favourite meals to eat effectively, really feel nice and look fabulous. xo

Mouth. is. watering. That chocolate cake anybody? To die for. We’re simply so excited to strive a few of Nedi’s recipes from her model new cookbook. You’ll want to comply with Nedi on IG the place she shares so many enjoyable cooking movies, and our favourite… grocery retailer hauls! She finds the best stuff.

And take note, attempt to help your native bookstore for those who can! In the event that they don’t carry The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook: Simple, Nutritious Recipes to Eat Well, Feel Great and Look Fabulous you possibly can ask them to order it in.

x, The Skinny Confidential workforce.

+ checkout Nedi’s favourite recipes for colder climate right here.

++ for those who’re into cooking, stalk this strawberry cake recipe.

+ Reprinted with permission from The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook by Neda Varbanova. Web page Avenue Publishing Co. 2022. Photograph credit score: Oksana Pali.