Indulge a little too much over the holiday season? You’re not alone! My sister and I were just laughing about how this was the “Year of Tiramisu” in our family! It’s the perfect time of year to reset your thinking about food and exercise, and we’re all about taking a few tips from fellow Italians.
The way we see it, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t eat well and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are five diet-friendly Italian food and wine pairings that are as delicious as they are good for you.
Chicken Paillard + Polvaro Oro
A traditional Tuscan dish, Chicken Paillard is simple and fresh. It’s basically a chicken breast, pounded thin, marinated and grilled or pan-seared. It’s then topped with a vinegar-tinged arugula and tomato salad. Light, easy, and totally satisfying when served with a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Traminer.
Minestrone + Merlot
Minestrone is as hearty as it is filling. It’s a traditional Italian soup made with vegetables like green beans, carrots, cabbage, and tomatoes made even heartier with white beans, minestrone is a perfect way to get more produce in your diet. Add a rich glass of Merlot and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top (who says you can’t have a little cheese?) and it’s a dieter’s dream!
Grilled Octopus + Lison
Seafood is very diet-friendly! That is, if you eat it grilled or steamed instead of fried like we’re apt to do in Italy. A charcoal or wood-burning grill is your best bet to inbue tons of flavor, and it’s smart to start with baby octupi as they’re more tender. We suggest garlic, whole peppercorns, and tons of lemon wedges alongside your grilled feast, and of course, a glass of cool, dry Lison.
Chicken Saltimbocca + Pinot Noir
This classic Italian dish is easy to make a little healthier! A fun twist features chicken cutlets rolled around sauteed spinach and just a slice of salty proscuitto each. Top with sage and serve alongside sauteed broccoli rabe and you deserve a glass of Pinot Noir. Even doctors say a glass of red wine a day is a great way to stay healthy!
Shrimp and Pesto Pasta + Pinot Grigio
Yes, you can have pasta on a diet! We suggest opting for whole wheat angel hair and using a pesto or tomato-based sauce. The vibrant basil flavor of this recipe’s pesto with the addition of plump, naturally sweet shrimp won’t leave you feeling deprived. Piar with a crips Pinot Grigio, even better if organic!
Do you have any diet resolutions for the new year? Italian food can be, surprisingly, a great way to stay healthy! Focus on the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on and be sure to incorporate as much produce, as many herbs, and a lot of lean protein like seafood and chicken into your new regimen.
And whatever you do, don’t forget to toast to good health each evening with a glass of delicious wine! A healthy stomach is a happy one.
-Barbara Candoni De Zan