The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook with Neda Varbanova

The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook with Neda Varbanova

We’re in for such a deal with right this moment 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 vivid gentle within the influencer area, which means she is so constructive & encouraging. We’re so pleased to welcome her again to the weblog right this moment.

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 revealed 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 way of life and diet model.

The recipes aren’t simply salads and smoothies (although it does embody a couple of), quite a set of hearty, scrumptious, Mediterranean-inspired recipes that additionally occur to be wholesome. Some recipes are low-carb, some are gluten-free, and all the recipes are made out of recent and healthful meals. As well as, the recipes are straightforward to observe and will really 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 great. In actual fact, I’ve seen individuals who shift to a Mediterranean-inspired way of life to expertise all kinds of advantages, together with feeling happier, changing 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 troublesome?

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 start out incorporating wholesome meals into all components 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 wish to have their meals scheduled. 

What’s your high 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 weight loss program is among the finest issues you are able to do to your well being. 12 months after 12 months The Mediterranean Food regimen is voted considered one of the-if not the– healthiest weight loss program and the very best factor about it’s all you should do is eat actual meals.

Consuming a Mediterranean-inspired weight loss program contains consuming meals which can be stuffed with recent greens, entire grains, nuts and seeds, and lean meats, in addition to a little bit of indulgence. This model of consuming is much less about counting energy and extra about having fun with the abundance of recent meals. So should you begin consuming recent, healthful meals for each meal, it’s nearly assured that you simply’ll really feel extra glad and stuffed with power. 

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

♡ What are the commonest elements in The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook?

NV: The commonest elements within the e-book are in all probability 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 elements are merely the meals that I take advantage of probably the most in my kitchen at residence and so in fact they made their method into all of my favourite dishes.

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

One in every of my favourite parts of The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook is a chart that helps you make more healthy swaps for frequent elements comparable to refined white bread, white sugar and dairy merchandise, simply to call a couple of. I actually needed to present the readers all of the instruments that they should eat nicely, really feel nice and likewise look fabulous. 

Recipes from The Mediterranean Meal Plan Cookbook

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

Greek Fashion 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 proper dish for breakfast, brunch or a lightweight dinner. There is no such thing as a 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 will cut back irritation and assist weight reduction. Whenever 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 should you want the eggs nicely executed, cook dinner them for a couple of additional minutes.

Makes 6 servings

+ 3 tbsp (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil

+ 3 leeks (white and lightweight inexperienced components), 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, optionally available


+ 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 gentle. 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 gentle. (Prepare dinner for longer should you want the eggs nicely executed.) Serve sizzling, topped with lemon zest, feta and chopped dill.

Nedi’s Tip:

♡ Frozen spinach can be utilized instead of the recent spinach if wanted. Thaw it in a bowl or colander and squeeze it with paper towels or your arms 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 stored getting delayed and eventually was canceled within the night. So I headed again to my grandma’s home and she or he had simply completed cooking this meatball stew. I used to be ravenous and it felt like probably the most comforting meal one might have. The subsequent time I visited my yiayia we made the stew collectively and I’m so glad I acquired to study her method. Cooking collectively creates so many particular recollections 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 lightweight inexperienced half), chopped

+ 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

+ 1 massive carrot, chopped

+ 1 purple cubanelle or bell pepper, chopped

+ 8 artichoke bottoms, reduce in half (see Nedi’s Suggestions)

+ 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 Suggestions)

+ 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 nicely and type small meatballs, about 1 tablespoon (15 g) every. Unfold the flour on a plate after which frivolously roll every meatball within the flour to forestall them from falling aside.

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

Nedi’s Suggestions:

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

♡ Chickpea rice might 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 elements comparable to 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 provides 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).

+ Reduce 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 shall be executed prior to 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 recent basil. Stir and put aside.

+ Spoon the lentil Bolognese over the spaghetti squash noodles after which sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Garnish with extra recent 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 probably 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 actual fact, we now have made the proper tweaks to ensure it may be loved on this Mediterranean meal information. The elements consist primarily of chocolate, walnuts, eggs, butter and coconut oil. In spite of everything, there isn’t 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 recent lemon juice

+ 1½ cups (180 g) walnuts, finely chopped

+ ½ cup (1 stick/114 g) gentle 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, optionally available


+ 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. Reduce 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 turn into white and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Then add the walnuts to the bowl with the egg whites.

+ In a smaller bowl, beat the gentle butter, coconut oil, coconut sugar and honey with a mixer. Add the egg yolks and cacao powder and beat till blended nicely.

+ 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 high and over the perimeters. Then grate the darkish chocolate on high and serve with sliced strawberries should you 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 turn into finely chopped.

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

NV: You should purchase 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 a couple of e-book signing occasions within the coming months, observe me on @healthywithnedi to remain up to date on new happenings. I’m so excited for everybody to attempt my recipes and discover new favourite meals to eat nicely, really feel nice and look fabulous. xo

Mouth. is. watering. That chocolate cake anybody? To die for. We’re simply so excited to attempt a few of Nedi’s recipes from her model new cookbook. Remember to observe 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 into account, attempt to assist your native bookstore should you 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’ll be able to ask them to order it in.

x, The Skinny Confidential group.

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

++ should you’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. Picture credit score: Oksana Pali.