Meal of the month: A Mediterranean meal

This month’s meal comes courtesy of one of our international readers, Ilknur Ebece, who is studying nutrition and dietetics at Medipol University in Istanbul, Turkey. She shared a meal featuring whole grains, beans, mushrooms, and vegetables. In addition to highlighting locally grown ingredients, her meal has two heart-healthy attributes: it’s entirely plant-based, and it’s an example of Mediterranean cuisine, an eating style proven to help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Olive oil, a staple in Mediterranean fare, is the main source of fat in Ebece’s meal. She uses it to sauté a colorful medley of vegetables (including red and green peppers, corn, and carrots) and to prepare mushrooms, which are roasted in olive oil with chopped onions and spices. Dried white beans, boiled until tender, are flavored with onion and dill.

Her meal also features tomato bulgur pilaf, a traditional Turkish grain dish made with einkorn. This ancient grain, which the Turks call sites, contains slightly more protein and nutrients than modern wheat varieties. Bulgur is made from cracked wheat that is parboiled, dried, and broken into smaller pieces; it’s sometimes called “the pasta of the Middle East.” The Oldways Whole Grains Council has recipes and more information about einkorn and other whole grains on its website; see

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 NIV

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19 NIV

The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Psalm 118:24 NIV

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11 NIV

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV

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