It’s Ferragosto! 3 Healthy Celebration Foods to Have on Your ‘Italiano Vero’ Menu

The 15th of August is a big day for all Italians. This is the day when we celebrate mid-summer at its most magnificent time, a day when all families get together for relaxing picnics, countryside walks, concerts, or parties on the beach. I remember spending my Ferragosto eating refreshing slices of cantaloupe and watermelon, visiting mostre (exhibitions) or sagre (festivals) during the day, and watching fireworks at night.

Facts About Ferragosto

Ferragosto is celebrated on 15 August, every year. It’s an Italian and Sammarinese holiday, matching with the assumption of Mary – the great Catholic feast.  Its name comes from Latin “feriae augusti”.  In 18 BCE, August, the Roman emperor, affirmed the month of August to be a month to honor the gods – especially Diana – and the cycle of ripening and fertility.

By metonymy, it’s also the summer vacation period around mid-August that might be a long weekend – also known as ponte di ferragosto (meaning: most of August).

3 Healthy Celebration Recipes for Ferragosto

ferragosto food

Whether strolling on the hilly countryside or soaking up the sun on a beach or, this ancient holiday is all about having a good time with your families and friends, relaxation – and of course, food! Eat al fresco – style dishes, easy to transport and lovely at room temperature are the perfect choice for this special day. Plus, with numerous fresh, in-season vegetables and fruits, the possibilities are almost endless! Here are some great Italian healthy food ideas that you can prepare for the Ferragosto-weekend as a true Italian (un Italiano vero):

  1. Cocomerata with Mint Sauce

You will need:

  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 1 small watermelon (better if seedless)
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Grapes
  • Kiwis

For the mint sauce:

  • 40 mint leaves
  • 8 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 8 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Cut the cantaloupe and watermelon in half and remove their seeds; next, rinse the grapes and peel the kiwis. Using a melon baller, make little cantaloupe, kiwi, and watermelon balls. Then, remove the complete interior of the watermelon to use its skin as a large bowl.
  2. Prepare the mint sauce:
  3. In a food processor, mix the mint leaves, lime/lemon juice, and sugar. Then,
  4. pour the mint sugo into the watermelon bowl and place it in the fridge.

Serving tip: You can distribute long wooden skewers in the watermelon bowl for a fun sharing experience!

cocomerata ferragosto

About the nutrients:

The taste of lemon juice will refresh you and give you a dose of vitamin C, as well as some other nutrients. Mint has several benefits which include weight loss and proper digestion, relief from nausea, headache, fatigue, depression, memory loss, skin issues, and treatment of asthma. The fiber, vitamin C, choline, and potassium content in cantaloupe all support cardiovascular health. Watermelon except water contains many other essential nutrients. Check out the health benefits of watermelon: http://yourhealthtube.com/watermelon-greatest-health-benefits/

  1. Mixed Pan with Fresh Vegetables from the Garden

Preparation time: 35 min

Cooking time: 70 min

Servings: 4

You will need:

  • 2 peppers
  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 1 egg
  • 5 cups of peeled and diced potatoes
  • ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup of minced basil, marjoram, and thyme
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt 

Instructions:

  1. Boil the eggplant for 20 minutes, the onions for 35 minutes, the zucchini for 10 minutes, and the potatoes for 10 min. Then, drain all the vegetables and cut them in half. Next, let them dry on a clean cloth with their cut side facing down. After that, take some of the inner pulp of the vegetables and chop it. Blend the

potatoes in a blender and then add the vegetable pulp.

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the pulp. Then, chop it and add it to the other vegetables’ pulp. Wash the peppers and cut their tops – to use them as a “hat”. Remove the seeds.
  2. Mix the vegetables’ pulp with the Parmesan cheese, minced herbs, egg, and salt. Fill all the vegetables with the mixture, and sprinkle some extra-virgin olive oil on top. Then, put the peppers in a baking pan and place them in the oven at 210°C/

425°F and, after 15 min, add the onions and the eggplants. After additional 10 min, add the zucchini and tomatoes and let it bake for about 10 minutes more. In order to get a nice, crispy top, turn your oven on broil or two min.

vegetables ferragosto

About the nutrients:

Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, molybdenum, and biotin. They are also a very good source of potassium, copper, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), folate, vitamin B6, phosphorus, niacin, and vitamin E. Zucchini is best known to reduce weight. Plus, it prevents all the diseases that happen from vitamin C deficiency as sclerosis, easy bruising, and scurvy; and it promotes eye health. Zucchini helps to cure asthma and has a high content of protein, fiber, vitamin C, and carbohydrates. Onions are a great health keeper, they can prevent many infections and viruses. Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids and a significant component of the Mediterranean diet. Find more: LINK

  1. Stuffed Peppers with Brown Rice 

Preparation time: 15 min

Cooking time: 1 hour

Servings 4 

You will need:

  • 4 tablespoons parboiled brown rice
  • 4 ounces of black olives- minced
  • 2 big yellow peppers
  • 3 ripe red tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of basil- minced
  • 1 shallot- chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Italian parsley- minced
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Some salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Set the oven at 190°C/380° F. Boil the rice in salted water for 15 min. In the meantime, wash the peppers, remove their seeds, and cut them in half lengthwise. Place the tomatoes in some boiling water for about 2 min, then remove the skin and chop them indelicately.
  2. In a frying pan, add some olive oil and fry the shallot in it; then, add the tomatoes and set on high heat for about 2 min (and keep aside 2 tbsp. that you will use later). Place the rice, parsley, and basil stirring for few minutes. In the end, add salt and pepper and turn off the heat. Finish with the minced olives.
  3. Fill up the peppers with the mixture. Sprinkle some olive oil on a baking pan and place the peppers on it. Then sprinkle the rest of the tomato sauce and olive oil on the peppers and put them in the oven for exactly 45 minutes (covered with aluminum foil). Meanwhile, toast the breadcrumbs in a pot, stirring for few minutes.
  4. Next, on the last 10 min of baking, you should remove the aluminum foil and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. After that, raise the temperature to 210°C / 425° F. È finito! Serve the dish lukewarm to better enjoy the taste.

stuffed peppers ferragosto

About the nutrients:

One thing is clear, brown rice contains numerous heart healthy components, such as antioxidants, minerals, dietary fiber, and lignans. Basil leaves comprise of health benefiting essential oils such as citronellol, eugenol, citral, linalool, terpineol, and limonene. These are potent compounds with incredible anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The herb contains no cholesterol and is very low in calories. Parsley is rich in powerful vitamins, including Vitamin A, aB12, K, and C. This means parsley heals the nervous system, tones your bones, keeps your immune system strong, and supports kidney function, too. Peppers contain the highest amount of Vitamin C, as well as several phytochemicals and carotenoids, principally beta-carotene that lavishes you with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. The capsaicin in peppers has numerous health benefits.

 

Conclusion:

All of these healthy foods are low in calories and can benefit your health. Enjoy our healthy variations of the common stuffed vegetables. Remember: there is no Ferragosto without a cocomerata (watermelon feast)!

Buon appetito!

Buon Ferragosto!

…And if you want to know more about the lifestyle and trips to Italy, visit our friends: http://www.italialiving.com/

 

If you liked our article, please like our Facebook Page.
You can also find us on Google+.

References

Panoramitalia.com    Wikipedia.org    Nhlbi.nih.gov

Image License
 image license  

Add Comment