Simply Healthy Family: A Perfect Mediterranean Tapas Table for Back Yard Entertaining


A Perfect Mediterranean Tapas Table for Back Yard Entertaining

“I received free pistachio samples from the Pistachio Health Institute mentioned in this post. By posting this pairing I am entering a contest sponsored by Pistachio Health Institute and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Would somebody please explain to me why I do this again?

Look at me, I'm the lady with 4 kids, 1 part time job, volunteer at a preschool and grade school, has had a bad cold for 3 days and hasn't had a pedicure in months maniac who thinks its fun to try and pull together a nice Mediterranean tapas table and then photograph it in peace and solitude.


I even allotted plenty of time, early in the day for once to do this thing put together a post and it still was a struggle.  Pllleeeeasssee  tell me the pictures aren't blurry, lopsided and soaked with Sauvignon Blanc after I knocked the bottle over twice! {Alcohol abuse!}

I had one sick (faker) child home from school and one very obstinate and needy 4year old princess at my toes while attempting to organize my thoughts and this table. The sky was a very unusually overcast grey at 2:00 in the afternoon here in Phoenix and so I had to lug all of my props and junk outdoors.

Aaaaaaaand it's crazy windy out. In Phoenix. In January. Seriously?

Dill weed does not do well in the wind, nor do pistachio shells, napkins or one empty bottle of Sauvignon Blanc  (errrr, it's empty for a reason my friends).

But, Alas, it's ok because in all honesty and sincerity I love doing this. I love food, obviously and prepping it, cooking it and mostly making it all look pretty. Well, a close second to eating actually. I'm not ashamed. 

This English cuk turned out to be a beautiful, crunchy vessel in which to spread some herbed goat cheese and smoked Norwegian Salmon on top of along with some dill and chives.

Actually, this post is all about food pairings and wine of course. How to choose and pair simple foods to make a lovely and most importantly, palatable tapas, in Spain or a Meze in Greece spread.

As a member of the Recipe Redux team we were asked by the Pistachio Health Institute to put together a group of foods or snacks that paired well with in shell pistachios. Pistachios are one of my all time favorite snacks and I almost always have a container of them in my car and locker at work. Why do I keep a bag of them in the shell instead of the more conveniently shelled variety? One, they are much cheaper than the shelled variety and two, it takes a bit more work to take them out of the shell one by one and therefor I enjoy savor them and don't consume a bucket full as I do when I scoop them out of the bag by the handful.

People who consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41 percent fewer calories than those who consumed pistachios without shells.

Research continues to show that nuts offer good nutritional value and cardio-supportive benefits. Because of their fiber, fat, and protein content, pistachios are also considered to be a satiating snack. All nuts, however, are not created equal. Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie, lowest fat nuts and offering more nuts per serving compared to any other snack nut.

I decided to go the Mediterranean route with my In shell Pistachio pairing. The Mediterranean diet varies as it involves many different countries from Greece to Spain but typically it consists mainly of fish, whole fruits and vegetables, cheeses, olive oils,  nuts and grains. And wine of course.

Ultimately, I chose a simple, yet very satisfying arrangement of smoked salmon on seedless cucumber with goat cheese rolled in fine herbs and one in garlic. This was the savory component of the small meal. The in shell pistachios of course were the salty component but also make a nice snacking center piece since people will tend to gather round and unshell them one by one as they pop them into their mouths and wash them down with a bubbly Sauvignon Blanc.

Then of course, we had to have a sweet treat to round out the table. The Mediterranean diet involves dried fruits such as dates, figs and apricots and so I made up a batch of healthy, home made almond, oat and flax thumbprint cookies and spooned apricot preserves in the middle a little immodestly.

And to wash it all down? A heavier, balanced, slightly fruity Sauvignon Blanc. I chose one that is a bit sturdier than most Sauvignon Blancs so it would stand up to the smoked salmon, earthy pistachios and nutty cookies. I poured in some club soda to make it crisp and bubbly on the tongue.
 I was born to be a Sommelier!

The Tapas Menu

Herbed Goat Cheese & Smoked Salmon with Dill & Chives on English Cucumbers

In Shell, Salted Pistachios and Dried Apricots

Almond and Oat Thumbprint Cookies with Apricot Preserves

 Sauvignon Blanc Spritzer


    An InLinkz Link-up



  1. OK - these photos are lovely and extra impressive knowing the craziness of your life behind them - (funny how sensitive one is to wind once you have to take food photos outside!) Love all the foods (and wine) you brought to this pairing!

  2. Your combination of foods and drink are some of my favorites. Love the combination. And, I agree with Deanna. Your photos came out great - given all the challenges you had.

  3. I love that I can imagine the dill blowing in the breeze! Looks amazing, I would like to join you at this tapas party!

  4. Love your tapas menu and your pics!

  5. I am impressed with your tapas table! They look amazing.

  6. Oh boy, the whole menu looks and sounds great, especially the herbed goat cheese & smoked salmon cucumbers - I love things like that. Kisses, lovely.

  7. My favorite wine is featured. That was enough to make me read the rest! Yum!

  8. Those cookies sound very tempting! Great pairings!

  9. Wow this looks like a delicious pairing. I absolutely love smoked salmon so that is a win in my heart!

    xoxo Sarah Grace,
    Fresh Fit N Healthy.

  10. Are you kidding me... your photos are beautiful! I especially love the 3-photo dip tic at the bottom of the post. The colors and textures are fantastic. It's a great paring!

    Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits

  11. I think your tapas table looks awesome!! It has pretty much all my favorite things on it.

  12. the thumbprint cookies sound delicious!

  13. The blog has offered the great knowledge I really enjoyed a lot by reading this.
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  14. This is a great recipe. One of my daughters is a picky eater and I will definitely think of this next time. :) Hope you are having a wonderful.

    Bonbons Maken & Sushi Workshop


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