This is the perfect recipe for a relaxed al fresco meal. A tray of colourful roasted vegetables can be prepared in advance and looks wonderful laid out on a large platter. While the vegetables are still warm, pieces of mozzarella can be tucked in between the layers so they begin to melt. A drizzle of pesto can be served over roasted vegetables and a dish of tapenade, a delicious paste made from crushed black olives, adds a finishing touch.
This recipe is the Mediterranean diet on a plate. The colourful Mediterranean-style diet is characterised by a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, fish and extra virgin olive oil. It has been shown to be a template of a diet that supports a healthy gut. 
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 red, yellow and orange peppers, seeds removed and cut into 2cm chunks
- 2 medium aubergines, cut into 2cm chunks
- 2 medium courgettes, cut into 2cm chunks
- 2 red onions, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
- 125g buffalo mozzarella, drained and torn into small pieces
- 130g ready made fresh pesto
- 100g black olive tapenade
- 8 – 10 small, fresh basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 200°C Fan/gas 6. Mix the olive oil with the chopped peppers, aubergines, courgettes, and onions. Tip the vegetables into a large roasting tin then cook for 30 minutes. Check the vegetables after 15 minutes and toss them well so that they can cook evenly. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven when they are soft and just beginning to caramelise.
- Lay the roasted vegetables on a warmed platter. Tuck the torn mozzarella pieces between the warm roasted vegetables and scatter over the basil leaves. Drizzle a little of the pesto over the roasted vegetables serving the rest in a bowl alongside a bowl of tapenade.
Adopting a healthy Mediterranean diet
The good thing about Mediterranean diet-style dishes is they are packed with nutrients that are essential for good health. They are low in calories and high in fibre, which makes them a great option for those who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. The high-fibre content in these vegetables also helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied, so you are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods.
In addition, roasted vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and iron. They are also a good source of antioxidants, which help to protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Alternative serving suggestion
Omit mozzarella and pesto to make this dish vegan
Roasted Mediterranean style vegetables are delicious served with slices of warm focaccia and/or bowls of bulgur wheat or pearled spelt dressed with a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, chopped tomato, red onion and parsley.
- It is important to cook aubergines well. Check they are soft and beginning to be caramelised before taking them out of the oven. Undercooked aubergines give the vegetable a bad name! They are delicious when cooked correctly.
- Mozzarella pearls can be used in this recipe
If you are inspired by this recipe, you’ll find more delightful dishes that are fun to cook and deliver all the goodness of a Mediterranean diet on our Food and Drink channel.
 Nagpal, Ravinder et al. “Gut microbiome-Mediterranean diet interactions in improving host health.” F1000Research vol. 8 699. 21 May. 2019, doi:10.12688/f1000research.18992.1Tags: Courgette, Mediterranean vegetables, mozzarella, pesto, tapenade Last modified: February 10, 2023