Mediterranean Diet Recipes
The Mediterranean Diet is healthy, fresh, and delicious! Let’s take a look at the best Mediterranean Diet recipes, food pyramid, and food list to get you started in the kitchen.
There are around 1000 recipes here on the site, and the majority of them are Mediterranean-inspired. Perhaps that’s because the first cooking classes I took were while living in Italy in college, or because I just love the fresh and flavorful Mediterranean ingredients that work so well with a plant-based lifestyle, or maybe it’s my part-Greek heritage.
Either way, I’m excited to share what this diet is all about, a traditional Mediterranean diet food list to add to your grocery list, what the food pyramid looks like, and over 30 of my very favorite recipes! I know you’ll love these flavors too, so I’ve included a simple wrap recipe at the end.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
While there are certain foods that we identify as distinctly Mediterranean, there are actually 20 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, from southern Europe to northern Africa. With such a large area, there are similarities, but also many differences. Even within these countries themselves, there can be great variation. For example, the food popular in northern Italy is different from that in Sicily. The countries that come to mind for most people when talking about Mediterranean food include Greece, Italy, Spain, France, and Turkey.
Mediterranean cuisine is based on fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared simply. It’s naturally plant-focused, with an emphasis on locally grown fresh produce, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, olives, and olive oil. While animal products are not avoided entirely, they are also not the focus. There is a newer offshoot called “Green Mediterranean”, which is 100% plant-based Mediterranean.
In many traditional Mediterranean communities families grow their own vegetables, and supplement them with local goat or sheep’s milk cheese, olive oil, and grains. The story of how the traditional Greek Salad came to be is a perfect example.
The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world, and certainly much healthier than the average American diet. Two of the 5 Blue Zones are based on the Mediterranean Diet: Sardinia, Italy, and Ikaria, Greece.
Though liked to heart health and longevity, diet is only one element of this lifestyle. Daily physical activity, such as walking, cycling, or working in the garden, as well as a sense of community and family, is perhaps just as important.
The Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid is a helpful visual for understanding this lifestyle. As you can see, meats and desserts are very limited, while fresh produce, whole grains, legumes, pasta, and nuts make up the bulk of the nutrition.
Mediterranean Diet Food List Staples
- Bulgur wheat
- White Beans
- Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
- Fava beans
- Cranberry beans
- Black Eyed Peas
- Greek giant beans (Gigantes)
- Bell pepper
- Green Beans
- Dandelion greens
- Amaranth greens
- Collard greens
- Grape leaves
Oil & Vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
Nuts & Seeds
- Pine nuts
- Sesame seed
Herbs & Spices
- Greek oregano
- Pita bread
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Canned tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Roasted peppers
- Artichoke hearts
- Wine (Use my affiliate link for Dry Farm Wine to get pure, natural wines. You’ll earn an extra bottle for 1 cent with the first order! )
Mediterranean Diet Recipes
Classic Hummus is a great way to use dried chickpeas. I cook them in the Instant Pot. This recipe makes the smoothest creamy hummus ever.
I shot this Authentic Bruschetta recipe in Italy, where I learned how to make it with the best flavor.
Whole grains are a staple in Mediterranean cooking. This classic Farro Salad is very popular all over Italy.
Mediterranean Black Eyed Peas are stewed with greens and tomatoes for a warm and cozy plant-based meal.
Panzanella is made with day-old bread, tomatoes, cucumber, and more. A summertime favorite.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan doesn’t have to be fried and greasy, in fact, it’s traditionally much lighter.
This Mediterranean Lentil Salad is colorful and flavor-packed.
Traditional Greek Village Salad, Horiatiki Salata in Greek, is as simple as it gets but absolutely delicious and can be found on every Greek menu.
Another traditional Greek recipe, Fakes, Greek Lentil Soup, that’s simple, healthy, and delicious.
- Quinoa Stuffed Baked Tomatoes
- Baked Pita Chips
- Tabbouleh with Quinoa
- Easy Vegetarian Gyros
- Classic Falafel
- Labneh Dip
- Pesto alla Genovese
- Fresh Tomato Marinara
- Classic Pizza Dough
- Lemon Tahini Salad Dressing
- Pastina Soup
- Italian Vegetable Soup
- Lemony Lentil Soup
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Greek Chickpea Salad
- Mushroom Risotto
- Kale Salad with Tomatoes and Orzo
- Grilled Halloumi Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Orzo Salad
- Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Herby Lemon Quinoa Salad
- Mediterranean Freekeh Salad
- Mediterranean Sheet Pan Meal
- 1 piece lavash flatbread (or pita)
- 3 tablespoons hummus
- 1 1/2 cups baby greens
- 1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
- 5 pitted Kalamata Olives, halved
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese (I used Violife)
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Working crosswise, spread the hummus over half of the flatbread.
- Top the other half with the veggies.
- Sprinkle with feta, and season with a little drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Starting at the short end nearest the veggies, roll the lavash up all the way to the other end.
- Cut the wrap in half crosswise or into 2-inch slices.
This wrap is super adaptable! Some other tasty fillings include chickpeas, Balela salad, tabbouleh, roasted red peppers, or tahini sauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 wrap
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 18gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 12g