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. 

A collage of 9 healthy Mediterranean diet recipes.

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. 

 

A graphic of the Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid.

Food Pyramid

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. 

Baskets filled with various types of olives at a farmers market in Italy. A good example of Mediterranean diet foods.

Mediterranean Diet Food List Staples

Whole Grains

  • Farro
  • Oats 
  • Bulgur wheat 

Bins filled with dried legumes at a farmers market in Italy. I sign reads, "buon legumi"

Legumes 

  • White Beans
  • Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
  • Fava beans 
  • Cranberry beans
  • Black Eyed Peas 
  • Greek giant beans (Gigantes)
  • Lentils 

A beautiful photo fo zucchini and eggplant at a farmers market in Italy.

Vegetables 

  • Cucumber 
  • Bell pepper 
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant 
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin 
  • Green Beans 
  • Mushrooms 
  • Onions 
  • Leeks 
  • Garlic 
  • Fennel 

Greens

  • Spinach 
  • Dandelion greens 
  • Amaranth greens 
  • Collard greens 
  • Grape leaves 

Fruits 

  • Lemons 
  • Grapes

Oil & Vinegar 

  • Olive Oil 
  • Red wine vinegar 
  • Balsamic vinegar 

Nuts & Seeds 

  • Pine nuts 
  • Walnuts 
  • Pistachios 
  • Sesame seed 

Herbs & Spices 

  • Greek oregano
  • Basil 
  • Thyme 
  • Dill 
  • Mint 
  • Sage 

A beautiful outdoor picnic with white wine, cheese, and olives.

Pantry Staples

  • Pasta 
  • Rice 
  • Pita bread 
  • Olives 
  • Capers
  • Sun-dried tomatoes 
  • Canned tomatoes 
  • Tomato paste 
  • Roasted peppers
  • Artichoke hearts 
  • Tahini
  • 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

A beautiful bowl of classic homemade hummus topped with colorful carrots, watermelon radish, and cucumber.

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. 

Overhead photo of a bowl of authentic Italian tomato bruschetta on a white platter with grilled Tuscan bread.

I shot this Authentic Bruschetta recipe in Italy, where I learned how to make it with the best flavor. 

A photo of a delicious Italian farro salad with onions, tomatoes, and basil.

Whole grains are a staple in Mediterranean cooking. This classic Farro Salad is very popular all over Italy. 

A bowl of vegetarian, vegan black eyed peas with spinach and tomatoes.

Mediterranean Black Eyed Peas are stewed with greens and tomatoes for a warm and cozy plant-based meal. 

A close up photo of Italian panzanella salad with bread, tomatoes, capers, cucumber, and herbs.

Panzanella is made with day-old bread, tomatoes, cucumber, and more. A summertime favorite. 

Eggplant parmesan is made with grilled eggplant rounds and homemade pomodoro sauce.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan doesn’t have to be fried and greasy, in fact, it’s traditionally much lighter. 

A beautiful healthy Mediterranean lentil salad with tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta, bell pepper, and green lentils.

This Mediterranean Lentil Salad is colorful and flavor-packed. 

A bowl of authentic traditional Greek salad with feta.

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. 

An overhead photo of Greek lentil soup next to olives, pita bread and wine. A great example of Mediterranean Diet recipes.

Another traditional Greek recipe, Fakes, Greek Lentil Soup, that’s simple, healthy, and delicious. 

Yield: 1 Wrap

Mediterranean Diet Recipes + Wrap

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes

Find over 30 Mediterranean diet recipes in the post! This Mediterranean wrap is a simple, healthy, and delicious way to enjoy Greek flavors and makes an excellent packed lunch.

Mediterranean wraps cut in half filled with greens, tomato, feta, olives, cucumber, and onions.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Working crosswise, spread the hummus over half of the flatbread. A piece of lavash flatbread is covered in hummus and vegetables.
  2. Top the other half with the veggies.
  3. Sprinkle with feta, and season with a little drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Starting at the short end nearest the veggies, roll the lavash up all the way to the other end.
  5. Cut the wrap in half crosswise or into 2-inch slices.

Notes

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