17 Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes: A Culinary Journey to Health and Flavor

The Mediterranean diet has earned its reputation as one of the healthiest and most flavorful diets in the world. Inspired by the traditional eating habits of the Mediterranean region, this diet emphasizes fresh, wholesome ingredients that are abundant in the area. With a focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, the Mediterranean diet offers a wide array of delicious recipes that not only nourish the body but also tantalize the taste buds. In this article, we present you with a handpicked selection of 17 best Mediterranean diet recipes, each offering a unique and delightful culinary experience.

1. Greek Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and olives.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine.
  4. Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese over the top.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy the refreshing flavors of Greece!

2. Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella balls
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Arrange the tomato slices on a serving platter.
  2. Place a fresh mozzarella ball on top of each tomato slice.
  3. Tuck a fresh basil leaf between the mozzarella and tomato.
  4. Drizzle balsamic glaze over the salad.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve as a delightful appetizer or light lunch.

3. Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • Water (as needed for desired consistency)

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, tahini, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, ground cumin, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed.
  3. If the hummus is too thick, add water, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt if necessary.
  5. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl, drizzle with extra olive oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of paprika or sumac for garnish.
  6. Serve with pita bread, carrot sticks, or cucumber slices for dipping.

4. Tabbouleh

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place the bulgur wheat in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over it.
  2. Cover the bowl with a lid or plate and let the bulgur sit for about 20 minutes, or until it has absorbed all the water and is tender.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice to make the dressing.
  4. Fluff the bulgur with a fork and add the chopped parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Chill the tabbouleh in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

5. Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 4 large bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, parsley, oregano, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Stuff each bell pepper with the quinoa mixture, pressing down gently to pack the filling.
  5. Place the stuffed peppers in a baking dish and cover with foil.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
  7. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes to brown the tops.
  8. Serve the stuffed peppers hot, garnished with extra fresh herbs if desired.

6. Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.
  2. Season the eggplant slices with salt and let them sit for about 10 minutes to release excess moisture.
  3. Blot the eggplant slices with paper towels to remove the excess moisture.
  4. In a shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, chopped basil, and chopped parsley.
  5. Dredge each eggplant slice in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing down gently to coat both sides.
  6. Place the coated eggplant slices on the prepared baking sheet and lightly spray the tops with olive oil cooking spray.
  7. Bake the eggplant slices for 15-20 minutes or until they are tender and golden brown.
  8. In a separate baking dish, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom.
  9. Arrange half of the baked eggplant slices over the sauce.
  10. Top the eggplant slices with half of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  11. Repeat the layers with the remaining eggplant slices, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
  12. Bake the eggplant Parmesan in the preheated oven for an additional 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  13. Let the dish cool slightly before serving.
  14. Garnish with additional chopped fresh basil and parsley if desired.

7. Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon slices and fresh thyme sprigs for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried oregano, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place the chicken thighs in a large baking dish and pour the lemon-garlic mixture over them.
  4. Use your hands to massage the marinade into the chicken, ensuring it is evenly coated.
  5. Arrange lemon slices over the chicken thighs.
  6. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy and golden brown.
  7. Garnish the roasted chicken with fresh thyme sprigs before serving.

8. Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into strips
  • 2 eggplants, sliced lengthwise into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 red onion, sliced into thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the sliced zucchini, eggplants, bell peppers, and red onion to the bowl and toss to coat the vegetables with the marinade.
  3. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Grill the marinated vegetables for about 4-5 minutes per side or until they are tender and have grill marks.
  5. Transfer the grilled vegetables to a serving platter and drizzle with any remaining marinade.
  6. Serve the grilled Mediterranean vegetables as a delicious side dish or as a component of a Mediterranean-inspired meal.

9. Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (such as Chardonnay)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked whole wheat spaghetti (optional, for serving)

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) to the skillet and sauté for about 1 minute, or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  3. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until they turn pink and opaque.
  4. Pour in the white wine and lemon juice, stirring to deglaze the pan and combine the flavors.
  5. Simmer the shrimp in the sauce for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. Season the shrimp scampi with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Stir in the chopped fresh parsley just before serving.
  8. Serve the shrimp scampi over cooked whole wheat spaghetti, if desired.

10. Baked Cod with Herbs

Ingredients:

  • 4 cod fillets
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges and fresh thyme sprigs for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place the cod fillets in a baking dish and pour the herb marinade over them.
  4. Use your hands to gently rub the marinade into the fish.
  5. Bake the cod in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until it is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
  6. Garnish the baked cod with lemon wedges and fresh thyme sprigs before serving.

11. Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the lentils under cold water and set them aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Stir in the minced garlic, bay leaf, dried thyme, and dried oregano.
  5. Pour in the vegetable broth and diced tomatoes with their juices.
  6. Add the rinsed lentils to the pot and stir to combine all the ingredients.
  7. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  8. Season the lentil soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

12. Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the onions become translucent.
  3. Stir in the diced eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper.
  4. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until they begin to soften.
  5. Pour in the diced tomatoes with their juices and add the dried thyme and dried oregano.
  6. Season the ratatouille with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and let the ratatouille simmer for an additional 20-25 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
  8. Garnish the ratatouille with fresh basil before serving.

13. Greek Moussaka

Ingredients: For the eggplant layer:

  • 2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the meat sauce:

  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: For the eggplant layer:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until they are tender and slightly browned.
  4. Remove the eggplant slices from the oven and set them aside.

For the meat sauce:

  1. In a large skillet, cook the ground lamb or beef over medium heat until it is browned and cooked through.
  2. Stir in the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the onions become translucent.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, dried oregano, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper to the skillet.
  4. Let the meat sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

For the béchamel sauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in the all-purpose flour to create a roux, and cook for about 1-2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
  3. Slowly pour in the whole milk while whisking continuously to avoid lumps.
  4. Cook the béchamel sauce, stirring constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.
  6. Let the béchamel sauce cool slightly, then whisk in the beaten eggs until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assembling the moussaka:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a large baking dish, layer half of the baked eggplant slices on the bottom.
  3. Pour half of the meat sauce over the eggplant layer, spreading it evenly.
  4. Repeat with another layer of eggplant slices and the remaining meat sauce.
  5. Pour the béchamel sauce over the top of the moussaka, spreading it to cover the entire surface.
  6. Bake the moussaka in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
  7. Let the moussaka cool for a few minutes before serving.
  8. Serve the moussaka hot, garnished with fresh parsley if desired.

14. Spanakopita

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the onions become translucent.
  4. Stir in the chopped spinach and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to combine the flavors.
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the spinach mixture cool slightly.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the spinach mixture, crumbled feta cheese, chopped dill, chopped parsley, ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.

Assembling the spanakopita:

  1. Unroll the thawed phyllo pastry and cover it with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out.
  2. Brush a 9×13-inch baking dish with some of the melted butter.
  3. Lay one sheet of phyllo pastry in the baking dish and brush it with melted butter.
  4. Repeat this process with 4 more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with melted butter.
  5. Spread half of the spinach-feta mixture over the layered phyllo sheets.
  6. Layer another 5 sheets of phyllo on top of the spinach-feta mixture, brushing each sheet with melted butter.
  7. Spread the remaining spinach-feta mixture over the second layer of phyllo.
  8. Top the spinach-feta layer with another 5 sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with melted butter.
  9. Trim any excess phyllo from the edges of the baking dish.
  10. Use a sharp knife to score the top layer of phyllo into squares or triangles.
  11. Bake the spanakopita in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy.
  12. Let the spanakopita cool for a few minutes before cutting it along the scored lines.
  13. Serve the spanakopita warm as a delightful appetizer or vegetarian main course.

15. Greek Lemon Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add the potato wedges to the bowl and toss to coat them with the lemon-olive oil mixture.
  4. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Pour any remaining marinade over the potatoes.
  6. Bake the potatoes in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes or until they are tender and golden brown, flipping them halfway through the baking time.
  7. Garnish the Greek lemon potatoes with fresh parsley before serving.

16. Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, grated and squeezed dry
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, grated cucumber, minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, chopped dill, salt, and pepper.
  2. Stir the mixture until well combined.
  3. Refrigerate the tzatziki sauce for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  4. Serve the tzatziki sauce as a refreshing dip for pita bread, grilled meats, or as a topping for Greek dishes.

17. Baklava

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups chopped mixed nuts (such as walnuts, pistachios, and almonds)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Lemon zest for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped nuts, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves.
  3. Unroll the thawed phyllo pastry and cover it with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out.
  4. Brush a 9×13-inch baking dish with some of the melted butter.
  5. Lay one sheet of phyllo pastry in the baking dish and brush it with melted butter.
  6. Repeat this process with 5 more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with melted butter.
  7. Sprinkle a layer of the nut mixture over the layered phyllo sheets.
  8. Layer another 6 sheets of phyllo on top of the nut mixture, brushing each one with melted butter.
  9. Continue to alternate layers of phyllo and nut mixture until all the nuts are used, finishing with a final layer of 6 sheets of phyllo, each one brushed with melted butter.
  10. Use a sharp knife to score the top layer of phyllo into diamond-shaped pieces.
  11. Bake the baklava in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes or until it is golden brown and crispy.
  12. While the baklava is baking, combine the honey, water, and vanilla extract in a saucepan.
  13. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
  14. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the honey syrup cool slightly.
  15. Pour the warm honey syrup over the hot baklava, making sure to evenly coat all the pieces.
  16. Let the baklava cool completely before cutting it along the scored lines.
  17. Garnish the baklava with lemon zest if desired.
  18. Serve the baklava as a delightful and sweet ending to your Mediterranean feast.

Conclusion

The Mediterranean diet offers an abundance of flavors and health benefits that are hard to resist. With these 60+ best Mediterranean diet recipes, you have a diverse selection of dishes that celebrate the natural goodness of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats. From light and refreshing salads to hearty and satisfying main courses, there is something for everyone to enjoy on this culinary journey.

Remember, the key to a successful Mediterranean diet is to focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients and to savor each dish with joy and appreciation. So, why not embark on this delicious and nutritious journey today? Your taste buds and your body will thank you! Bon appétit!

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