Mediterranean food has long been one of the most remarkable staples of great cuisine. If you want to eat something unique and delicious, you can try out the Mediterranean style of cooking.
Some people who are on a keto diet can opt for Mediterranean diet recipes by altering the carbohydrate content in these dishes. Moreover, others also love to indulge in Mediterranean cuisine because of the nutrient benefits that plant-based ingredients provide. These dishes are not only healthy, they are also flavorful and mouth-watering.
Whether you want to create a Mediterranean diet plan or simply wish to cook your own at home, this list provides the best Mediterranean recipes that will fill you up and leave you wanting more.
What is Mediterranean Food?
The Mediterranean definition is derived from the Latin word ‘mediterraneus’ which means inland. This word consists of the words ‘medius’ — or middle — and ‘terra’ — or land. Today, the Mediterranean meaning refers to the people or places dwelling near the Mediterranean Sea.
Iconic Mediterranean dishes hail from distinct Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, and more. Due to its various country origins, Mediterranean food offers diverse flavors. Despite their assorted tastes, people similarly prepare Mediterranean dishes with plant-based ingredients. A Mediterranean diet shopping list typically includes vegetables, fruits, beans, spices, nuts, grains, and other plant-based food. If you want the health benefits of these ingredients, you can try curating a Mediterranean diet 30 day meal plan.
If you can’t travel to Meditteranean countries anytime soon, you can still bring their flavorful dishes into your home. After all, the key aspect in a Mediterranean is none other than its fresh ingredients. Herbs and spices also allow for an explosion of flavors that you can savor in every bite. With their wide range of flavors and ingredients, you won’t have enough of these delectable Mediterranean meals.
Mediterranean Food Recipes from the Middle East
There are a lot of easy Mediterranean diet recipes from Israel and other neighboring areas such as Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. Notably, chickpeas are the main ingredients of these dishes. They are rich in various minerals and fiber that help improve digestion and manage weight. Mediterranean foods from the Middle East are also filled with plant-based ingredients, fish, and whole grains. These dishes have meat ingredients, as well.
Some of the best Mediterranean dishes with a touch of the distinct Middle Eastern cooking culture include:
This is one of the best Mediterranean diet meals you can try at home. Chickpea salad is made from chickpeas, which are rich in protein and fiber. These legumes can be a plant-based alternative to meat as a source of protein.
Chickpea salad also contains other healthy ingredients such as tomatoes, parsley, onions, bell peppers, and cucumbers. You can also mix other fruits or vegetables, too. Other people like to add various spices or seasonings such as olive oil, paprika, and lime juice to give the salad even more flavor.
If you’re interested in this meal’s nutrient benefits and delicious taste, then try out this chopped chickpea salad recipe at home.
Many Mediterranean restaurants serve hummus as a side dish or dip. Hummus is a mix of fresh ingredients such as chickpeas, lime juice, olive oil, and garlic. It might look bland, but this dip offers more than its appearance.
When blended well, chickpeas turn deliciously creamy. They also become more flavorful as you mix in some tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice. Garlic gives the dip a pungent kick that completes the taste. While these are the basic components of hummus, you can still opt for other spices and ingredients to give the dish a more personal touch.
One of the staples of traditional Middle Eastern cuisine is falafel. It is a deep-fried, molded ball or patty made from ground fava beans or chickpeas. While many people eat it as is, others serve falafel in flatbreads or pita sandwiches.
Aside from ground chickpeas or fava beans, people also add various herbs and spices to give falafel more flavor. Falafel’s plant-based ingredients make it a great addition to your Mediterranean diet menu if you plan to make one.
Falafel is an excellent choice if you enjoy unique street food. Indeed, many people buy and eat this Mediterranean dish along the streets of various Middle Eastern countries. You can try this delicious dish at home by making this easy authentic falafel recipe today.
Italian Mediterranean Foods
Mediterranean cuisine also embodies the distinct culture and unique cooking style of Italy. Some Italian countries such as Liguria, Sicily, and Campania are home to the best Italian Mediterranean dishes that both locals and tourists enjoy. Italy also boasts of its fresh and flavorful Mediterranean fish and seafood meals.
Mediterranean food from Italy includes various dishes such as pasta, pizza, and more. These dishes usually contain fresh fruits, vegetables, and even seafood ingredients. Instead of butter, Italian Mediterranean meals typically use olive oil.
Bring the iconic Italian flavors and culture into the comforts of your home with these easy Mediterranean recipes:
Italian stuffed eggplants can be a great addition to your Mediterranean meal plan. The moist, tender feel of this eggplant dish on your tongue is one you’ll crave for days. Fresh ingredients such as parsley, red bell pepper, basil, and tomatoes also make this Mediterranean dish healthy. Various toppings such as pecorino Romano cheese, olive oil, and even garlic can also give stuffed eggplants a more pungent taste. Some people also like to serve their stuffed eggplants with toasted bread crumbs to complement the eggplant’s succulent texture.
Of course, a Mediterranean food list won’t be complete without the Italian specialty: pizza. Veggie pizza is one of the best Mediterranean meals. Also, it’s worth noting that Pizza Cottage is one of the well-known Mediterranean restaurants that specialize in and serve this dish. Their veggie pizza includes Roma tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, green peppers, onions, olives, and Provolone cheese.
Many people usually alter their veggie pizza toppings to fit their preferences or specific cravings. You can also try playing around with the ingredients’ proportions and add different veggie toppings. Through these, you can make your own recipe and amaze your loved ones at your next dinner gathering.
Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables
One of the must-try Mediterranean recipes is roasted Mediterranean vegetables. Roasting veggies can be a great way to spice up your typical dinner meal. This Mediterranean dish is often served alongside main course dishes such as chicken or grilled pork. However, you can also serve them as they are for a hearty, vegetarian meal.
If you wish to make the best roasted Mediterranean vegetables, make sure that your healthy veggies do not pile over each other. If you heat them as they overlap, you won’t be able to achieve the perfect roasted texture that the recipe aims for. You should also occasionally flip them as they bake. Doing this will help evenly roast all of your vegetables’ sides.
Among the Mediterranean breakfast staples are sandwiches. In Italy, both locals and tourists enjoy indulging in a classic Italian sub called Caprese sandwich. A Caprese sandwich is typically made with fresh Italian tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, balsamic seasoning, and basil.
While people might think that it is an ordinary sub, this Italian sandwich is rich with flavor and is packed with nutritional benefits. Indeed, Caprese sandwiches are definitely among the best Mediterranean diet breakfast recipes that people around the world truly enjoy.
If you are looking for easy Mediterranean diet recipes for beginners, you can try whipping up a Caesar salad recipe at home. Caesar salad mainly has romaine lettuce and crispy croutons. These are usually topped with lime juice, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, black pepper, and cheese.
Lots of restaurants serve this dish, one of which is Osmows. This modern Mediterranean restaurant has over 95 branches in Canada. Aside from Osmows, even other non-Mediterranean food establishments also serve caesar salad, as it is a highly-recognized and favored dish all over the world.
The Best Mediterranean Food from Spain
While Spain embodies a rich historical culture, it is also home to the most amazing Mediterranean diet meals. Traditional dishes are also cultivated in various Spanish regions such as Valencia, Andalusia, and Basque. Additionally, Spanish Mediterranean meals are still made from fresh ingredients like fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.
If you plan to eat and try Spanish Mediterranean diet meals, here are some recipes you can whip up at home:
Spanish lentil stew is an appetizing soup typically made from brown, black, yellow, or red lentils. Some prepare their lentil stew with husked or de-husked lentils. If you want to make your soup even thicker, taking out the lentils’ husks can do the trick.
Depending on the cook’s preference, this Mediterranean food can have only plant-based ingredients or with some meat. If you wish to try out this dish with a little more kick, you can make your own Mediterranean spicy spinach lentil soup for lunch or dinner. Making this can also be a great way to try something new in the kitchen.
Without a doubt, paella is one of the most recognized Mediterranean dishes from Spain—and rightfully so. Many people love Paella’s hearty, filling ingredients that usually include rice, chicken, chorizo, shrimp, squid, mussels, and sausages. The herbs, spices, and seasonings also make this Spanish meal even more appetizing and tasty.
Although this dish sounds complex, it is still quite easy to make. Try out this easy seafood paella recipe to get a taste of Spain’s distinct food culture.
The Best Mediterranean Food from Turkey and Greece
Greece and Turkey are known not only for their distinct cultures but also for their remarkable cooking styles. True enough, many people visit these countries for their rich history and traditional dishes that make for a memorable and worthwhile vacation trip.
Turkish cuisine usually includes ingredients such as rice, fish, meat, and vegetables. The country is also known for its notable dishes such as baklava and kebab. On the other hand, Greek cuisine typically uses wine, olive oil, grains, vegetables, fish, and meat.
Some of the best Greek and Turkish Mediterranean food recipes include:
The simple greek Pita recipe is one of the most popular Mediterranean dishes. You can make this at home using Greek Pita bread. Furthemore, you can pair your Pita bread with wine, salad, and even creamy hummus. Others prefer filling their Greek Pitas with roasted meat, just like this delicious Greek Steak Pitas Recipe.
If you wish to go for healthy ingredients, you can always opt for olive oil seasonings, feta cheese, or oregano and onion toppings. Though a Greek Pita is easy to prepare, this does not discount the taste and enjoyment you can get from every bite.
The delectable baklava is a traditional dessert pastry from Turkey. Baklava has dough layers that are laid out in large baking pans. Like most Turkish desserts, baklava also includes hazelnuts or walnuts. However, you can experiment and add other ground nuts such as pistachio or almond. If you want to try making this dessert at home, you can check out this simple Baklava recipe for any occasion.
One of the best Mediterranean diet breakfast recipes is Shakshuka. Although many people prefer serving Shakshuka as a breakfast dish, you can still enjoy it at any time of the day.
Shakshuka is made from fresh ingredients such as poached eggs, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and various spices. It is easy to prepare, making it perfect for people who are always on-the-go. If you want to try this filling and healthy dish, then this foolproof Shakshuka recipe is for you.
French Meditteranean Dinner Recipes
France is the heart of many extraordinary and world-renowned dishes. French cuisine is usually prepared with excellent wines, fresh seafood, and flavorful herbs. Notably, a lot of Provençal dishes have various aromatic plants and spices such as thyme, oregano, and rosemary.
By using the freshest ingredients, you can make the best French Mediterranean dishes. For those located near New Jersey, fresh seafood ingredients can be easily found at Metropolitan Seafood. You can also acquire various herbs and wines from most commercial centers or stores.
Some of the best French Mediterranean recipes that people love include:
If you are fond of watching Disney movies on Disney + and other streaming platforms, then you might have come across the famous Pixar movie, Ratatouille. A French stew of the same name inspired this film’s title.
Ratatouille has fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, bell peppers, and squash. Chefs also use olive oil for this dish. Its flavors are blended well because the fresh ingredients are thoroughly simmered. If you want to experience this dish’s delicious flavors and succulent vegetables, you can refer to this best ratatouille recipe to follow in your kitchen.
A Marseille-made dish that lots of people enjoy is Bouillabaisse. This is a traditional French stew that has various sea ingredients such as fish, squid, and shellfish. People add flavor to Bouillabaisse by using lots of garnishes such as onion, olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, and others. Some versions of this complex soup also include other ingredients such as crabs and lobsters. If you have already tasted Bouillabaisse before, you can try to spice it up by literally adding red pepper. This makes for a great French soup that is perfect for rainy days.
You don’t need to travel abroad just to get a taste of the best Mediterranean food. With this guide, you can choose from various recipes to get a taste of the Mediterranean style of cooking at your own time and place. To get the full Mediterranean cruise experience, you can invite your loved ones for dinner and share a bottle of wine, too. Delicious and hearty, Mediterranean food is great to enjoy both by yourself and with other people.