60+ Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes
Nov 10, 2023
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Mediterranean diet recipes embrace vibrant foods that are rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats. With a focus on plant-based ingredients and all sorts of seafood, these easy and healthy meals will have you feeling good from the inside out!
Table of contents
- The Mediterranean Lifestyle
- Top 10 Mediterranean Recipes
- Breakfast Mediterranean Recipes
- Mediterranean Recipes With Legumes
- Healthy Mediterranean Diet Snacks
- Fresh Mediterranean Salad Ideas
- Vegetarian Mediterranean Recipes
- Mediterranean Recipes with Fish
- Mediterranean Chicken Recipes and More
- How To Build Delicious Mediterranean Bowls
The Mediterranean Lifestyle
There’s a reason why many of us gravitate towards a coastal lifestyle. Not only does it connect us with our natural environment, but the temperate climate allows us to enjoy the simple things in life. In the realm of food, that means getting back to basics and putting fresh, easy, and wholesome ingredients first.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because that’s what Downshiftology is all about! And in fact, many of the recipes below were inspired by my travels, enjoying Mediterranean cuisine. Here are a few key components of Mediterranean recipes:
- Load up on veggies and fruits. You know I’m always trying to sneak in more greens! Veggies and fruits are nutrient dense, loaded with fiber, great for digestion, and full of anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Opt for more fish and lighter meat. Fresh fish provides healthy omega-3 fatty acids and a variety of vitamins. And chicken is rich in protein that’s good for bones and heart health. The key here is to keep a good balance, with the goal of incorporating more seafood into your weekly meals.
- Embrace legumes and grains. These plant-based options are full of fiber, protein, and as you might imagine, they’re quite filling. Plus, there’s so many creative ways to cook and eat them!
- Savor every minute of it. This lifestyle calls for slowing things down and enjoying time with friends and family at the dinner table. It encourages you to eat at a slower pace, appreciate each bite, and tune in to your body and avoid overeating.
Top 10 Mediterranean Recipes
While I’ve got a bunch of Mediterranean recipes on this website, I wanted to highlight right away the top 10 recipes that I make over and over. These are not only my personal favorites, but also reader favorites as well!
Falafel: These little balls of chickpea goodness are a staple in Mediterranean cuisine. And my recipe has a little something extra which makes them the best! Just don’t forget to drizzle them with my homemade tahini sauce.
Shrimp Scampi: It doesn’t get any easier than this one-pan shrimp scampi that can be topped on virtually anything.
Chicken Piccata: Chicken breasts are seared until golden and simmered in a lemon butter sauce with capers. It’s bright, flavorful, and simple to make.
Best Hummus Recipe: A Mediterranean must-have for almost any meal. Dip it, spread it, or dollop it — this creamy blend of chickpeas is extremely versatile!
Caprese Salad: Ripe tomatoes and creamy mozzarella make for a simple, yet elegant salad that stands the test of time. And if you’re an avocado lover like me – this avocado caprese salad is a summer favorite.
Greek Sheet Pan Chicken: This is hands down a number one favorite dinner recipe (that’s why I put it in my cookbook!). Juicy, herby, and lemony chicken thighs are roasted along with simple, wholesome Mediterranean veggies.
Mediterranean Lentil Soup: Lentils are a mighty source of protein and work beautifully in a variety of soups — especially in this one with a smoky, savory flavor.
Baba Ganoush: Roasted eggplant makes for a creamy, smoky, and insanely scrumptious dip. This recipe will have you grabbing vegetable sticks to dip in it!
Breakfast Mediterranean Recipes
Loading up with vegetables and good-for-you proteins is highly encouraged, especially at breakfast. And the good news — there’s an endless array of satiating breakfast ideas to choose from.
Green Shakshuka: This healthy green spin on the classic dish is a great way to make use of leftover veggies in your fridge, such as Brussels sprouts, spinach, and zucchini. And when it’s butternut squash season, this orange shakshuka is a no-brainer.
Easy Oatmeal Recipe: Oats are a welcomed whole grain in the Mediterranean diet. So here’s your chance to create sweet and savory oatmeal bowls for a hearty and filling breakfast.
Overnight Oats: Besides oatmeal, overnight oats are great to enjoy during the warmer months. Plus, they’re endlessly customizable and can be prepped in advance!
Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash: Turn your average breakfast hash into a colorful, nutrient-dense one that goes beyond just using white potatoes.
Breakfast Egg Muffins: Incorporate your favorite vegetables and proteins into the most delicious, on-the-go breakfast option (that’s perfectly portioned).
Smoked Salmon Frittata: Salmon for breakfast is always a smart idea, and weaving it into a frittata couldn’t be more delicious.
Chia Pudding: Whether it’s for breakfast or a light snack, chia pudding is a great way to get a delicious dose of fiber.
Sweet Potato Toast: Upgrade your “avocado toast” with sweet potato as the base, and top it off with a poached egg, spinach, avocado, and a sprinkle of black pepper.
Mediterranean Recipes With Legumes
You’d be surprised what you can do with a bag of lentils or a can of chickpeas. Sure, you can toss them into salads for an extra source of protein. But did you know you can bake them into a flatbread or blend them into a hummus?
Mediterranean Chickpea Salad: Chickpeas are the star of this dish, accompanied by fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, feta cheese, and a zesty lemon vinaigrette. For a roasted version — you’ll love this roasted chickpea salad!
Falafel Flatbread: If you’re looking to get extra creative, bake blended chickpeas and herbs into a delicious flatbread! And for another flatbread idea, use chickpea flour to make this nutty and herby socca.
Lentil Salad: Lentils and diced cucumber work wonders to create a crisp, refreshing side salad.
Healthy Mediterranean Diet Snacks
In between meals, fruits, nuts, and fresh cut veggies are ideal when you want something to nibble on. You can also pair veggie sticks with creamy and flavorful dips to make them that much more enjoyable.
Green Goddess Hummus: This recipe loads a classic hummus with fresh herbs and veggies. The more greens the better!
Roasted Beet Hummus With Basil Pesto: Roasted beets turns your average hummus into a vibrant red dip that’s so flavorful and aesthetically pleasing.
Roasted Cauliflower Hummus: If you can’t eat chickpeas, roasted cauliflower does wonders to create a veggie-heavy, creamy hummus dip.
Kale Chips: When you’re craving something salty and crunchy, these kale chips are a healthy way to satisfy those cravings.
Smoked Salmon, Avocado, And Cucumber Bites: Replace crackers with cucumber slices for these fresh and fun bites (that also have a dose of protein).
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: For a hummus that’s slightly smoky and oh so flavorful – you can count on roasted red peppers.
Fresh Mediterranean Salad Ideas
It goes without saying that salads are an easy way to toss together fresh ingredients. Just grab some of your favorite greens, fruits, and even seafood. Then tie it all together with the best homemade sauces and dressings for a flavor-packed, satisfying meal.
Nicoise Salad: Experience a taste of the French Riviera with this classic Nicoise salad! It’s perfect for summertime entertaining. But also for a weekly meal prep salad.
Tuna, Cucumber, Mozzarella Salad: After enjoying this simple, yet oh-so-delicious salad in Italy, I had to recreate it here.
Salmon Salad: This flaky salmon salad with crunchy celery, red onion, and radishes has a delicious bite to it.
Salmon Avocado Salad: Pan-seared salmon is layered on top of spinach, avocado, tomatoes, and red onions for a salad that’s big on nutrients and flavor.
Tomato Avocado Salad: This salad is great for a simple, throw-together side dish that doesn’t require any tossing.
Israeli Salad: A simple combo of diced tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, and fresh herbs goes a long way.
Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh: Instead of using bulgur, I’ve swapped in cauliflower rice for a gluten-free option (without sacrificing flavor).
Shrimp, Asparagus, and Avocado Salad: When asparagus is in season, whip up this creamy, filling salad dotted with shrimp.
Vegetarian Mediterranean Recipes
From leafy greens to root vegetables, all types of vegetables are welcome in your weekly meals. Just don’t forget to utilize spices and aromatics to take each dish to the next level.
Zucchini Noodle Caprese: When you combine zucchini noodles with your favorite caprese salad, you get a new dish that’s veggie heavy.
Spaghetti Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Crispy Shallots: Treat this as a side dish or top it off with a poached egg to make it a full meal.
Sauteed Cabbage: You’ll be surprised at how flavorful caramelized cabbage becomes when you sauté it with onions and garlic.
Warm Sweet Potato Noodles, Cabbage, and Lentil Salad: Aside from zucchini noodles, I love spiralizing sweet potatoes into this warm and hearty salad that’s ultra filling.
Sweet Potato Soup: Rich, savory, and creamy, this roasted sweet potato soup is a must for cooler weather days. And if you come across butternut squash, this roasted butternut squash soup is a winter favorite.
Baked Sweet Potato: The beauty of a baked sweet potato is that it’s great as a side dish on it’s own. But you can also stuff it with veggies, legumes, and shredded chicken, plus a drizzle of tzatziki sauce for a meal in itself.
Beet Soup: If you love beets, this vibrant, savory, heart-healthy soup is loaded with nutrients.
Mediterranean Recipes with Fish
As I mentioned earlier, fish is the go-to protein when eating Mediterranean food. From salmon recipes to tuna to cod, there’s so many delicious options to choose from. Bonus, fish is a no-fuss ingredient when it comes to cooking (hello 30 minute or less meals!).
Best Baked Cod: With the help of garlic, butter, and lemon, cod is baked into a perfectly flaky fish every time.
Mediterranean Cod en Papillote: Nothing is more fresh, easy, and delicious than cod steamed (en papillote) with simple veggies and fruits.
Poached Salmon: It’s all about the simple poaching liquid infused with herbs, shallots and a splash of wine. Then let the salmon cook on low for 20 minutes, and you’ll have super tender results!
Baked Tuna Meatballs: You best believe that your canned tuna can be transformed into the most delicious, savory meatballs.
Garlic Grilled Shrimp Skewers: Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, these grilled shrimp skewers are easy to make and marinated with the best garlic herb mixture.
Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce: Sweet and tangy, these juicy scallops only take 10 minutes to make!
Tuna Salad: This classic comfort food is one to keep up your sleeve for busy weeknights. It’s crisp and creamy and works well in many meals.
Salmon Patties: Need to switch up your salmon routine? Whip up these delicious salmon patties that are also freezer-friendly.
Cucumber Melon Gazpacho With Ginger Shrimp: When you take a bite of the warm ginger shrimp and cooling soup at the same time, you’ll know just how good this is.
Mediterranean Chicken Recipes and More
When you’re in the mood for meat, opt for lighter options such as chicken, turkey, or duck. Then grill, toss, or mix those with fresh vegetables, and herbs for amazing flavor.
One Pan Chicken and Rice: Featuring bright and citrusy Mediterranean flavors, this one-pan meal results in the juiciest chicken and fluffiest rice.
Greek Chicken Kabobs: Drenched in the flavors of Greece, these chicken kabobs are easy to whip up and loaded with colorful vegetables in between.
Greek Avgolemono Soup: This Greek lemon chicken and rice soup is all sorts of healthy and cozy – with a Mediterranean flair.
Ultimate Chicken Salad: Enjoy simple diced chicken with crisp celery, green onion, fresh grapes, and a creamy dijon mayonnaise sauce.
Roasted Balsamic Chicken With Brussels Sprouts: Oh boy are you going to love the balsamic glaze on these chicken thighs and sprouts.
Chicken Soup: This soup is comfort food in a bowl. It’s healing, cozy and a great way to combine your chicken and veggies.
Mediterranean Ground Beef Stir Fry: This healthy, veggie-packed stir fry is what quick and easy dinners are all about.
Pork and Fennel Meatballs: You can eat these savory meatballs on their own, with a side of sauteed veggies, or toss them into a zoodle pasta.
Rosemary Grilled Lamb Chops: For a delectable meal, these grilled lamb chops are so tender and appetizing!
How To Build Delicious Mediterranean Bowls
When you have leftover odds and ends, build a Mediterranean bowl! Start with a base of grains or leafy greens. Pile on fresh or roasted vegetables, chickpeas, falafels, nuts, seeds or olives. Then add a dollop of your favorite hummus blend or a drizzle of tzatziki sauce. Here are a few tasty ideas for added colors and textures.
Fresh Greens: Diced cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, avocado or bell pepper.
If you make any of these delicious Mediterranean recipes, let me know how they turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
60+ Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes
- Add a slice of tomato to a plate, then add a slice of mozzarella on top. Then continue alternating slices of tomato and mozzarella.
- Place fresh basil leaves in between the layers.
- Drizzle olive oil and balsamic glaze over the entire salad.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then serve immediately!
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Roundup originally published December 2020, but updated to include new recipes and information for your benefit!