10 Healthy Mediterranean Style Recipes for You to Try

Med MarketIf you think a healthy diet has to be boring to be effective, think again!! Let me rephrase that, your taste buds do not have to suffer for your health’s sake!

The Mediterranean-style of eating has been shown to be extremely healthy, and it’s also one that’s varied and delicious.

In fact, many studies have shown that the closer people follow the Mediterranean-style diet, the less likely they are to die from either heart disease or cancer.

So, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet made up of?

  • Lots of plant-based foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes
  • Moderate amounts of fish, and poultry, with little red meat
  • Olive oil as one of the main fat sources
  • Low or moderate amounts of dairy produce
  • Also, an active lifestyle

So, given the evidence in favour of this eating style, I thought a few healthy Mediterranean recipes would be helpful.

Here are 10 Mediterranean-inspired recipes for you to try

#1 Mediterranean Breakfast Plate

Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients:

4 large tomatoes, cut in wedges
200g cucumber, cut in chunks
100g reduced fat feta cheese, cut in thin slices
9 black olives
2 teaspoons olive oil
Freshly chopped marjoram, to sprinkle
Freshly ground black pepper, to sprinkle
6 slices oat, soy and linseed bread to serve

Method:

  1. Arrange the tomatoes, cucumber, cheese and olives on a serving plate.
  2. Sprinkle with olive oil, marjoram and pepper, and serve with the bread.

Recipe source

#2 Mediterranean Breakfast Pita

This recipe could also be used as a light meal suitable for any time of the day.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup egg substitute
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 small tomato, chopped
1/2 cup torn fresh baby spinach
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
2 wholegrain pita bread (6 inches)
2 tablespoons crumbled reduced fat feta cheese

Method:

  1. In a small non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook the red pepper and onion over medium heat starting to brown. Add egg substitute and pepper; cook over medium heat until eggs are completely set, stirring occasionally.
  2. Combine the tomato, spinach and basil, and spoon into the pita bread. Top with the egg mixture and sprinkle with feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Recipe source – with edits

#3 Chunky Mediterranean Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1/4 medium eggplant, chopped into chunks
2 small Zucchinis, chopped into chunks
3 medium tomatoes, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
Handful green beans, chopped into chunks
3 small celery sticks, chopped into chunks
3 medium carrots, sliced into rounds
Large pinch dried parsley
Ground black pepper
Water

Method:

  1. First place the onions and tomatoes into a large pan with a little water and boil on 5 minutes. Now add celery, carrots and green beans, adding more water to the pan (enough to cover the vegetables). Bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.
  2. Then add pepper to taste, and a large pinch of dried parsley. Stir well.
  3. Next add your chopped eggplant and zucchini. It will look like you need to add more water but you should not have too (the vegetables you are adding here turn into water once they start to cook). Stir well again, bring to the boil with a lid on, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Recipe source

#4 Roasted Vegetable Salad

This Mediterranean inspired salad is ideal for a healthy mid-week meal served with crusty wholegrain bread, and some grilled fresh fish for a deliciously healthy meal.

If you’re a bit pushed for time, prepare the day before and keep fresh in your fridge for the following evening.

Prep time: about 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Marinating time: 4 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1 red pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 2-inch squares
1 yellow pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 2-inch squares
4 baby zucchini, halved lengthways
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 canned anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lay the eggplant slices in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Arrange the red and yellow peppers and zucchini around the eggplant, placing them cut sides up.
  2. Brush the vegetables lightly with the oil, then scatter the garlic, anchovies (if using) and chopped rosemary over the vegetables, adding pepper to taste. Roast the vegetables for 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Cover the vegetables with foil and roast until they are tender (about 10 to 15 minutes). Transfer the cooked vegetables to a large dish and drizzle the cooking juices over them.
  4. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the vegetables. Cover and leave to cool completely, then put the vegetable salad in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours.
  5. Remove the salad from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving so it can return to cool room temperature if desired. Garnish with sprigs of rosemary.

Recipe source – with edits

#5 Chickpea and Carrot Bulgur Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 8 (as side dish)

Ingredients:

150g bulgur wheat, rinsed
100g carrots, thinly sliced, or grated
Bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced diagonally
410g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
40g fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped

Method:

  1. Put the bulgur wheat into a pan, pour over 400ml boiling water and place over a medium heat. Simmer, then reduce the heat and cook gently for 10-15 minutes, until just softened. Drain, cool under running water and drain again. Put in a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice by hand, or grate the carrots. Add to the bowl with the spring onions and chickpeas. Mix together well.
  3. Whisk the oil and lemon juice together. Toss through the salad with the parsley just before serving.

Recipe source

#6 Mediterranean Vegetables with Tahini Dressing

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 Aubergine
1 red pepper, seeds removed and cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, seeds removed and cut into strips
3 courgettes, cut into rounds
1 red onion, cut into half moons
6 tomatoes, peeled and quartered
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoon ground cumin,
2 teaspoon harissa, or other hot condiment
Ground black pepper
150ml plain yoghurt
150ml tahini
2 lemons, juice only
4 tablespoons water,
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Coriander

Method:

  1. For the vegetables preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5.
  2. Put the aubergine, peppers, courgettes, red onion and tomatoes into a large roasting pan in a single layer.
  3. Mix the oil, vinegar, cumin and harissa together. Pour over the vegetables and season well with freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Stir the vegetables round to make sure they are all coated. Roast for 40 minutes or or until the vegetables are tender and slightly charred.
  5. For the dressing beat the yoghurt into the tahini using a fork and add the lemon juice, water, olive oil and garlic. Taste and season with pepper if required. You may also want to add a little more water or olive oil to thin the mixture.
  6. Once cooked, arrange the vegetables on a large platter. Leave at room temperature if you are serving within a couple of hours, or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving. Drizzle with the dressing, scatter with the coriander and serve.

Recipe source

#7 Mediterranean Chicken

This is a wonderful fibre-rich recipe with a host of heart healthy ingredients, and it’s so easy to cook. If you don’t have a Dutch oven simply use a large pot with a lid.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 serving pieces, skin removed
1/4 cup flour
Bulb fennel (1 1/2 pounds), trimmed and sliced
4 cloves garlic, slivered
1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon each rosemary, thyme, and pepper
1 can (19 ounces) white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 pound green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In the Dutch oven (or large pot), heat the oil over a medium-high temperature. Dredge the chicken in flour, and sauté until golden (about 4 minutes per side). Transfer to plate.
  3. Add the fennel to your pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook stirring often, until fennel is golden (about 7 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the broth, lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil, and finally add the chicken back into the pot, cover, and place in the oven.
  4. Bake until chicken is done (about 35 minutes). Stir in kidney beans and green beans, and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Recipe source – with edits

#8 Seafood Couscous Paella

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 (1 1/2 cups each)

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of crumbled saffron threads
1 cup no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with juice
1/4 cup vegetable broth
4 ounces bay scallops, tough muscle removed
4 ounces small shrimp (41-50 per pound), peeled and deveined
1/2 cup whole-wheat couscous

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, fennel seed, salt, pepper and saffron and cook for 20 seconds.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and broth, bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium, stir in scallops, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Add shrimp, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes more. Stir in couscous.
  4. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff before serving.

Recipe source

#9 Seared Tuna with Bean and Olive Salad

For best results use fresh tuna steaks for this dish. They’re not only delicious, but you’ll also get a good dose of healthy omega-3s, which are missing in tinned tuna.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients:

410g can cannellini beans
1 finely sliced small red onion
2 finely sliced celery sticks
French dressing
Bag of rocket leaves
3 fresh tuna steaks
Black olives

Method:

  1. Drain and rinse cannellini beans and put them into a bowl. Add red onion and celery sticks, drizzle with a little French dressing and season well. Divide a bag of rocket between 3 plates and spoon the bean mix over the leaves.
  2. Brush tuna steaks with olive oil and fry on a griddle for 2-3 minutes each side. Place the tuna on top of each salad and scatter a few black olives onto each plate to serve.

Recipe source

#10 Sardines with Courgettes and Yellow Pepper

Why don’t we eat more fresh sardines? There’s simply no excuse – they’re tasty, inexpensive, and full of healthy omega-3s. Hopefully this recipe will restore your faith in these lovely little fish!

You can serve this dish warm, or make it in advance to serve with a leafy salad. But, if you don’t like dealing with fresh fish, tinned sardines are also acceptable.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

12 fresh sardines, scaled and filleted
4 tablespoons flour, seasoned with a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 dried chilli, deseeded and sliced (optional)
2 yellow peppers, de seeded and diced
3 small or medium courgettes, sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Small handful of fresh, small basil, oregano, marjoram or mint leaves

Method:

  1. Dust the sardine fillets in the flour. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wide frying pan, when it’s just smoking, fry half the sardines for no longer than 1 minute on either side. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  2. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the remaining sardines the same way. Set aside with the others. Heat the rest of the oil. Add the garlic and chilli and reduce the heat. Add the peppers, and cook gently until the peppers are soft and starting to brown. This may take 15 minutes, so watch them. Once soft, add the courgettes and cook until soft and starting to brown.
  3. Meanwhile, make a dressing with the lemon juice, oil and herbs. Take the cooked vegetables off the heat and mix with the dressing. To serve, lay the fish on a large plate and scatter the vegetables over them. Bulk it up with olives, anchovies or capers for a real Mediterranean feast.

Recipe source – with edits

Check out my previous article Mediterranean eating in five easy steps.

Photo: Market in Santorini by Mary

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Parker, M.D. May 14, 2009 at 1:39 am

Wow! My first time here.
Thanks for spreading the word about the healthy Mediterranean diet. I seem to detect increasing interest in it in Europe and Great Britain. And with good reason. I look forward to returning when time allows to read your advice on diabetic-style eating since I’m trying to devise a “diabetic Mediterranean diet.” Or has it already been done?

-Steve

Steve Parker, M.D.’s last blog post..High- vs Low-Protein Weight-Loss Diet in Type 2 Diabetes

Reply

Melanie May 15, 2009 at 3:06 am

Hi Steve,
Great to hear from you. I honestly don’t know if there already is a Mediterranean diet for diabetes, best wishes with that anyway.

Reply

Judy Kelly October 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Love to try these recipes as I think the Mediterranean Diet is one of the healthiest for most people. I talk about it on my site so I can link back to here so that my readers can get more information. Thanks for putting these up for us.
.-= Judy Kelly´s last blog ..How to Start the Mediterranean Recipes Diet =-.

Reply

Melanie October 12, 2009 at 6:37 am

Hi Judy,
Thanks for you comment.

Reply

Jamie October 29, 2009 at 3:12 am

Your articles are always so amazing and insightful! I studied Dietetics and I feel I get more from your articles than I got in my classes. You are AMAZING! Thank you!

Reply

uytrumonnwua March 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm

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