From the trendy keto diet, beloved by celebs like Halle Berry, Kourtney Kardashian, and supermodel Adriana Lima, to the restrictive Whole 30 diet, which has garnered something of a cult following for its elimination method, parsing all the nutritional philosophies out there is intimidating enough to make you want to cling to a bowl of kale and turn a blind eye to dietary concepts entirely. Fortunately, science has simplified things a bit: The Mediterranean diet is good for you.
Leading health organizations including the Mayo Clinic say that the Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan, and studies have shown that consuming a Mediterranean diet may help with weight loss, and help fight cognitive decline. The diet, which calls for plenty of olive oil; nuts; beans; vegetables; whole grains; and fish, also prioritizes sharing meals with family and friends, allows for a glass or two of red wine, and includes regular physical activity. Convinced to add a few Mediterranean diet-inspired recipes to your arsenal?
Keep scrolling for 45 vegetable-packed, whole grain-filled, olive oil–drenched recipes to keep in rotation.
The Ingredients: Made with chickpeas, oats, and a blend of herbs and spices like parsley, cumin, and cayenne pepper, this falafel recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod is a legume and grains-based powerhouse.
The Pro Tip: When pulsing chickpeas in a blender, stop every so often to scrape down the sides, writes Two Peas & Their Pod.
The Clincher: Although these bite-size morsels are delicious on their own, a side of creamy hummus or tahini (follow the accompanying recipe provided by Two Peas & Their Pod) take them to the next level.
Salmon Souvlaki Bowl
The Ingredients: This Greek-inspired souvlaki bowl recipe from Half Baked Harvest is packed with whole grains, healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and veggies like red bell peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes.
The Pro Tip: If you can't find farro, you can substitute quinoa or brown rice, says Half Baked Harvest, "But I personally love couscous or farro…very Mediterranean."
The Clincher: Topped with feta cheese crumbles, these bowls are too good not to make on a weekly basis.
Watermelon Arugula Salad
The Ingredients: Juicy watermelon, crunchy cucumber, and salty feta lend Mediterranean flavor (and health benefits) to this simple summer salad from The Butter Half.
The Pro Tip: According to The Butter Half, "This watermelon summer salad only takes about 10 minutes to prep, and even quicker if you keep pre-chopped watermelon and cucumbers stored in your refrigerator."
The Clincher: A generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar balances out the sweetness of the watermelon and ties everything together.
Sheet Pan Chicken Souvlaki With Potatoes
The Ingredients: Chicken simply seasoned with herbs like dill, oregano, and paprika are roasted with thickly sliced red bell peppers and potatoes in this Greek-inspired recipe from Half Baked Harvest.
The Pro Tip: "Roast the chicken and potatoes together so that the potatoes cook-up in all the yummy juices from the chicken, making them that much more delicious," advises Half Baked Harvest.
The Clincher: A mixture of crumbled feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and Kalamata olives are all tossed in the pan before serving.
Mediterranean Roasted Red Pepper Pizza
The Ingredients: A drizzle of olive oil takes the place of traditional tomato sauce in this pizza recipe, featuring red bell peppers and Kalamata olives, from Half Baked Harvest.
The Pro Tip: "The key here is to slice [the red bell peppers] very thin so that they get really roasted and begin to char," advises Half Baked Harvest.
The Clincher: The homemade pizza dough is worth the extra time to make if you can spare it; Half Baked Harvest links to the recipe in her post.
Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin
The Ingredients: Every once in a while, meat (which sits at the top of the Mediterranean diet food pyramid, indicating we should eat it less often, compared to whole grains, fruits, veggies, and seafood) makes it onto the menu, and we gravitate toward comforting recipes like Platings and Pairing's sous vide pork tenderloin recipe.
The Pro Tip: Try not to cook the meat for more than 4 hours, as it can "lose texture and become mushy," writes Platings and Pairings.
The Clincher: Fresh thyme and a few pats of butter (in addition to salt and pepper) are all that's needed to season the pork.
Harissa Chickpea Bowl With Potatoes, Lemon Tahini & Greens
The Ingredients: Nutty tahini, earthy chickpeas, and hearty potatoes steal the spotlight in this spicy harissa bowl recipe from The First Mess.
The Pro Tip: "I like to make the tahini sauce first, so that I have it out of the way, and also the flavors get to marry a bit," confesses The First Mess. "You could fix it up while the potatoes roast if you prefer."
The Clincher: The freshly squeezed lemon juice brightens up the entire dish and adds a burst of flavor to the nutty tahini dressing.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto With Millet
The Ingredients: Millet, a whole grain, and meaty mushrooms make this risotto recipe from Cotter Crunch nutrient dense and satisfying.
The Pro Tip: Make this recipe in a slow cooker as an option. "Cook on high for 1 hour 30 minutes or low for 2-3 hours, or until millet is tender and liquid is absorbed," writes Cotter Crunch.
The Clincher: Fresh parsley, and a little bit of Parmesan cheese complete this dish.
Lentil Greek Salad With Dill Sauce
The Ingredients: Black lentils, canned tuna, and a host of veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives comprise Pinch of Yum's Greek salad with dill sauce recipe.
The Pro Tip: Go for extra add-ins like feta, dill, red onion, and sun dried tomatoes, Pinch of Yum recommends.
The Clincher: An easy dill sauce recipe of Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, and dill tie this recipe up in a delicious, well-balanced bow.
Orange Vanilla Protein Overnight Oats
The Ingredients: Grains and fruits makes for a filling, naturally sweetened breakfast in Cotter Crunch's overnight oats recipe.
The Pro Tip: Add collagen peptides for a protein and amino acids boost; Cotter Crunch uses Further Foods.
The Clincher: Fresh mint or thyme as garnish adds refreshment.
The Ingredients: Seafood marinated in olive oil and lime, and veggies makes The Modern Proper's shrimp fajitas recipe Mediterranean diet-worthy.
The Pro Tip: Serve immediately with warm tortillas, avocado, and cilantro for garnish.
The Clincher: This easy weeknight meal comes together in less than 20 minutes.
Balsamic Salmon With Strawberry Salsa
The Ingredients: Roasted salmon and a fruity salsa make Life As A Strawberry's easy balsamic salmon recipe Mediterranean diet-friendly.
The Pro Tip: "If you’re using out-of-season strawberries without as much flavor, you can dial back the lime juice a bit or even add a small drizzle of honey to bring out the natural sweetness of the berries," advises Life As A Strawberry.
The Clincher: The strawberry and jalapeño salsa is spicy and sweet.
Mediterranean-Style Fish in Parchment
The Ingredients: Fish mingles with fresh and zesty ingredients like tomatoes, olives, lemon, and parsley in Marisa Moore's Mediterranean-style fish in parchment recipe.
The Pro Tip: "Go with cod, sole, or salmon," recommends Moore. If you choose sole, "Keep in mind that it’s typically cut into thinner fillets – it’s less dense compared to cod," Moore adds, meaning you may need to shave a few minutes off the cooking time. Halibut would also work well.
The Clincher: This recipe comes together in 20 minutes, and also satisfies keto, paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free diet preferences.
Smoky Chickpeas With Spinach
The Ingredients: Mediterranean diet guidelines recommend basing every meal around veggies, grains, beans, and seeds, like this smoky chickpeas with spinach recipe from Marisa Moore.
The Pro Tip: Don't skip the smoked paprika, advises Moore. "It's critical to the flavor of this simple dish."
The Clincher: The time it takes to cook this easy, healthy, and budget-friendly meal clocks in at an impressive 10 minutes.
Vegan Pumpkin Lentil Curry With Spinach
The Ingredients: Spiced lentils cook in coconut milk and are loaded with spinach in this Mediterranean diet-approved lentil curry recipe from Marisa Moore.
The Pro Tip: If you want less coconut flavor, add your own water instead of buying light coconut milk. "Canned light coconut milk is the same thing. You literally pay for half a can of water. So yeah. Skip that and add your own water," recommends Moore.
The Clincher: We love the option to light up this dish with fiery habanero peppers, red chili flakes, or other hot peppers. We're also fans of the crunchy cashew, and herby cilantro garnish.
Baked Salmon Cakes
The Ingredients: Within the Mediterranean diet, fish and seafood should be eaten at least twice per week. Making Marisa Moore's recipe for baked salmon cakes is a quick and nutritious way to help meet this recommendation.
The Pro Tip: "Canned salmon is a convenient and affordable way to get protein and omega-3s, which are important for heart health and provide a host of other benefits," writes Moore, who is also a registered dietitian.
The Clincher: These baked salmon cakes are flavored with garlic powder and dijon mustard instead of salt.
White Bean Chili With Jackfruit
The Ingredients: This nutrient dense, plant-based chili recipe from Feasting at Home features beans, jackfruit, corn, kale, and loads of spices (think: Chili powder, cumin, coriander).
The Pro Tip: Feasting at Home writes that while you can remove the jackfruit's core before cooking, you could leave it in if you slice the jackfruit thin enough.
The Clincher: For extra flavor and texture pop, we're not skimping on garnishes like avocado, cilantro, grated radish, scallions, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Citrus Salad With Dates and Pistachios
The Ingredients: Nourishing citrus meets nuts and mint in Feasting at Home's Moroccan-inspired citrus salad recipe.
The Pro Tip: Add crumbled goat cheese, as an option.
The Clincher: A citrus vinaigrette pulls everything together.
Moroccan Lentil Salad
The Ingredients: Lentils (plus nuts and herbs, and aromatic spices like cumin, cinnamon, and clove) make Feasting at Home's Moroccan salad recipe a legume-forward, and therefore Mediterranean diet-friendly recipe.
The Pro Tip: Add a pinch or two of red chili flakes for spicy kick.
The Clincher: Dried apricots add a hint of sweetness to otherwise savory ingredients.
Peruvian Burritos With Aji Verde Sauce (Vegan Adaptable)
The Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, black beans, and quinoa, along with a host of spices are conveniently wrapped up in Feasting at Home's burrito with aji verde sauce recipe.
The Pro Tip: "If making bowls instead of burritos, I would double the beans for 4-6 people," writes Feasting at Home.
The Clincher: The aji verde sauce (cashew, garlic, jalapeño, lime, cilantro), which is Peruvian-inspired, fits the diet parameters by featuring lots of nuts and herbs.
Cantaloupe Salad With Mint, Lime, and Pepitas
The Ingredients: Fresh produce, herbs, and seeds make up Feasting at Home's cantaloupe salad recipe.
The Pro Tip: To pick the perfect cantaloupe, "Be sure to look for the creamy beige color under the 'netting' and give them a sniff," advises Feasting at Home. A sweet, musky smell should permeate the rind, she adds.
The Clincher: Pepitas adds texture, while jalapeño adds heat.
Spring Minestrone Soup With Pistachio Parsley Gremolata
The Ingredients: Salt & Wind's minestrone soup recipe gets a seasonal spin with spring veggies including zucchini, sweet peas, and fava beans.
The Pro Tip: Can't find fava beans? "You can use frozen lima beans and add them to the soup at the same time as the peas," writes Salt & Wind.
The Clincher: The gremolata—crushed pistachios, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil.
Roasted Squash and Pepita Pesto Dip
The Ingredients: Salt & Wind's squash and pepita pesto dip recipe is full of Mediterranean diet-approved vegetables and seeds, and herbs like parsley and sage.
The Pro Tip: Make this recipe up to five days ahead; just be sure to store in an airtight container.
The Clincher: Its versatility—serve with warm or cool vegetables, crackers, or root vegetable chips, for example.
Seared Salmon and Cilantro-Cashew Whole Grain Bowl
The Ingredients: Fish (salmon), herbs, and whole grains are pretty much Mediterranean diet gold. Make Salt & Wind's seared salmon and whole grain bowl recipe for an easy weeknight meal.
The Pro Tip: The cilantro-cashew puree can be made up to 2 days in advance.
The Clincher: We love that the leftover puree is versatile enough to use elsewhere, like on toasts and sandwiches, per Salt & Wind's recommendation.
Citrus Scallops En Papillote With Herb Emulsion
The Ingredients: Scallops and loads of herbs like dill, cilantro, and chives star in Salt & Wind's citrus scallops en papillote recipe.
The Pro Tip: Be sure to seal the parchment well to allow the steam to help cook the scallops.
The Clincher: Fennel and ginger add aroma and flavor to this seafood dish.
Baked Orzo With Feta and Spinach
The Ingredients: Orzo (a grain, which you can opt for whole wheat), spinach, tomatoes, and crumbled feta make up Le Petit Eats's recipe for baked orzo.
The Pro Tip: "You can transform this into a one pot meal by tossing in some shrimp just before transferring it to the oven," writes Le Petit Eats, though, "You may need to adjust the baking time by a few minutes to ensure that the shrimp is fully cooked."
The Clincher: Freshly chopped oregano for garnish keeps the dish bright.
Lemongrass Curry Spaghetti Squash
The Ingredients: A veggie base (spaghetti squash) hosts plant-based protein like peanuts and chickpeas in Le Petit Eats's lemongrass curry spaghetti squash recipe.
The Pro Tip: "Make sure not to burn the garlic in the first step. It should not brown at all or your curry sauce might taste a bit bitter," writes Le Petit Eats.
The Clincher: Fish sauce, fresh lemongrass, and lime zest make the curry sauce deliciously complex and multi-dimensional.
Brown Rice Sushi Hand Rolls With Mushroom and Asparagus
The Ingredients: Le Petit Eats's plant-forward recipe combines whole grains (brown rice), mushrooms, and asparagus as part of her sushi hand rolls recipe.
The Pro Tip: Opt for sprouted brown rice. "Once cooked, it’s sweeter and more delicate than ordinary brown rice, and a little less chewy," writes Le Petit Eats.
The Clincher: A light drizzle of truffle oil, and chopped chives for garnish brings elevated flair.
Cauliflower Tabouleh With Almond Tahini Sauce
The Ingredients: Cauliflower subs in for traditional grains in Le Petit Eats's tabouleh with almond tahini sauce recipe. Just add vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes, plus herbs like parsley and mint.
The Pro Tip: For something extra, add pomegranate arils and chickpeas.
The Clincher: The almond tahini sauce—almond butter, tahini, lemon juice, minced garlic, unsweetened almond milk.
Harissa Honey Glazed Shrimp Skewers on the Grill
The Ingredients: This shrimp skewers recipe from Le Petit Eats partially satisfies the Mediterranean diet's twice per week minimum seafood recommendation. Grilled shrimp meets a bed of Israeli couscous salad that includes mint, plums, cherries, and cucumber.
The Pro Tip: Make sure there's plenty of lime on hand to finish the dish.
The Clincher: The harissa paste and honey glaze add a peppery and sweet flavor profile that pairs nicely with the shrimp's char.
Red Wine Lamb Burgers With Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onions
The Ingredients: On occasion, we're making Platings and Pairing's lamb burgers with red wine reduction, caramelized onions, and goat cheese. According to the Mediterranean diet food pyramid, red meat can be included, just 'less often.'
The Pro Tip: Pile with extra arugula to get your serving of greens. And opt to use leftover red wine to make a sangria to pair with your burgers.
The Clincher: The goat cheese and caramelized onions combo—it's tangy and slightly sweet.
Mediterranean Sweet Potato Tray Bake
The Ingredients: Sweet potato, kale, and chickpeas cook up in one sheet pan in Happy Veggie Kitchen's sweet potato tray bake recipe.
The Pro Tip: Spread out the ingredients in the biggest sheet pan you have, Happy Veggie Kitchen recommends. "If you have too much overlap with your kale and chickpea mixture, the kale may steam more than roast and end up less crisp or require a little more cooking time."
The Clincher: Capers, olives, and lemon add just enough acid to balance out the sweet potatoes. A basil yogurt sauce completes the dish.
Steak With Balsamic Shallot Pan Sauce
The Ingredients: According to Mediterranean diet guidelines, red meat is totally cool to eat, on occasion. When that occasion strikes, we're making Peace Love and Low Carb's balsamic mustard steak recipe.
The Pro Tip: Let steaks rest on a plate covered in foil while you make the sauce, or keep them in the oven on low, recommends Peace Love and Low Carb.
The Clincher: Other than the perfect sear, the sauce—shallots, balsamic vinegar, spicy brown mustard—is key to round, umami flavor.
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Over Hummus
The Ingredients: A simple combo of hummus (made from chickpeas, tahini, and flavored with garlic, lemon juice) and cauliflower make this a plant-powered, Mediterranean diet-approved dish, thanks to this recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon.
The Pro Tip: Don't skip the fresh herbs for garnish—mint, parsley, as well as lemon zest, and red pepper flakes.
The Clincher: Roasted cauliflower is dressed in cumin, paprika, coriander, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes, which means you likely won't need a lot of salt as seasoning.
Tuna Stuffed Avocados With Cilantro Lime Dressing
The Ingredients: Fish (tuna) and good fats (avocado) are the base of The Butter Half's stuffed avocado recipe, which also features a cilantro lime dressing.
The Pro Tip: Lighten this recipe up and use hummus in place of mayonnaise, and feel free to make a double batch of dressing for other salads or grains bowls throughout the week, writes The Butter Half.
The Clincher: Minced garlic, cilantro, and lime help make a super tasty dressing.
Fresh Kale Apple Salad With Wild Rice
The Ingredients: Wild rice (a whole grain), fruits (apple), and vegetables including kale, cucumbers, and a sprinkle of feta cheese for extra flavor make up this fresh salad recipe from The Butter Half.
The Pro Tip: Serve immediately, with your favorite roll of bread (go whole grain if possible) on the side, recommends The Butter Half.
The Clincher: That all it takes is to chop everything up and mix in with a bit of sweet onion dressing makes this recipe a go-to, quick weekday lunch option.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad With Chicken
The Ingredients: Whole grains like quinoa, and veggies including red peppers, olives, cucumbers, and herbs like parsley all check the Mediterranean diet boxes. The Butter Half's quinoa salad recipe also includes chicken for additional protein.
The Pro Tip: "For vegan or vegetarian option, omit chicken and substitute with roasted chickpeas," recommends The Butter Half.
The Clincher: A bit of feta cheese adds creamy tang.
Dutch Oven Potatoes and Pinto Beans Stew
The Ingredients: Beans makes a regular appearance in the Mediterranean diet, and this stew recipe from Afrovitalityeats.
The Pro Tip: Afrovitality Eats says to add more habaneros to this recipe if you're craving heat.
The Clincher: Loads of spices and fresh herbs (like ginger, basil, and parsley) liven up this dish.
The Ingredients: A medley of summer vegetables including eggplant, squash, zucchini, and bell peppers simmer in a tomato-based broth to make Love & Lemons' ratatouille recipe.
The Pro Tip: Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the stew "for extra body and richness," Love & Lemons recommends.
The Clincher: Fresh herbs like thyme, basil, and/or oregano elevate this dish.
Easy Greens and Grains Bowl
The Ingredients: Vegetables (kale, greens, carrots, mushrooms) and rice (opt for whole grain variety to make it Mediterranean diet-friendly) make up this greens and grains bowl recipe from Eating Bird Food.
The Pro Tip: "Be sure to use grains that are cooked or 'instant' because with this recipe we’re just throwing the rice in at the end and heating the mixture until warm," recommends Eating Bird Food.
The Clincher: Crushed red pepper and sriracha offer customizable heat.
Lentil Stew With Kale
The Ingredients: Legumes (in this case, lentils), and kale are the main ingredients in this vegetable stew recipe from Eating Bird Food.
The Pro Tip: Top with parmesan, avocado, and fresh basil for garnish.
The Clincher: Turmeric, basil, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon are all-natural ways to add dynamic flavor to this stew.
Tuna Stuffed Bell Peppers
The Ingredients: Eating Bird Food's stuffed bell peppers recipe features tuna (Fish and seafood is recommended as part of the Mediterranean diet at least 2 times per week), and vegetables like mushrooms, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and heart healthy extra virgin olive oil.
The Pro Tip: "If you’d prefer crunchy peppers, feel free to skip the broiling step," writes Eating Bird Food.
The Clincher: Seasonings like dried parsley, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper adds lots of flavor.
Vegetable Beef Soup
The Ingredients: Beef (red meat on occasion is Mediterranean diet-friendly), and vegetables including carrots, potatoes, and peas star in Kim's Cravings' vegetable beef soup recipe.
The Pro Tip: Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs.
The Clincher: Dried thyme and bay leaf add aromatic dimension to this soup.
Chickpea Pancakes With Harissa Yogurt Sauce
The Ingredients: Chickpea flour, herbs, and olive oil are all you need to make Cotter Crunch's savory pancake recipe.
The Pro Tip: Garlic lovers will want to add minced garlic to this pancake recipe, recommends Cotter Crunch.
The Clincher: A peppery harissa yogurt sauce (harissa paste, yogurt of your choice, olive oil) adds creaminess to its savory flavor profile.
Summer Fruit Salad
The Mediterranean Ingredients: Fruits are a major component of the Mediterranean diet, and this fruit salad recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats is an easy, and naturally sweet way to top off a meal.
The Pro Tip: Garnish with mint for refreshing contrast.
The Clincher: No cooking required—just your chopping skills, and sweet, seasonal fruit like mango, kiwi, blueberries, and raspberries.