Woman holding wooden spoon by pot on stove for man to taste.

In this previous post (What is the Mediterranean Diet and Why Should I Try It?), as well as this follow up (10 More Reasons the Mediterranean Diet Can Improve Your Health), you learned what comprises the Mediterranean Diet, and how to fit it into your healthy lifestyle. Now, let's get into the kitchen and start reapinmg those rewards!

How can I get started?

Since this diet is fairly non-restrictive, it’s easy to make the switch to eating Mediterranean-style. However, coming up with recipes can sometimes be challenging, especially if you’re not used to spending much time in the kitchen. Still, since this diet is all about eating whole, unprocessed foods, most Mediterranean diet recipes are fairly simple and easy to follow, even for inexperienced chefs.

These suggested recipes can help get you started on the Mediterranean diet, and will hopefully inspire you to come up with some recipes of your own. Head to the grocery store to grab these ingredients, and see if you can find other similar items to support your new lifestyle. Keep in mind that you should be shopping around the outside edges of the store – avoiding the inside aisles that will be full of processed foods and other junk.

Breakfast

Greek Protein Pancakes (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

1 cup of rolled oats

½ cup of flour

2 Tablespoons of flax seeds

1 teaspoon of baking soda

¼ teaspoon of salt

2 cups of plain Greek yogurt

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons of raw honey

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

+ toppings to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a blender, combine first five ingredients and briefly pulse together for about 30 seconds. Add yogurt, eggs, oil, honey, and cinnamon, and resume blending until smooth.
  2. Leave batter to thicken, which should take around 20 minutes.
  3. Over medium heat, warm a non-stick pan brushed lightly with coconut oil.
  4. Once the pan is hot, ladle about ¼ cup of batter onto the pan.
  5. Cook batter until pancakes look golden brown, with small bubbles forming on the top. This will take about two minutes.
  6. Flip and cook the other side, another two minutes or so.
  7. Place cooked pancakes on a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven as you continue until all batter has been used.
  8. Serve with the toppings of your choice – syrup, nut butter, fresh fruit, whipped cream.

Frittata with Mediterranean Veggies (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

8 eggs, beaten

¼ cup of milk

½ cup of feta cheese, crumbled

½ cup of chopped sun-dried tomatoes

½ cup of sliced black olives

¼ cup of fresh basil, chopped

1 cup of fresh spinach

+ olive oil, for cooking

+ salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat broiler before warming olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic, cooking until onion begins to caramelize.
  3. Beat together egg and milk in a bowl before stirring in feta, sundried tomato, olives, basil, and salt and pepper. Pour mixture over onion and garlic, and reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cook until mixture begins to set. Carefully slide a spatula around the edge of the skillet, lifting frittata to allow the uncooked portion to flow underneath.
  5. When egg is almost cooked, sprinkle on additional olive oil, salt and pepper, and extra fresh basil.
  6. Place skillet in the oven to broil for one to two minutes, just long enough to brown the top. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

Lunch

Quinoa Greek Salad (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

2 cups of water or broth

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 cup of uncooked quinoa

2 large cooked chicken breasts, cubed

1 large red onion, diced

1 large green bell pepper, diced

1 large cucumber, diced

1 large tomato, diced

½ cup of chopped black olives

½ cup of feta cheese, crumbled

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

¼ cup of olive oil

+ salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Bring water or broth to a boil in a saucepan, along with minced garlic.
  2. Add quinoa and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until all the water has been absorbed and quinoa is fully cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add chicken, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, olives, and feta. Mix well, and drizzle with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Stir throroughly.
  4. Serve warm, or refrigerate to serve cold later.

Rustic Mediterranean Panini (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

½ cup of mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

¼ cup of fresh basil, chopped

8 slices of thick whole grain bread

1 small zucchini, sliced

4 slices of provolone cheese

½ cup of roasted red peppers, chopped

8 slices of thick peppered bacon, cooked

+ salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Mix together mayonnaise, olive oil, and basil in a small bowl and spread evenly on four bread slices.
  2. Layer bread with zucchini, provolone, peppers, and bacon.
  3. Top with remaining slices of bread, and coat with remaining mayonnaise mixture.
  4. Cook sandwiches in a non-stick pan over medium heat, flipping once, until bread is crisp and cheese is melted. This should only take about four minutes.
  5. Serve warm.

Dinner

Mustard and Dill Chicken (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)

2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of broth (chicken, beef, or mushroom)

2 teaspoons of flour

2 Tablespoons of fresh dill, chopped

1 lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

2 Tablespoons of spicy mustard

+ salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat some olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Let the oil coat the bottom of the pan before adding the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and sear until thoroughly browned on both sides, approximately three minutes each. Transfer to plate and cover with foil.
  2. Lower heat and add more olive oil, warming it over medium heat. Add garlic and let it brown while whisking together broth, flour, one tablespoon of dill, lemon juice, mustard, and zest in a measuring cup.
  3. Add mixture to pan and whisk briskly until thickened. This should take around five minutes.
  4. Put the chicken back in the pan and reduce heat. Simmer over low heat until chicken is thoroughly cooked, approximately four more minutes. Serve chicken with a side of vegetables or rice, garnished with sauce, remaining dill, and salt and pepper.

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

1 pound of lean ground meat (turkey, chicken, beef)

2 cups of fresh spinach

2 cups of grated zucchini

1 small onion, minced

½ cup of bulghur

1 egg, gently beaten

2 Tablespoons of pesto

½ teaspoon of oregano

4 large red bell peppers, cores and ribs removed

2 cans of stewed tomatoes, chopped

1/3 cup of feta cheese, crumbled

+ salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Use a large bowl to mix together ground meat, spinach, zucchini, onion, bulghur, egg, pesto, oregano, and salt and pepper.
  3. Place peppers inside a baking dish, ensuring they remain standing. Fill each pepper with the meat mixture.
  4. Pour stewed tomatoes over the peppers, and sprinkle generously with crumbled feta.
  5. Cover carefully with foil and bake for half an hour.
  6. Remove cover and bake another 25 minutes, until meat mixture is thoroughly cooked and peppers have softened.
  7. Serve warm with side of rice or vegetables.

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About The Author

Jacky Miller's picture

Jacky Miller is a Registered Dietician based in New Zealand. She specializes in chronic conditions and through diet and lifestyle changes helps her patients improve their health, and lead richer, more fulfilling lives. She writes regularly on health related topics for blogs including MindBodyGreen, Jen Reviews, and The Huffington Post. 

Follow Jacky on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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