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15 Easy Mediterranean Recipes

Easy Mediterranean Recipes

15 Easy Mediterranean Recipes

Cooking healthy delicious food shouldn’t be difficult. In our busy lives, we often need a quick meal that’s filling, nutritious, and, of course, delicious. I’ve always been amazed at how simple Mediterranean cooking is. With extra virgin olive oil as the base for almost every dish, it is the driving force behind all Mediterranean cooking. It adds flavor, healthy fat, nutrients, and is the vehicle for other ingredients. Combine a high-quality extra virgin olive oil with the freshest ingredients available to you, and you can make easy Mediterranean recipes.

I tried to include a variety of different foods in this list that also happen to be some of our favorite recipes. From dips, to salads, to soups and stews, to grilling recipes, there is a recipe for everyone here. You’ll also be happy to find gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and other recipes where dietary considerations come into play. There are so many vegetarian and vegan recipes in Mediterranean cooking and I’ve tried to feature some here like Horta and Potatoes, Grilled Marinated Summer Vegetables, Spinach with Feta and Lemon, and Ziti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Eggplant.

There is much more than just vegetable recipes though. Check out the Chicken Souvlaki, Chicken Leek Soup, and Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes for meat and seafood recipes. This list wouldn’t be complete without a couple of good bean recipes. Black Eyed Beans with Herbs and Tuscan White Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale are the two bean recipes I’ve been loving lately.

Enjoy these easy Mediterranean recipes and if you decide to make one, please leave a comment and let me know your experience.

I decided not to include any Instant Pot or Slow Cooker recipes in this list even though I love those cookers for easy recipes. If you’re looking for Mediterranean Instant Pot recipes you can check out some of our Instant Pot recipes here.

1. Loaded Tzatziki Yogurt Sauce with Fresh Dill, Garlic, and Cucumber

Loaded Tzatziki

Last time we were in Crete, my wife made me promise to stop ordering so much Tzatziki.  It seriously became a problem, but that’s how much I love it (she loves it too!).  The creamy Greek yogurt (the highest fat possible), grated cucumbers, chopped fresh dill, garlic and olive oil create an irresistible and very healthy sauce that is great on fritters, bread, vegetables, burgers, and souvlaki just to name a few.  Every chef has their own version of tzatziki, some are mild and some are potent with garlic and dill.  This is the loaded version, loaded with flavor that is!

Recipe by Bill Bradley R.D.

Recipe Here!

 

2. Authentic Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salata)

Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Authentic Greek Salad

In 2014, I visited Greece for the first time.  I had waited my entire life to eat real  Greek food seeing that I’m half Greek.  I was also hoping to collect some authentic Mediterranean Diet recipes.

I arrived in Athens and was set to go on a study tour throughout the country. I got to my hotel and the study group was waiting for me to go to dinner together. I put my luggage in my room and we walked through the busy streets to a traditional Greek taverna. The waiter brought us bread with extra virgin olive oil to dip. The oil was so good. Then he brought the greek salad. This was a moment I will never forget. I took one bite of a red, juicy tomato slice and I thought to myself “What have I been eating my whole life?!” This was the sweetest, most flavorful, deep red, and beefy tomato I had ever sunk my teeth into.

Recipe by George Zikos

Recipe Here!

 

3. Spinach with Feta and Lemon

Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Spinach with Feta and Lemon

If you are looking for a super quick Mediterranean Diet side dish recipe that will satisfy everyone then you have come to the right place!  Spinach with feta and lemon takes about 10 minutes to make, is ridiculously delicious and will go with just about any main dish whether it’s chicken, fish, meat or beans.  Serve this with warm, crusty bread for sopping up the olive oil and pot liquor.

Recipe by Koula Barydakis

Recipe Here!

 

4. Horta and Potatoes

horta and potatoes ladera

Horta and potatoes are a Mediterranean diet recipe eaten every day in Crete. In the springtime, it’s a normal sight to see the older ladies of the village foraging on the side of the road for wild edible greens.

All year long there are a wide variety of edible greens available at the farmer’s markets. Potatoes are a staple in the Cretan diet. The flavor of both Horta and potatoes are enhanced with fresh lemon juice. Citrus trees grow everywhere in Crete so it’s as simple as walking to the nearest lemon tree and picking them. Combine these greens, potatoes, and lemon with lots of fresh extra virgin olive oil and you have one of the healthiest, inexpensive, and fulfilling dishes from Crete.

Recipe by Koula Barydakis

Recipe Here!

 

5. Chicken Leek Soup with White Wine (Island of Crete)

Chicken Leek Soup with White Wine Mediterranean diet

We had this chicken leek soup again last night and my wife asked me “why is this soup so good?”. It’s a question worth exploring because it is the favorite soup in my cooking classes as well. It is so simple and just a scan of the ingredients wouldn’t have me running to make it. But, the blend of chicken sautéed in olive oil, wine, and leeks makes for a delicious combo that is well worth the minimal effort of making it. It is a healing soup and a few weeks ago I made it when Christine and I both had colds. It also works as an opener to a fancy dinner party because of it’s simplicity combined with its rich, flavorful broth.

Recipe by Koula Barydakis

Recipe Here!

 

6. Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes

Greek Shrimp

My first stop at most parties is the appetizer table.  Ninety percent of the time, the same dishes appear and most of them are not part of the Mediterranean Diet: crackers with 3 different types of cheese; chips with dip; a vegetable platter; kielbasa with mustard; deviled eggs; and of course shrimp cocktail.  I used to love shrimp with tangy cocktail sauce, but I have had so much of it over the years that it’s lost it’s appeal.  Luckily for us, Koula Barydakis has given us a traditional Greek shrimp recipe that made me love shrimp again!  This recipe works as both an appetizer or as the main dish.  When I have it for dinner I pair it with greens (horta) and potatoes and white wine.  I think you will find this to be an amazing new way to cook shrimp that will add new flavor to both your parties and dinners.

Intro by Bill Bradley R.D.

Recipe by Koula Barydakis

Recipe Here!

 

7. Traditional “Greek Restaurant” Salad Dressing

Traditional “Greek Restaurant” Salad Dressing

A Greek salad in an American Greek restaurant is quite different than a Greek salad eaten in Greece.  Here, in America, a Greek salad is made up mostly of iceberg lettuce and then some tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, black olives, and feta cheese.  It is all topped off with a huge squirt of a  “Greek”  Mediterranean salad dressing.  Even though I much prefer the Greek salad of Greece, which has no lettuce and more of all the good stuff including a dressing made up of just lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, I still like the American version every once in a while.  The American “Greek” dressing is always very flavorful and for many years I have tried to perfect my own version.  I think I have finally done it!  This dressing will last at least a week and a half in the fridge and is delicious whether you make your Greek salad with or without lettuce.  It also makes a great marinade for chicken or fish.  Enjoy!

Recipe by Bill Bradley R.D.

Recipe Here!

 

8. Italian Farmhouse Tomato Sauce

Mediterranean Diet Recipe: Pasta Farmhouse Tomato Sauce

This easy Mediterranean Diet recipe for Italian Farmhouse Chunky Tomato Sauce is so full of flavor it almost doesn’t need pasta (but I highly recommend some)!  And because I use a lot of sauce and a small amount of pasta when I eat it, it is low in calories yet filling and immensely satisfying.  Mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, parsley and garlic means this sauce is packed with anti-inflammatory polyphenols, antioxidants, and vitamins.

Recipe by Bill Bradley R.D.

Recipe Here!

 

9. Greek Lemon and Garlic Potatoes

Mediterranean Diet: Lemon Potatoes

Are you passionate about potatoes and think you can’t eat them on a Mediterranean diet?  Think again!  Try one the most popular recipes from our Foods of Crete cookbook. This recipe uses a long cooking method, which results in potatoes with a crispy exterior and soft interior. The prep is fast and easy so you give just a little effort for great results! We’re sure these garlicky lemon potatoes will become a side dish favorite in your home.

Recipe by Koula Barydakis

Recipe Here!

 

10. Chicken Souvlaki with Grilled French Bread and Tzatziki

Souvlaki for Mediterranean Diet

One of my favorite Mediterranean Diet recipes is eating souvlaki from a street vendor in Greece.  They start with well marinated chicken on a stick cooked slowly over a wood fired grill.  As the chicken cooks, they sprinkle salt and squeeze lemon juice on the tasty morsels.  Usually, it is served with a slice of bread that has been drizzled with olive oil and grilled.   Our recipe for chicken souvlaki takes the traditional recipe, but adds Greece’s famous yogurt Tzatziki Sauce to create the perfect summer dish alongside a Greek salad or a fried potato, tomato and arugula salad and a bottle of red or white wine. Serve this at a summer barbecue and your guests will become your biggest fans. Did we mention that it is remarkably quick and easy? Souvlaki is a no fuss option that quickly comes together with just a few ingredients. As a plus, there is very little kitchen cleanup!

Recipe by Bill Bradley R.D.

Recipe Here!

 

11. Sauteed Mushrooms with Garlic and Thyme

Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Sautéed Mushrooms with Garlic and Thyme

Mezes and tapas are one of the reasons I love eating the Mediterranean Diet.  I always order some version of Sautéed Mushrooms with Garlic and Thyme whenever I make it to a tapas restaurant.  It is a dish that goes with almost any other type of food from beans to chicken to fish.  Of course, this recipe has lots of olive oil so you can sop up the flavorful juices with bread.   This dish goes very nicely with Baked Cod with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives or Chicken Souvlaki with Grilled French Bread and Tzatziki.  Enjoy!

Recipe by Bill Bradley R.D.

Recipe Here!

 

12. Black Eyed Peas with Fresh Dill, Olive Oil and Orange Slices

Black eyed peas with Fresh Dill, Olive Oil and Orange Slices is one of my all-time favorite Mediterranean Diet recipes. How can you go wrong with fresh dill, fresh parsley, green onions, orange slices, and 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

As you prepare this amazing dish, I would highly recommend resisting the urge to cut back on the olive oil.  As you simmer the ingredients, the oil cooks into the beans and herbs and what is left thickens to make a flavorful gravy.  This is a traditional vegan dish from the island of Crete and works great with a vegan salad. If you are not vegan, you can eat it with our authentic Greek salad for a meal that is comforting, filling and good for you!

Recipe by Koula Barydakis

Recipe Here!

 

13. Grilled Marinated Summer Vegetables

Grilled Marinated Summer Vegetables

This is one of the first recipes I learned as a kid. Whenever my family grills, we like to grill lots of vegetables alongside the meat or fish we’re having. Grilling the vegetables brings out the sweetness. You can use whatever vegetables you have for this recipe, and I change it up sometimes. My favorite combo though is different colored bell peppers, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, and tomatoes. This is a good variety because some people may not like one or two of the vegetables, but you can almost guarantee they like at least one of them.

Recipe by George Zikos

Recipe Here!

 

14. Ziti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Eggplant

Ziti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Eggplant

I love to cook, but I don’t always love to cook.  Sometimes, I want something yummy with the least amount of work possible.  This Ziti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Eggplant is one of those recipes that tastes like you’ve worked on it more than you actually have.  It is a super simple recipe!  Preheat the oven, slice the eggplant, onion and garlic and roast it along with cherry tomatoes for an hour.  Add to pasta and you are done.  Simplicity at it’s best.

Recipe by Bill Bradley R.D.

Recipe Here!

 

15. Tuscan White Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale

This Tuscan White Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale will make you feel like you are eating in a small restaurant in Italy.  It is the perfect hearty soup for a wintry day.  Most beans soups are full of nutrition and this one is no exception: fiber from the beans and kale; vitamins A, K and C from the Kale; protein from the beans and sausage and healthy fat from the extra virgin olive oil.  Although, I don’t eat sausage often, I still try to get uncured sausage from grass fed animals.  This makes for a much healthier sausage.  This is a great recipe for someone who is being introduced to the Mediterranean Diet as it still has a meaty taste to it, but is also packed with lots of healthy vegetables, beans and herbs.

Recipe by Bill Bradley R.D.

Recipe Here!

 

 

 

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