21 Mediterranean Plant Based Recipes for Beginners

A plant based diet is a one that focuses on eating plants and has been shown to have a number of benefits for our health and the planet. A plant based diet doesn’t need to be vegetarian or vegan, being an omnivore is totally possible. The key is to eat much more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains as compared to meat. The Mediterranean Diet is a plant based diet that has been voted the #1 diet by U.S. News & World Report for four years in a row. It’s delicious and easy to follow. Here are 21 plant based recipes from the Mediterranean that are perfect if you are just getting started eating a plant based diet. We hope you enjoy these plant based recipes!

1. Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

Muhammara is a slightly spicy dip made from red peppers and walnuts that originates from Syria. My first exposure to this heavenly dip was in California where I lived for a decade and a half.

Recipe Here!

 

2. Pasta with Zucchini, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Ricotta & Pine Nuts

The heart of Italy is the culinary destination for this scrumptious pasta dish topped with zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta and pine nuts.  Best part: Traditional Italian dinner in only 20 minutes!

Recipe Here!

 

3. Sheet Pan Haddock with Swiss Chard and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sheet Pan Haddock with Swiss Chard and Sun Dried Tomatoes

This recipe for sheet pan haddock reminded me of my dad and how food felt like an adventure on those nights he would cook. As I’ve gotten older, fish is still one of my favorite things to eat and so I’ve discovered ways and recipes that make preparing fish easy and delicious.

Recipe Here!

 

4. Puff Pastry with Tuna, Tomatoes and Olives

Puff Pastry with Tuna, Tomatoes and Olives (France)

Canned tuna is completely part of everyday French cuisine and part of any Mediterranean Diet meal plan. It is a cheap product and is found everywhere. It adds a little protein to a dish without it being meat, so it’s lighter.

Recipe Here!

 

5. Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana

Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana (Italy)

When you travel to Naples, in southern Italy, one of the dishes that you absolutely have to try is eggplant Parmigiana. This traditional preparation is essentially a rich vegetable lasagna that uses eggplant slices in place of pasta and combines them with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and basil leaves.

Recipe Here!

6. Greek Briam – Baked Summer Vegetables

summer vegetables (briam)

Briam is an amazing vegetable and olive oil based dish in the ladera family. Ladera (lathera) is a Greek word meaning “in oil”. These foods are usually vegetable or bean-based dishes that are cooked in copious amounts of extra virgin olive oil.

Recipe Here!

7. Vegan Lentil ‘Meat’ Sauce with Portobello Mushrooms

Vegan Lentil Recipes Meat Sauce

This is one of my favorite vegan lentil recipes, and it was created by my twin sister, Arianna. She has been vegan for 4 years now and being vegan has propelled her into being an amazing cook.

Recipe Here!

8. Instant Pot Beans and Greens

Instant Pot Beans

When the weather is becoming colder, I’m back to using the Instant Pot a lot. One of the great things about the Instant Pot is that you can cook dried beans without soaking them overnight.

Recipe Here!

9. Bean Burgers with Garlic and Sage

Mediterranean Diet Recipe: Bean Burger with Garlic and Sage

A really good bean burger recipe is hard to find.  I have tried hundreds of them over the years and this Mediterranean Diet based bean burger recipe is one of my all time favorites.

Recipe Here!

10. Egyptian Lentils with Rice and Pasta

Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Egyptian Lentils with Rice and Pasta

Koshari, also spelled Kushari, is the national dish of Egypt. It is one of the best Mediterranean diet recipes for using up things in your pantry. You can find Koshari in food carts and restaurants all over Egypt (and now you can make it in your own home!).

Recipe Here!

11. Kalamata Olive and Chickpea Paella

Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Kalamata and Chickpea Paella

Most people think of paella as a dish with seafood and sausage, but one of the traditional Mediterranean Diet recipes of Valencia is paella de verduras or vegetable vegan paella.  This paella recipe has over 20 ingredients in it, but don’t let that scare you!

Recipe Here!

12. Egg Noodles with Walnuts and Basil

Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Egg Noodles with Basil and Walnuts

We like to call this traditional Cretan dish “Surprise Noodles” because you’ll be surprised by how simple, yet flavor-packed it is. This egg noodle is served with a typical tomato wine sauce, with an added boost of chopped walnuts, making this dish special.

Recipe Here!

13. Lentil Soup with Olive Oil and Orange

Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Lentil Soup

This traditional Cretan Lentil Soup is a hearty and delicious Mediterranean Diet recipe. It’s easy to prepare, and you can prep your other ingredients while cooking the lentils. I love making this soup on Sunday for weekday lunches. Enjoy with a tasty and healthy chunk of sourdough bread.

Recipe Here!

 

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

Mediterranean Diet 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.

Recipe Here!

 

15. Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic

Mediterranean Diet: Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic

This is my go-to pasta dish when I’m tired, I don’t really want to cook, but I want something satisfying and healthy.  Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic can be prepared in 20 minutes (as long as you are cooking the pasta as you prep), has an easy clean up and is super delicious!

Recipe Here!

16. Mediterranean Fish Stew

Mediterranean Fish Stew (30 minute recipe)

This Mediterranean fish stew is perfect using any white fish.  I have tried it with both halibut and flounder.  It is so simple to make that even a novice in the kitchen will find making it to be a breeze.

Recipe Here!

17. 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.

Recipe Here!

 

18. Greek White Bean Soup with Orange Slices and Olive Oil

Mediterranean Diet Recipes: White Bean Soup Fasolada

White bean soup is great for lunch or dinner.  It is often eaten with a Greek salad, crusty bread and some wine.  The soup is vegan and if you want to keep your meal vegan then serve with a simple salad topped with Greek dressing.  It also goes well with sautéed swiss chard or spinach with feta and lemon.

Recipe Here!

19. Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs

Sweet-Potato-Hash

Breakfast will never be the same. This recipe for Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs is super easy, delicious and sure to leave you satisfied, ready to start the day.

Recipe Here!

 

20. Greek Omelette with Zucchini and Mint

This recipe for Greek Omelette with Zucchini and Mint is brought to us by Koula Barydakis, Crete-native and co-author of the cookbook, “Foods of Crete: Traditional Recipes from the Healthiest People in the World“.

Recipe Here!

 

21. Avocado Toast with Caramelized Balsamic Onions

Avocado Toast with Caramelized Balsamic Onions

We have been creating an amazing collection of avocado toast recipes over the last few weeks.  There have been a few failures, but mostly they have come out incredible.  When I lived on the Greek island of Crete, one of my favorite food experiences was eating fresh avocado from the courtyard in our hotel.

Recipe Here!

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4 Comments

  1. Pamela Hernandez April 19, 2022 at 8:42 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for all these meals! I’m so excited to try some this week. I’m not vegan I’m trying to go plant based & it helps so much with inflammation & my back pain from a ruptured disc. Love all the recipes I’ve tried so far!!

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. April 26, 2022 at 11:40 am - Reply

      You are welcome! Plant based is great for inflammation.

  2. Betty November 11, 2021 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Please stop calling things plant based that aren’t vegan. It’s the wrong use of the term and really a turn off.

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. November 11, 2021 at 10:55 am - Reply

      I know this is a charged term, but plant based has multiple meanings. The official definition is: “A plant-based diet or a plant-rich diet is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of plant-based foods.” The Mediterranean Diet is a diet consisting mostly of plant-based foods, but not entirely. Veganism is a plant based diet that is entirely composed of plants. They both have plants as the base. -Bill

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