The Mediterranean diet features so many delicious vegan dinner recipes because the diet is plant-based and also because of fasting and Lent. There are periods of the year where people fast because of religious purposes, and during this time, they eat a vegan diet. Local restaurants will change their menus to feature more vegan recipes. Beans and legumes are eaten more during these fasting periods. There are a few amazing bean/lentil recipes below, like Vegan Lentil “Meat Sauce” with Portobello Mushrooms, Black-Eyed Peas with Fresh Herbs, and Falafel.
If beans aren’t your thing, you can check out the more vegetable-based dishes below. Horta with Potatoes is a traditional recipe from the island of Crete which contains dark leafy greens, potatoes, garlic, and lots of extra virgin olive oil and lemon! Dark leafy greens cooked in this way make them so delicious! If you like to grill, you’ll love the Grilled Marinated Summer Vegetables. This recipe involves simply marinating your favorite medley of vegetables and grilling them to perfection. This is my go-to vegetable side dish in the summer!
Another purely vegetable dish is Baked Eggplant with Caramelized Onions. This recipe is really fun to make because you assemble each layer until all the ingredients are used up, and you can be really lenient on how much of each ingredient you add. It really depends on your taste buds. This is the perfect dish to dip good crusty bread in to soak up all the olive oil, garlic, herbs, and tomatoes.
My favorite recipe on this whole list is the Vegan Pesto. I add pesto to basically everything and for me, the cheese in pesto isn’t needed. It doesn’t make or break the recipe. I use a mixture of basil and arugula because it’s cheaper, and I like the peppery spiciness it adds. Check out the video below which shows you how to make pesto in just five minutes!
Enjoy these recipes and please rate them and leave a comment!
1. Vegan Lentil “Meat Sauce” with Portobello Mushrooms
This vegan lentil “meat sauce” has a seriously meaty flavor and texture. Ingredients like soy sauce, walnuts, and portobello mushrooms all contribute to the meaty flavor and texture of this sauce. Serve over your favorite pasta for a hearty vegan Mediterranean comfort food!
2. Falafel (Chickpea Patties with Sesame, Cilantro, and Parsley) – Egypt
Bright green falafel loaded with fresh herbs and spices, and fried in extra virgin olive oil is one of the most iconic vegan Mediterranean recipes. I make a loaded pita with this falafel, tahini dressing, and all my favorite vegetables and pickled condiments.
Vegan pesto goes with everything! A couple of thick tomato slices between good bread and a smear of pesto is a simple sandwich that will transport you to summer! Add a couple of scoops of pesto and halved cherry tomatoes to fresh pasta for a quick, easy meal. You can even make a vegan pizza with pesto as the base sauce, and your favorite toppings. This is the ONE pizza that I don’t miss the cheese at all! These are just a few ways to use vegan pesto, but in my opinion, pesto makes everything better, so add it to whatever you like!
4. Horta (Greens) with Potatoes (Recipe and How-To Video)
We know dark leafy greens are very healthy for us but can be a little intimidating to cook. With as simple a recipe as this, there are no more excuses! This is one of those recipes loaded with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, and garlic. The lemon actually helps you absorb more of the nutrients from the greens, and the extra virgin olive oil acts as a vehicle for all of the greens and potatoes. On the island of Crete, wild greens are gathered daily and eaten with lots of olive oil and lemon, a large part to why the Cretan people live so long.
5. Black-Eyed Peas with Fresh Dill, Parsley, and Orange Slices
The orange peel adds so much flavor to these beans as they stew away with copious amounts of extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs. Orange trees are everywhere on the island of Crete, so orange is used in a lot of traditional recipes. Because of the abundant days of sunshine on Crete, orange peels are dried and preserved for later use. We use fresh orange peels in this version of the recipe because most people don’t have time (or the amount of sun) to dry orange peels for this recipe.
Simply marinated and grilled to perfection. This is my go-to vegetable side in the summer when these vegetables are in season. Grilling zucchini and squash gives them such a meaty texture, especially if you don’t cut them paper thin. Grilling bell peppers really brings out their sweetness. This recipe is versatile in that you can use whatever your favorite vegetables are! It will probably be a different medley every time you grill, and that’s great!
7. Baked Eggplant with Caramelized Onions (Central Greece)
I ate this dish at a traditional taverna in the small port city of Nafpaktos, Greece. I tried to recreate it as best as I could, knowing that caramelized onions and fresh garlic were key components to the dish. The caramelized onions add so much sweetness and flavor. This is a very garlicky and oily dish, which is perfect for dipping crusty bread in! This is one of my favorite vegan Mediterranean appetizers to make for parties.
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“This program is a way of life, one which I have adopted successfully, and more importantly one which I have sustained for over one year now. My weight remains steady at 160 pounds (down from 216). My energy levels rival that of someone 20 years younger than me (I’m now 57), enabling me to exercise in any way that I desire, from lifting weights to intense cardio sessions.” — Michael Little
“After completing my 10-week program, I had a regularly-scheduled appointment with my doctor. Because my cholesterol has always been above the normal range (229 last year) I requested that she test it again this year. I’m happy to report that my total cholesterol dropped to 169, which is in the normal range, and all my other numbers improved as well.” — Claire C.
"The scientifically acclaimed “Mediterranean Diet” is presented at its best here, with the liberal use of olive oil and plenty of vegetable and fish dishes in addition to mezedes (appetizers), meat dishes, desserts, and pretty much every Cretan dish you can think of." - Mary