How to Stock your Mediterranean Pantry

By George Zikos
Updated March 30, 2023

If you’re trying to eat the Mediterranean diet, stocking your pantry with these Mediterranean pantry staples will make following the diet so much easier! For the busy person, you don’t want to have to search for these ingredients in the grocery store every time you make a new Mediterranean diet recipe. Supplying yourself with these pantry items allows you to focus on buying fresh produce, meat, and seafood. You will always be able to put a quick, healthy, delicious Mediterranean meal together if you have most of these pantry items.

I couldn’t live without olive oil, crushed tomatoes,  and dried herbs and spices. I know I can always make a delicious sauce for my meat and vegetables to cook in if I have these ingredients on hand. While a lot of people living in the Mediterranean may spend almost their entire day gathering ingredients, preparing them, and cooking, many working people don’t have time to do this. Stocking your pantry with the below ingredients will save yourself so much time and make eating Mediterranean super easy.


Herbs and Spices:


Dried herbs and spices are essential for Mediterranean cooking. They not only add a lot of flavor and aroma to recipes, but they also bring healthy qualities that help with things like digestion, for example. Just adding some dried oregano to a recipe will help with digestion. Having most of these herbs and spices in your pantry, you’ll be able to cook recipes from all over the Mediterranean. I’ve given you some recipes to try out with these ingredients that highlight the specific herb or spice.


Oil, Vinegar, and Cooking Wine:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the Island of Crete, Greece

Extra virgin olive oil is the main ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. Every Mediterranean country produces and cooks with olive oil. A high-quality extra virgin olive oil is very important if you want to get the most out of eating a Mediterranean diet. Good fresh olive oil still has some of the sediment in it that contains a lot of the anti-inflammatory properties that make extra virgin olive oil so powerful.

Besides using citrus like lemons and oranges for acid in Mediterranean cooking, different kinds of vinegar are used as well. I’ve included only the most common ones that you’ll need for most recipes. To me, a nice thick aged balsamic makes all the difference compared to a cheap runny one. If you don’t have access to good balsamic vinegar, the cheap one will still work.

The key to choosing a cooking wine is one that you’ll also enjoy drinking! You don’t need to spend a lot to get a bottle of good wine for cooking. Red wine and white wine are both used in Mediterranean recipes so it’s good to have both on hand.


Click Here to Download the Mediterranean Pantry List PDF!

Mediterranean pantry staples


Canned and Jarred Fruits and Vegetables:

Mediterranean Diet Recipe: Italian Giardiniera

Canned fruit and vegetables always come in handy when throwing together a quick Mediterranean meal. I use crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste all the time when I want to create a quick vegetarian dish. The simple combination of olive oil, crushed tomatoes, onions, garlic, dried herbs, spices, and your favorite vegetables stewed for 20 minutes is about as quick and easy as it gets. Having these canned ingredients on hand will make putting a great meal together so much easier!


Beans and Legumes:

Because beans and legumes are such a large part of the Mediterranean diet, it’s good to have both canned and dried beans in your pantry. Canned beans are for when you don’t have time to soak your beans overnight. These beans and legumes listed are some of the main ones you’ll need for Mediterranean cooking.



Eating Mediterranean, you will probably be introduced to new grains that you’ve never tried before. Maybe you’ve never even heard of them. Preparing these whole grains is very similar to preparing rice, so don’t be scared to cook them for the first time. If you’ve never tried bulgur wheat, I highly recommend serving it alongside your next dinner. It’s filling, nutritious, and pairs with most Mediterranean recipes.


Mediterranean Diet and eye health

I’ve only listed a few different pasta shapes here because there’s so many and everyone has their favorite. Quickly boiling some pasta, roasting some vegetables, and making a quick salad is a go-to meal for my family. It couldn’t be easier.


Nuts and Seeds:

Nuts are a great protein source. Whether it’s a handful thrown into your salad or blended up into pesto, nuts add healthy fat, flavor, and texture. My favorite Mediterranean diet recipe containing nuts is easily vegan pesto. Nuts are a daily snack in the Mediterranean. Sometimes you’re just looking for a quick healthy snack, and nuts are perfect for that.



Healthy condiments used to create sauces are used in so many Mediterranean diet recipes it’s almost imperative to have the ingredients to make them always on hand. Tahini is made from sesame seeds and is a healthy fat. Honey has been used in Mediterranean cooking for thousands of years and is a healthy alternative to white sugar. Dijon adds so much flavor to salad dressings and acts as a thickening agent.


 The Next Session Starts Soon!

The Mediterranean Way 10 Week Diet & Lifestyle program teaches you everything you need to know to easily and deliciously get the benefits of the proven healthy Mediterranean diet. Meal Plans, Recipes, Shopping Lists, Weekly Challenges and Lessons, Private Facebook Support Group, Cooking Videos and more!

Learn More →


“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.

Learn More →

Foods of Crete Cookbook

"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

Read more and buy →


  1. Meg A September 11, 2022 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    I am the only one in my family that is trying to eat a Mediterranean way of eating. My husband is a very picky eater and won’t try “new” things. I’ve been buying fresh vegetables, but I just can’t eat them fast enough before they go bad. I even tried cutting them up for meal prep, but it’s just not working for me because I waste more than I eat. And, I don’t have time to go to the grocery store daily because then I would be eating my meals too late. What do you suggest I do with veggies? Buy frozen or do some canning? If canning, which ones do you recommend? (Thanks in advance…love your YouTube videos).

  2. Stephanie July 26, 2022 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Is the picture at the bottom Chania or Rethymnon?

    • Winter LeBlanc September 30, 2022 at 2:32 pm - Reply


  3. Karen Tully January 6, 2022 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    Hello. I need to loss 50 and lower my cholesterol! I need better habits.

  4. Ginger Pryor January 5, 2022 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Can the recipes that call for instant pot be prepared without one?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. January 15, 2022 at 11:13 am - Reply

      Yes, in almost all cases you can use a Dutch oven or tight covered pot. It might take a bit longer. Also, an instant pot is just a fancy pressure cooker so you could use that as well.

  5. Mallin October 23, 2021 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    I don’t eat chicken. Will there be substitutes I can use for this protein?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 25, 2021 at 10:46 am - Reply

      Yes, if you are vegetarian, there are a lot of bean choices, if you eat fish, you can often substitute chicken for fish. For some recipes you can take the chicken right out. -Bill

  6. Kimberly October 18, 2021 at 5:10 am - Reply

    I am gluten free will I still be able to participate in the lifestyle

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 20, 2021 at 10:41 am - Reply

      Hi Kimberly,
      Yes, you can totally eat Mediterranean gluten free. There are many naturally gluten free grains such as wild rice and quinoa plus there are so many awesome gluten free choices these day for pasta and bread that it is really easy.

  7. Mel October 9, 2021 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Most of my weight is in my gut. Will this diet help?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 11, 2021 at 10:17 am - Reply

      Hi Mel, Yes, absolutely. I have lost 50 pounds mostly from my gut area. Check out our weight loss program and recipes.

  8. Linda Burgess February 26, 2021 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    I’m learning about the Mediterranean diet. I’m needing to lose about 100 pounds for my health. I lost about 50 pounds already. I’m trying hard to do this for health reasons.

  9. Bridgette Gilbert June 8, 2020 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Hello, I am excited to go through this journey. I just have a problem with the diet, I have allergic to dairy. I can eat eggs, but no dairy. It is not a lactose intolerance, it is anaphylactic shock. Please advise.

    • Joyce December 21, 2020 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      I have the same problem. No anaphylaxis, I am cutting out all dairy because of a medical condition.

Leave A Comment

Mediterranean Living

Our Newsletter

Get seasonal recipe ideas as well as special offers on our online programs, live webinars and video releases. Sent once a week.