One of the questions I get asked the most is, “What do they eat for dessert in the Mediterranean?” The simple answer is fruit. For most meals in most Mediterranean countries, if there is a dessert at all, it is almost always a piece of fresh fruit.
Does that mean that there are no other types of Mediterranean Diet desserts? No, of course not! The Mediterranean is known for a bevy of different delicious sweets. Some are eaten in the afternoon with coffee or tea, sometimes they are eaten after dinner.
They are universally eaten in much smaller quantities than in other countries like the U.S. and are more of a special treat, not something that would be eaten after every dinner. These desserts range from gelato in Italy to baklava in Greece to basboosa in Lebanon. There are literally thousands of different recipes for desserts all over the Mediterranean.
What desserts are allowed on the Mediterranean Diet?
Eating a piece of fruit after a meal is the popular dessert of the Mediterranean and can be eaten often. If you are eating other Mediterranean sweets it is best to eat them on special occasions. Mediterranean Diet desserts tend to be homemade and not highly processed.
Fresh ingredients are often used in Mediterranean desserts. Healthier ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, honey, fresh herbs and yogurt are the mainstay of many of these sweet treats. If you are eating the Mediterranean diet to lose weight you may want to stick to the fruit and wait to have other sweets until you are at a maintenance phase of your weight loss. Same goes if you are trying to reduce risk of diabetes or heart disease. Generally though, an occasional sweet is fine.
Below are some of our favorite Mediterranean desserts. Please enjoy!