Mediterranean Summer Recipes
By George Zikos
Updated October 26, 2021
Looking to eat the Mediterranean diet this summer? These are some of my favorite summer recipes. In this Mediterranean diet plan, I’ve tried to include a variety of healthy breakfasts, sauces and dips, salads, grilling recipes, and dinners that will give you lots of choices this summer. The idea is to mix and match these recipes throughout an entire day, to eat the real Mediterranean diet.
When I was living in Greece, yogurt and honey never failed for breakfast. Since back in America, I eat lots of avocado toast, and putting them together into one recipe is so delicious and filling. Voila, Sweet Greek Avocado Toast! Also, if you like smoothies for breakfast, we are featuring our anti-inflammatory Mango Strawberry Smoothie with Greek Yogurt.
In the summer, it’s nice to eat a big salad for lunch. There are three very different salads to choose from here, depending on what mood you’re in. Just a heads up, you’re going to need some good extra virgin olive oil! The easiest salad to make is the authentic Greek salad. If you have fresh garden tomatoes and cucumbers for this salad, you can’t go wrong. Even the Greeks living in Greece will tell you they never tire of a Greek salad in the summer. This salad is at the heart of the Mediterranean diet. The chicken and chickpea salad with fresh basil dressing is a traditional Cretan recipe from Koula Barydakis. Since she wrote the Foods of Crete cookbook, she still shares her favorite recipes with Mediterranean Living. This is a very filling salad packed with protein, and the basil dressing is a nice change-up from the classic EVOO and vinegar or lemon. The grilled shrimp salad is a colorful salad that is really impressive presentation wise. If you have people over for a lunch this summer, this is the salad to make your guests.
Summer isn’t complete without lots of pesto! Pesto is by far my favorite sauce in the summer, and I put it on everything. Check out the video and recipe for the best vegan pesto. It’s extremely easy to make, and you don’t need as much basil as you think, because my recipe uses arugula too. When I make a Greek meal, tzatziki is great because it goes with so many foods. It’s very cool and refreshing because of the yogurt and cucumber, a definite go-to all summer long. Tabouli is one of my favorite Lebanese recipes. If you have fresh pita bread and some tabouli, you don’t need anything else in life.
For dinner, I’ve included three grilling recipes. The grilled swordfish is so simple and will transport you to a seaside restaurant on the Mediterranean Sea. The grilled marinated summer vegetables are a healthy grilled side dish to pair with any of these recipes. You can even make it a meal by making a grilled veggie sandwich, or putting them on a salad. The pan-fried scallop recipe is an amazing Bill Bradley creation. His hand-chopped pesto is a brilliant idea. Make this for your loved one and it will be a meal they will always remember. The last recipe is a traditional Greek grilling recipe. The marinated chicken souvlaki on the grill is the perfect food to dip in tzatziki. I recommend combining this grilled chicken souvlaki with the grilled bread, tzatziki, an authentic Greek salad, and a bottle of white wine. For me, it’s a perfect summer meal.
I hope you use this Mediterranean diet plan as a reference/guide this summer when you don’t know what to make. The real Mediterranean diet is the easiest to eat in the summer when there is lots of fresh produce, more time for grilling, and nice weather to be able to eat outside. I hope you share this plan with your friends and family, so they can learn to eat the Mediterranean diet too. Kali Orexi! (Bon Appetit in Greek)
Sweet Greek Avocado Toast
Greek yogurt and honey is a breakfast that has been eaten by Greeks for a very long time. Thick tangy yogurt is amazing with honey. I have been eating yogurt and honey as a Mediterranean diet breakfast for many years. Lately, I have also been eating avocado toast for breakfast. Then I came up with an idea: why not….
Mango Strawberry Smoothie with Greek Yogurt (Greek Island of Yum)
I love the fact that this sweet, thick, fruity mango strawberry smoothie is also an anti-inflammatory packed with anti-oxidants and all the nutrients you need for a filling, nutritious breakfast. It is a super easy Mediterranean Diet breakfast recipe that I can make in minutes and carry with me when I’m in a hurry.
Sauces and Dips:
Vegan Pesto (with Video)
Pesto can brighten up any dish. It’s so fresh tasting and it adds a ton of flavor to any salad, pasta, or sandwich. I like to eat it on a caprese salad. Pesto is also really good for marinating and grilling. Since many people are going vegan and gluten-free these days, try out this recipe with gluten-free pasta and skip the cheese, and you’ll be surprised at how good this pesto recipe tastes.
Tabouli is one of the most refreshing mezes out there. It’s the perfect healthy, light summer food to cool you down. It’s mostly fresh parsley which gives it the beautiful dark green color. It uses bulgur which is whole wheat. The addition of freshly chopped tomatoes and lemon add acidity. This tabouli recipe is delicious by itself, but even more amazing with fresh pita bread to scoop it up. I also love putting it in a falafel pita with hummus too. What makes this meze so easy to make is that…
Tzatziki is a popular, traditional Mediterranean Diet recipe. This Greek dip makes a delicious and filling appetizer or snack. It goes very well with dolmades or simply served with pita or cut vegetables. You can use more or less garlic depending upon your taste preferences.
Authentic Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salata)
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…
Chicken and Chickpea Salad with Fresh Basil Dressing
This is one of my favorite summertime meals and yes, it is definitely a meal! You can add soup or bread, but it’s not needed. When I was a kid, my Dad would grow fresh chickpeas and we would eat them right from the vine. Luckily, there were plenty more that we dried and cooked to make recipes like this one. This fresh basil dressing is best made when there is an abundance of fresh basil. When you make the dressing, I recommend…
Grilled Shrimp Salad with Fresh Dill Dressing
Grilled Shrimp Salad with Fresh Dill Dressing is a big hit at our picnics and barbecues. It is super easy to make. Shrimp takes less time to marinate and less time to cook than most any other meat, chicken or fish. Many people don’t marinate shrimp at all, choosing to just brush on flavorings during the grilling process, but marinating does give the shrimp extra zestiness.
Grilled Swordfish with Lemon Parsley Topping (Greece)
Grilled swordfish steaks are one of the easiest fish to cook on the grill, because it won’t fall apart and it’s pretty forgiving. Even if you overcook it a bit, swordfish is still delicious. It cooks on the grill much more like a steak than other fish. Swordfish is high in protein and a serving gives you your daily dose of vitamin D.
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.
Pan-Fried Scallops with Hand-Chopped Pesto
Pan-Fried Scallops with Hand-Chopped Pesto is my favorite Mediterranean Diet recipe creation of the summer. It is a decadent mix of seafood, fresh basil, garlic, parmesan cheese and a lot of extra virgin olive oil. It’s the ideal dish for romance or a dinner party where you want to impress your guests. The best part is that it is…
Chicken Souvlaki with Grilled French Bread and Tzatziki
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.
If you’re interested in more meal plans like this one, follow these links:
Traditional Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan
Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan: Weight Loss
How To Eat the Healthiest Diet in the World (Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan)
7 Ladera (in Olive Oil) Dishes – Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan Series
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