This traditional Mediterranean Diet meal plan will show you foods that the people of the Mediterranean ACTUALLY eat. Lots of meal plans out there try and skimp on the use of olive oil. If you want to eat a traditional Mediterranean Diet like in Crete where the people live easily over 100, then you need to substitute the bad fats in your diet with lots of extra virgin olive oil.
Traditional Mediterranean Diet Essentials
These recipes are very traditional foods from their respective countries and are eaten from childhood. Children from these countries grow up loving vegetables and beans because they are cooked in a delicious way, with lots of olive oil, fresh herbs, citrus, and aromatic spices.
Meat and fish are eaten on special occasions gathered with friends and family. Meat is rarely the most prominent food on the table. When following this traditional Mediterranean Diet meal plan I recommend doing a few things.
Tips for Keeping it Authentic
First, find a high-quality extra virgin olive oil that you love. The extra virgin olive oil from Greece in the shop is perfect for these dishes.
Second, strive to use the freshest seasonal ingredients that you can find. People in the Mediterranean only eat what’s in season. It’s a little more difficult in the winter to do this, depending on where you live, but it’s totally possible.
My third tip is to take the time to enjoy these meals with friends and family. Eating is a very social experience in the Mediterranean, so try to enjoy at least one meal a day with those close to you. This last tip is very important.
A Mediterranean table is never complete without good bread and red wine. Wheat and grape production has been going on for thousands of years in the Mediterranean. Red wine, bread, and olive oil have been consistent staples to the diet since ancient times and have helped these cultures flourish health-wise, but also economically.
The recipes in this Mediterranean Diet meal plan are just a few of the endless traditional Mediterranean recipes that exist. You can check out more Mediterranean Diet recipes here. If you want over 110 traditional recipes from the island of Crete, check out the amazing cookbook written by Koula Barydakis and Bill Bradley R.D. here! As we say in Greek, Kali Orexi!
Traditional Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan: Breakfast
Zucchini and Onion Omellete
Greeks have fresh eggs on hand and in the summer zucchini and tomatoes are plentiful. Combine them with lots of olive oil for a filling and traditional Mediterranean Diet breakfast.
Recipe here! Zucchini and Onion Omelette
Shakshuka (Stewed Eggs and Tomatoes – Morocco)
One of my favorite Mediterranean Diet breakfast recipes is Moroccan shakshuka; fresh tomatoes stewed in olive oil, cumin and smoked paprika; with a jalapeño pepper thrown in for extra flavor and topped with sunny-side up eggs.
Recipe here! Shakshuka Recipe
One of the most popular breakfasts in the Arab world is Ful Medames, a simple dish consisting of rice and fava beans which is often accompanied with eggs, cheese, olive oil, lemon, tahini, or tomato sauce. In Egypt and many other Mediterranean countries, it is sold on the streets and is the Mediterranean equivalent of the American bacon, eggs, and toast (yet decidedly healthier).
Ful Medames Recipe here! Ful Medames
Traditional Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan: Lunch
Chicken and Chickpea Salad with Fresh Basil Dressing (Greek Island of Crete)
This Mediterranean Diet recipe is best made when there is an abundance of fresh basil. When you make the dressing, I recommend adding the amount you want. There will be extra dressing! It will last 4 or 5 days in the fridge and improves over time. Nutritionally, you are loading up with anti-inflammatory foods, omega 3’s, antioxidants, protein, and fiber. Enjoy!
Recipe here! Chicken and Chickpea Salad with Fresh Basil Dressing (Greek Island of Crete)
In Greek cooking, an excessive amount of olive oil is used in vegetable dishes called “lathera”. Briam uses up all the vegetables you have on hand to make a food that is at the heart of the Mediterranean Diet. Briam is eaten as a main course for lunch and is a perfect example of what Greeks eat on a regular basis.
Recipe here! Briam
Greek White Bean Soup with Orange Slices and Olive Oil (Fasolada)
One of the national foods of Greece, fasolada, is eaten by all Greeks growing up. It is extremely cheap to make and combines the amazing flavors of citrus and olive oil together. Dipping good bread in this soup is a must!
Recipe here! Greek White Bean Soup (Fasolada)
Traditional Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan: Dinner
Spiced Moroccan Meatballs and Veggies
This recipe comes from our friend Hafid Assab who hails from Morocco and owns the wildly popular Mosaic Cafe in our hometown of Northampton, Massachusetts. Almost everyone who works there knows me by name as I eat there at least twice a week!
Recipe here! Spiced Moroccan Meatballs
Black Eyed Beans with Herbs with a Greek Salad
One of the best recipes from The Foods of Crete cookbook. The herbs and citrus add so much flavor to this rustic bean dish. Grab some good bread to dip and pair this with a Greek salad.
Beans Recipe here! Black Eyed Beans with Herbs
Greek Salad Recipe here! Greek Salad
Salmon with Yogurt, Spinach, Lemon and Capers
This traditional Cretan dish is flavorful, yet mellowing. It’s a perfect, delicious meal to impress your guests. I promise we won’t tell that it was so easy to make! I highly recommend this meal served with a simple salad dressed with a traditional Greek restaurant salad dressing.
Salmon Recipe here! Salmon with Yogurt, Spinach, Lemon and Capers
Salad Dressing Recipe here! Traditional Greek Restaurant Salad Dressing
Traditional Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan: Dessert
Sesame Cookies Baked with Olive Oil (Crete)
This perfect tea cookie is made with olive oil instead of butter. I really appreciate just how simple it is to make these delightful orange cookies. Many Mediterranean sweets use olive oil instead of butter.
Cookie Recipe here! Sesame Cookies Baked with Olive Oil (Crete)
Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Zest (Greek island of Crete)
Another amazing Mediterranean dessert baked with olive oil that you’ll love!
Recipe here! Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Zest