Once again, The Mediterranean Diet has been named the overall diet of the year. This list of 50 breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes makes it easy to add more of the Med-inspired lifestyle to your weekly meal plan.
The Best Overall Diet
Just as we were setting our sights on eating better with the New Year, US News and World Report came out with their standings of the best diets to follow for 2021, and for the fourth consecutive year, the Mediterranean Diet was named the best overall diet. In 2019, CNN reported the Mediterranean Diet came out on top due to: “how easy it is to follow, its nutritional completeness, its ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, its safety and its potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease.”
Unlike many of the trendy, silver bullet diets that are at the bottom of this year’s list and you see everyone jumping through hoops to try (and ultimately bail out on), the Mediterranean diet is a centuries-old lifestyle for long-term health and wellness instead of a quick weight loss fad that never seems to really last.
How to Start the Mediterranean Diet Plan
The diet’s philosophy is pretty basic, and one I adopted more and more through 2018, and then made a larger pledge to follow even before the rankings were revealed.
Unlike other diet plans, the Mediterranean Diet doesn’t prescribe prohibitive restrictions or eliminations. It’s more inclusive, more even-keeled, and one I can actually adopt and follow without feeling like I’m missing out on all the good foods and flavors.
The diet is more about portion control, balance, and making good choices in eating more real good real food.
The main guidelines of what you eat can easily be modified for vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, and I find the ingredients and philosophy incredibly easy to adopt into my daily eating:
- Eat more: Vegetables and leafy greens, fruits, nuts, whole grains, dairy (Greek yogurt and naturally low-fat hard cheeses or ricotta), beans and legumes, olive oil and healthy fats, seafood, poultry, eggs, herbs and spices, and even wine
- Eat less: Red meat
- Avoid: Processed foods, added sugars (candy, soda, ice cream, sugary desserts), refined grains (white bread), anything labeled low-fat or diet or with ingredients you can’t read
And my favorite part of the diet prescription? Sharing meals with other people and enjoying life.
Now that’s a diet I can live with.
50 Mediterranean Recipes
After looking through my recipe archives I realized I’ve been enjoying the Mediterranean Diet lifestyle for years. Here’s a list of 50 favorite Med-inspired recipes I love, that I know you’re going to want to try too.
**FRIENDLY DISCLAIMER** When created, these recipes weren’t intended to be part of a diet program. The nutritional information for each recipe may not be provided. Please practice practical portion control when enjoying.
Mediterranean Salads and Sides
Greek Pasta Salad With Cucumbers And Artichoke Hearts (use whole wheat pasta)
Mediterranean Soups and Sandwiches
Shrimp Pasta With Roasted Red Peppers And Artichokes (use whole wheat pasta)
More Healthy Recipes You Might Want to Try Too
- 14 Days of Healthy Breakfast Recipe Ideas
- 20 Healthy Dinners to Make In the Instant Pot
- 20 Recipes You Can Make with a Can of Beans
- 10 Good-for-You Grains You Should Be Cooking With Right Now
- 25 Super Healthy Bowl Recipes
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves pressed
- 1/2 teaspoon dry basil minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme crushed between your fingers
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups arugula
- 1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans drained
- 1 small jar roasted red bell peppers drained and chopped
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives pitted and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions with 1/2 teaspoon salt added to the water. Cool completely.
- Mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pressed garlic, basil and thyme. Whisk until well combined. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
- To a large serving bowl, add the quinoa, arugula, garbanzo beans, roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese.
- Drizzle with the dressing and garnish with basil. Season to taste. Serve at room temperature.
- You can cook the quinoa in advance, then prep and store the remaining ingredients in separate containers until you're ready to assemble this salad. I don't recommend tossing everything together too far in advance, otherwise the arugula will wilt.
Do you have a favorite Mediterranean style recipe you’d like to share? Leave a comment sharing what it is or a link to the recipe in the comments below.
Get more info on the Mediterranean Diet here. Here’s to more real good real food! Cheers! XO, Heidi
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