Healthy Eating Tips/ Healthy Kitchen

Mediterranean Diet Recipes — Healthy and Delicious

Ratatouille in a dish

Healthy Mediterranean diet recipes are among the most delicious on the planet, filled with fresh produce and whole grains. And a great perk is that many classic dishes are naturally vegan — not veganized — making this group of cuisines perfect for the plant-based diet.

The value of the Mediterranean diet has been borne out by years of research. Numerous studies have shown that the lifestyle and dietary habits of Greeks and Italians, among other regional nationalities, contributes to long life expectancy and low rates of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic disease. The best part is that the ingredients are readily available anywhere, and are especially good way to experience seasonal eating.

 mediterranean diet

Because Mediterranean cuisine encompasses a number of nations, climates, and topographies, it’s not always easy to define it in a nutshell. Some of the regions whose cuisine is considered Mediterranean are Italy, Greece, Spain, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, and coastal Egypt and France. Common to these national cuisines is an affinity for olive oil (in fact, the use of olive oil in some regions delivers 40% of daily calories from fat, yet without adverse effect, due to its composition).

The diet is largely plant-based, filled with a profusion of vitamin- and antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables, high-fiber grains and legumes, and complex carbohydrate-rich pastas and breads. Garlic is used generously in nearly every region. And every cuisine utilizes plentiful herbs and spices to play up its unique character—from Morocco’s sweet mixes of cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric to Italy’s aromatic herbs—basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and more.

The national cuisines that comprise the Mediterranean diet have many elements in common with one another. Olive oil and garlic lead the way and are characteristic to all the cuisines; vegetables, fruits, grains, breads, legumes, and fresh herbs round out the basic pantry.

Moroccan Vegatable Stew from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seassons


Mediterranean Diet Recipes

NORTHERN AFRICA (Morocco, Egypt)
Chickpeas, lentils, nuts, carrots, pumpkins and other squashes, rice, fava beans, dried fruits, sweet spices, flatbreads, mint

Well-known dishes: Couscous, tagine (vegetable stew)—Morocco; foul (fava beans with red lentils), koshary (macaroni with rice and lentils)—Egypt


Pasta and bean soup1


Ingredients: Pastas, semolina breads, beans, cornmeal, Arborio rice, artichokes, asparagus, fennel, mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes, olives, green leafy vegetables, fresh herbs (parsley, basil, rosemary, and others)

Well-known dishes: Risotto, polenta, minestrone, pasta e fagioli (pasta and bean soup, shown above), pesto sauce


Greek Flavored Lentil Salad with Tofu "Feta"


Ingredients: Rice, lentils, olives, eggplant, tomatoes, lemon, spinach, dill

Well-known dishes: Moussaka (eggplant casserole, which can be made meatless), dolmathes (rice-stuffed grape leaves), Greek salad


Cauliflower tabbouleh

MIDDLE EAST (Israel, Lebanon)

Ingredients: Chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), cracked wheat, olives, tomatoes, eggplant, yogurt, flatbreads, fresh fruits (apricots, dates), parsley

Well-known dishes: Hummus (chickpea dip) baba ghanouj (eggplant dip), tabouleh (cracked wheat and parsley salad), jalik (cucumber soup), falafel


Chickpea Fritters with Romesco Sauce

Peppers (both sweet and hot), potatoes, rice, beans, olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, oranges, saffron

Well-known dishes: Piperade (sauteed peppers), paella (rice, vegetables, can certainly be made without the characteristic seafood), Romesco sauce (with hot red peppers)


ratatouille stew recipe

FRANCE (specifically Provence)

Ingredients: Potatoes, tomatoes, onions, leeks, olives, eggplant, squash, sweet peppers, white beans, fennel, grapes and other fresh and dried fruits, fresh herbs (thyme, marjoram, sage, basil, etc.)

Well-known dishes: Ratatouille (vegetable stew), soupe au pistou (vegetable soup with pesto sauce), onion soup, white bean stews


For lots more features on healthy lifestyle, please explore VegKitchen’s Healthy Vegan Kitchen page.

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