We've heard for years about the wonders of the Mediterranean diet. Featuring foods like olive oil, whole grains, fish, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, it's considered an all-around healthy way of eating. Even if you don't adopt it completely, it's easy to work a few more Mediterranean-inspired meals into your weekly menu plan, even if it's just for the bright and satisfying flavors alone.
Here are 25 of our favorite recipes — from breakfast to dinner to snacks — that will help you do just that.
Forget the mayo-laden tuna salad you know so well and instead embrace this lighter, much more colorful version. Olive oil-packed tuna, crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, and briny kalamata olives are tossed with lots of fresh chopped parsley and oregano and dressed with nothing but olive oil and lemon juice.
We love this flavorful dish as a party appetizer, but it also makes a great main dish when served with pita or a side of rice. The fiber and protein in these meatballs gets a bit of a boost from the cooked lentils that are mixed in.
There are numerous ways to make falafel, and this red-lentil version is a good one to add to your repertoire. It makes a great weeknight meal since the falafels are baked instead of deep-fried. Not only will you save time and mess, but you'll end up with a lighter dish with no loss of flavor.
Don't be fooled by the name of this salad — there isn't actually any couscous in it. Instead, cauliflower processed to resemble the texture of couscous takes its place. It's a great way to add some extra veggies to your family's dinner.
We'll take a pita sandwich for lunch or dinner any day; it's one of the easiest ways to assemble a really full and hearty sandwich without having to worry too much about the fillings falling out. This veggie version is stuffed with carrots, spinach, chickpeas, feta, and hummus or baba ghanoush.
Don't limit your pita consumption just to lunch time — this bread also makes it easy to enjoy a healthy breakfast sandwich on the go. We especially like to stuff ours with cucumbers, tomatoes, and hard-boiled eggs for a fresh and filling start to the morning.
This weeknight dinner is easier than it seems, thanks to a time-saving trick. Use a rotisserie chicken for the stew and you can have the flavorful dish on the table in just 20 minutes. Plus, once you try the raisin-studded cinnamon couscous, we doubt you'll want it any other way.
Like many of the dishes in this list, this simple wrap makes use of a few key Mediterranean ingredients: chickpeas, cucumber, feta, and tomatoes. Make these in advance so you have a quick meal or snack handy at a moment's notice.
One of the best things about Mediterranean cuisine is the mezze platter filled with olives, pita, cold salads, and dips. This platter from the now-shuttered restaurant Ortine is one of our favorites, thanks to the five-bean salad and curry pickled eggplant. It's great as an appetizer or a light meal.
If you haven't cooked with freekeh before, consider this dish your invitation. The collards and fennel give it a fresh taste, and if you buy the cracked version of the grain, it only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook.
This steak recipe makes use of one of our favorite specialty ingredients: pomegranate molasses. The tart-tangy syrup is combined with mint and garlic to create the sauce that goes on this steak after it's cooked in a searing-hot cast iron pan.
We'll never say no to cheese straws, and this spicy Mediterranean version made with cayenne pepper is one of the best we've tried. If you have the time, make the hummus and tapenade from scratch as well.
This dish is the perfect choice when you need something comforting and flavorful. The artichokes and parsley keep things light, while the cheese and olives add a satisfying saltiness.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is just an ordinary meatball — it has a strong Mediterranean flavor profile and is filled with onion, ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves. It's best served with a healthy slathering of tzatziki atop pillowy flatbread.
If you want a crowd-pleaser, go for this recipe. The yogurt helps tenderize the chicken, making it nearly impossible for it to dry out. Tossed with cucumbers, tomatoes, and a creamy sauce, it's a lunch or dinner combo that can do no wrong.
Think of this as a kind of Mediterranean slaw, but instead of cabbage and mayonnaise, it's filled with shredded carrots and a creamy tahini dressing. There's also a bit of crunch from the spiced chickpeas that are mixed in.
If you're looking for a lighter pasta salad, look no further. This simple version doesn't rely on a heavy dressing; it gets its flavor from the salty feta, olives, and a light lemon vinaigrette.
Yes, it's a bit intimidating to make grape leaves on your own, but it's better than relying on a bad canned or takeout version. This recipe is best for a large party, as it makes upwards of 60 dolmades. Consider this a project to tackle for your next big bash.
19. Easy Lamb Kebabs
If you're a little wary of cooking lamb, this recipe is a perfect gateway into enjoying the meat. You can buy ground lamb from your grocery store or butcher, and then simply shape the patties or cylinders to be grilled or cooked in the cast iron pan. If lamb isn't to your liking, you can sub in ground beef.
This simple, vegetable-forward dish filled with chard, chickpeas, and carrots proves that healthy and delicious can also be fast. The veggies get an extra-special boost of flavor from the combination of spices used to season the dish.
You can't go wrong with this classic. It combines romaine lettuce, cucumbers, red onion, and chicken with salty olives and feta for a decidedly Greek flavor profile. Make your own lemony croutons and top with a creamy yogurt dressing for a final touch.
These stuffed tomatoes are one of our go-to summer side dishes. The blistered tomatoes are the perfect vessel for the cheesy couscous salad. If you can't wait until prime tomato season to try this, you can serve the couscous salad as a side on its own.
Whether you add it to a mezze platter or serve it as an afternoon snack, this salty tapenade is one we like to keep on hand for a quick cocktail-hour nibble. It's incredibly easy to make — all it takes is whirling together the ingredients in a food processor.
We're always on the lookout for vegetarian recipes for the grill, and this eggplant "burger" doesn't disappoint. Of course, the thick slabs of halloumi cheese definitely earn points in its favor.
When you end up with leftover lamb from a spring dinner party, the ideal solution is to make next-day lamb pita sandwiches. Add in plenty of veggies or greens and a healthy dollop of your favorite tzatziki before digging in.