Mediterranean Cuisine Is Feel-Good, Uncomplicated Eating. Here Are 5 Recipes That Celebrate Just That.

published Sep 4, 2020
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Credit: Kristin Teig; Food Styling: Catrine Kelty

The very best meals are the ones that come together effortlessly and yet end up feeling so much greater than the sum of their parts. It’s the stale cubes of bread that, when combined with enough juicy tomatoes, become so bloated with flavor you wonder if all bread is better off stale. Or the spaghetti that’s tossed with nothing but cheese, pepper, and olive oil — hardly enough ingredients to make something taste good, and yet it’s incredible. Basically, it’s Mediterranean cuisine.

Mediterranean cuisine is feel-good, uncomplicated eating, which is why I (and so many others) have fallen in love with it. While some cuisines require years of study and practice to perfect, Mediterranean food is more of a feeling than a practice. My very first cookbook, Mediterranean Every Day, celebrates this truth, and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you. My hope is that it teaches you to cook this cuisine with confidence and flexibility in your own kitchen.

Mediterranean Food Is Relaxed, Flexible Food

I fully support embracing laziness in the kitchen. Gather basics from your pantry, throw in whatever colorful vegetables you have and some odds and ends from your fridge or freezer, and dinner can be delicious without being a struggle.

The flavors of the Mediterranean fall perfectly in line with this approach. Olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese wedges, fresh herbs, and seasonal vegetables such as juicy tomatoes and leafy greens are pillars of the cuisine that double as dead-simple meal starters. My book is built around this type of food: unfussy yet naturally vibrant. It’s food that deserves popping open your favorite bottle of wine for, whether it’s the end of a long Wednesday or a quiet, low-key Saturday.

Credit: Kristin Teig; Food Styling: Catrine Kelty

Mediterranean Food Is Wholesome Food

Of course, you can’t talk about Mediterranean food without talking about the Mediterranean diet. As a Registered Dietitian, it’s the only diet I fully support and recommend because it’s not really a diet in the traditional sense at all. Instead, it’s a way of eating that’s been done for centuries that takes an “everything in moderation” approach. Nothing is off the table — even that glass of wine or slice of chocolate cake. Instead, the focus is on feel-good ingredients like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. These ingredients are naturally rich in nutrients like fiber, protein, and heart-healthy fats — plus, they’re naturally delicious.

Everyday Meals That Feel Inspired

I set out to write a usable cookbook — not simply one that’s pretty to look at. Voyeuristic cookbooks are fun to flip through, and I own plenty of them myself, but they’re not the ones that become tattered and worn on my shelf. My hope is you’ll get excited about every single one of the 75+ recipes tucked inside my book (or at least a handful) and confidently head into the kitchen and bring them to the table rather than flip the page.

Whether it’s a fresh and colorful salad, a vegetable-packed pasta, or a light and easy skillet full of tasty things that deserve crusty bread for dipping and swiping, I hope these recipes are brought to life in your homes again and again. Even if it’s mid-week, pour yourself a glass of wine or make yourself a cocktail — there are some easy-drinking three-ingredient ones on the first few pages — while you’re cooking. This is fun food as much as it’s feel-good food.

Credit: Kristin Teig; Food Styling: Catrine Kelty

A Few of My Favorite Recipes from Mediterranean Every Day

There are so many recipes I am excited to share with you from my cookbook — here are just a few of them to get you headed into the kitchen.

1 / 5
Cacio e Pepe Farinata
Whether you call it socca or farinata, this gluten-free chickpea flour flatbread is the perfect appetizer or snack — especially when showered with Pecorino cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
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2 / 5
Orzo Skillet with Shrimp and Feta
Tomato-y orzo meets sweet shrimp, salty feta, and fresh mint in this Greek-inspired skillet dinner.
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3 / 5
Broccoli Steaks with Walnut-Raisin Salsa
Broccoli moves to the center of the plate in this simple yet showstopping vegetarian main dish.
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4 / 5
Salmon in Crazy Water
This Italian-inspired recipe features salmon fillets gently poached in a garlicky fresh tomato broth.
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5 / 5
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
This ultra-moist chocolate cake is deep and rich in flavor and best served with whipped cream and toasted hazelnuts.
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