Whether you want to follow the Mediterranean Diet or you simply love the bright flavors of Mediterranean food, there is something for everyone on this list of Mediterranean recipes—from delicious Mediterranean dinners to protein-rich breakfasts, soups and salads, and even a little dessert! This list is just the beginning, we have an entire collection of Mediterranean Diet Recipes you'll love!
What is Mediterranean Food?
Mediterranean food is a delicious and exciting way to eat, spanning flavors from many cultures and countries from southern Europe to North Africa and the Middle East. There is so much to love about eating the Mediterranean way, and thankfully it is both balanced and healthy. (It's been consistently named the best diet by US News and World Report year after year.)
If you've been a reader of The Mediterranean Dish for any amount of time, you already know we have a large collection of modern Mediterranean recipes that celebrate the many flavors of the sunny region where I was born and raised.
One of the fun rituals I look forward to every December is updating my list with the BEST Mediterranean recipes of the year! It's a combination of fan favorites, personal favorites, and time-honored classics people turn to over and over again. I love digging into which recipes everyone tried and enjoyed the most this particular year. There are always Mediterranean food classics like shawarma, falafel, tomato cucumber salad that goes with everything, and the simple but delicious Greek salad, but there are also many brand-new recipes with exciting modern twists that have quickly become some of the most loved recipes on the site.
Whether you've stopped by to learn more about following the Mediterranean diet or just want healthier dinners with big, bright flavors, there is something for you on this list of top 30+ Mediterranean recipes to try this year.
Table of Contents
- What is Mediterranean Food?
- A Word About the Mediterranean Diet
- Mediterranean Breakfast Recipes
- Mediterranean Dinner Recipes
- Mediterranean Soups and Stews
- Mediterranean Salads and Sides
- Mediterranean Mezze, Sauces, Snacks and Extras
- Mediterranean Desserts and Breads
- Top Mediterranean Recipes to Try: Mediterranean Falafel Bowls Recipe
A Word About the Mediterranean Diet
Eating the Mediterranean diet is about emphasizing healthy fats like using quality extra virgin olive oil, vegetables and fruits, legumes and grains, and lean proteins including fish and poultry.
You won't find a list of dos and don'ts when eating the Mediterranean way, and yes, you can have a little dessert and a Negroni from time to time! It's as much about food as it is about living joyfully—happiness is also important to your health. To understand this way of eating better you can read more about what is the Mediterranean diet and how to follow it.
But, the majority of the recipes in this roundup follow the Mediterranean way of eating and are a great place to start! (And here is a handy shopping list to stock your pantry for Mediterranean cooking).
Now let's get to the best Mediterranean food recipes of the year!
Mediterranean Breakfast Recipes
Breakfast can be fast and flavorful. Here are some favorites from the past year, but trust me there are more where that came from. If you need even more Mediterranean Breakfast ideas we have you covered.
These egg muffins are inspired by the savory Greek phyllo pie spanakopita–with spinach, feta, parsley, and mint. These gluten-free, vegetarian egg bites are a delicious make-ahead breakfast or high-protein snack on the go.
A classic North African dish hailing from Tunisia, shakshuka is simply sunny side-up eggs braised in a chunky tomato sauce with bell peppers and onions. Use fresh tomatoes when they are in season, but feel free to make it with canned chopped tomatoes during the winter months.
This is not your typical diner hash! My twist on the American classic loads sweet potatoes with so much flavor thanks to aromatic za’atar and warming Mediterranean spices, along with chickpeas and bell pepper for added texture and flavor. And no Mediterranean breakfast is complete without black tea—I’m particularly partial to my freshly brewed Arabic tea with mint with these crispy potatoes.
The easiest way to make eggs! Simply bake them in the oven with fresh herbs and tangy feta cheese. This recipe is handy for fuss-free entertaining and busy weekday mornings alike, with focaccia for dunking and a fresh fruit salad on the side.
This is a meal you can make any time of the day, and because chickpeas are rich in protein and fiber, this toast will keep you satisfied for a while! Canned chickpeas make quick work of it, but if you want to make a big batch of dried chickpeas follow my recipe for How to Cook Chickpeas.
Mediterranean Dinner Recipes
What's for dinner? A question that's on everyone's mind, but can be difficult to answer. Not to worry! I have you covered with a handful of easy and delicious ideas—some traditional and some modern, but all with bold Mediterranean flavors!
This easy 15-minute shrimp recipe is such a sure-fire hit! Particularly with focaccia or couscous to capture the lemony, garlicky sauce. As Dianne so kindly put it in the comments, “This Shrimp scampi recipe was a thousand times better than any other shrimp scampi recipe that I've made or been served in a restaurant … It was one of the best meals that I've had all year!” You'll have to try it to see for yourself.
You only need 4 ingredients (including salt and pepper) to make this beloved Roman classic! Oh and a little elbow grease, so to speak! A strong, vigorous stir makes all the difference.
This easy recipe shows you how to make fall-apart-tender Greek lamb roast to feed a crowd. The key to it is in cooking the lamb with the vegetables in parchment paper, which traps the heat and allows the lamb to cook perfectly so it is succulent and extra tender.
These handmade potato gnocchi are admittedly a Sunday project, but this traditional recipe yields nearly two sheet pans' worth and freezes well. Think of learning how to make gnocchi as a base recipe, that you can use in any number of other recipes. Load them up with tomato sauce and a little cheese then bake in the oven for the ultimate comfort: Gnocchi alla Sorrentina. Give the classic chicken noodle soup a twist with our chicken gnocchi soup. Or keep it simple with sheet pan gnocchi and vegetables.
This sheet pan dinner puts a delicious and nutritious meal on your table with just about 10 minutes of hands-on time. As a bonus, the marinade doubles as a lemony salad dressing! Make yourself extra to toss with a simple arugula avocado salad while the chicken roasts.
Perfect whole roasted fish you can make in just 20 minutes! It's even better finished Greek-style with my lemony, garlicky ladolemono sauce.
Pide is a boat-shaped Turkish flatbread that’s sometimes affectionately called “Turkish pizza.” In this vegetarian recipe, a quick and easy dough is loaded with spinach, mushrooms, onion, feta cheese, red bell pepper. Aleppo pepper adds a nice mellow kick, but red pepper flakes work well in its place. Serve with ice cold ayran (Turkish salty yogurt drink) for the full Turkish street food experience!
A bold blend of warming Middle Eastern spices loads these chicken thighs with so much flavor! And they’re simply baked in the oven until perfectly juicy and tender. This recipe is consistently loved by The Mediterranean Dish community and my friends and family. Make a shawarma feast and serve with pita bread, tahini sauce or tzatziki sauce, and cucumber tomato salad. For a vegan option, try my spicy cauliflower shawarma!
This baked fish recipe has been a fan favorite for a long time! It's ready in just over 15 minutes and it's all about the garlic and lemon sauce. And you can use any white fish fillet you like.
Dinner bowls can be given the perfect Mediterranean twist. You can make falafel the traditional way, in the air fryer, or baked. Add them to a bowl with your favorite dip (I like hummus) and a salad. And to jazz it up even more, raid your fridge for some pickles and olives too!
Mediterranean Soups and Stews
When it comes to a cozy bowl of comfort look no further than the Mediterranean. You can find everything from plant-based protein powerhouses to seafood and, of course, chicken soup just like mom used to make.
In this easy recipe, I adapted the famous slow-simmered Provençal stew to fit a busy weeknight! I keep all the flavor and veggie-packed goodness but it’s ready in 45 minutes or so. And it just gets better the next day! Serve any which way you like–hot, room temperature, straight from the fridge, with a fried egg on top or on its own.
Nonnas call this chicken noodle soup “Italian penicillin,” and for good reason! Loaded with veggies, tiny pasta, delicate chicken broth, and parmesan cheese, this comforting soup is meant to warm the belly and ward off a winter cold. But it’s just as welcome when you're feeling good, and loved by adults and children alike. And it takes just one pot and 30 minutes! Homemade chicken stock is a special treat, but a store-bought version works well too. Serve with lemon parmesan lettuce salad or a simple green salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.
Cioppino, pronounced chuh-pee-no, is an intensely satisfying seafood stew containing a wonderful jumble of texture and flavor including clams, mussels, white fish, and shrimp, cooked in a bold tomato-fennel broth. This Italian-American fish stew is a great example of the many ways Mediterranean food has been adapted over the years.
Velvety and extra creamy vegan red lentil soup is finished the a drizzle of good olive oil and red pepper flakes. It's simple, uncomplicated, and totally delicious.
Mediterranean Salads and Sides
Probably one of the biggest things about eating the Mediterranean way that I love is the inclusion of big salads and vegetable sides in every meal! Here are just a handful of favorites in this category...
The base of this salad is tomatoes and cucumbers, dressed up with parsley and red onion. Finish it with some good extra virgin olive oil (I often use our Greek Early Harvest EVOO), lemon juice, and a dash of salt, pepper, and sumac! Enjoy on its own, serve over fish, tuck it into shawarma add it to your favorite grain bowl.
The quintessential Middle Eastern salad starring parsley, bulgur, and tomatoes. Personally, I like adding cucumbers for some crunch. You'll need fine bulgur wheat for this recipe, but if you are looking for a gluten-free option, try quinoa or make a cauliflower tabouli.
Big hunks of feta cheese make this simple salad such a show-stopper. But it’s what’s hiding beneath them that keeps me coming back for more! Crunchy raw cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, bell peppers, and red onion bring so much vibrant flavor and freshness. This table salad is meant to be versatile, but it goes particularly well with Greek roast meats like pork souvlaki and kleftiko (Greek lamb in parchment)
Another classic salad with bright Mediterranean flavors. Cubes of watermelon and cucumber, tossed in a simple honey and citrus dressing and finished with fresh herbs and feta. Save this for your mid-summer cooking! Everyone will love it.
Mediterranean Mezze, Sauces, Snacks and Extras
Shareable sides and small plates are commonly enjoyed in many Mediterranean countries to round out, start or complete a meal and they include some of my favorite recipes.
Think of hummus as another base recipe in your Mediterranean Diet toolbox. Keep it simple and use it as a dip with pita chips and vegetables or use it to make layered hummus with spiced meat, top it with Middle Eastern meatballs, or use it as a protein-packed spread for wraps or breakfast toast.
These bite-sized delights are a famous street food in Sicily. Risotto is stuffed with cheese, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried until crispy. Does it get much better? Enjoy as a crowd-pleasing appetizer, along with easy homemade spaghetti sauce or your favorite store-bought marinara for dipping
These crisp Italian pickles are surprisingly easy to make and so handy to keep at the ready in your fridge! Mix into antipasto salad, add to your cheese board or sandwiches, serve as a refreshing side to roasted meat–the list goes on!
Sometimes a quick side, easy dinner, or simple first course is just a can of beans away! In this easy weeknight recipe, canned butter beans simmer with lemon, herbs, and garlic until they are fully infused with flavor. This satisfying vegan option is ready in just 15 minutes.
With extra virgin olive oil, a bracing amount of fresh garlic, and a hint of lemon, this homemade aioli is a versatile and flavorful condiment. Go Provencial and stir it into your favorite soups, keep on hand to elevate sandwiches, and vegetable platters, or serve with roast artichokes, oven fries, and more!
Spaghetti sauce is so easy to make using a few staple ingredients you may already have on hand! Perfectly thick and packed with flavor, you'll be ditching that store-bought pasta sauce in no time!
Mediterranean Desserts and Breads
Everyone enjoys a treat from time to time and desserts are a welcome part of a balanced lifestyle. We lean toward desserts made with olive oil and less sugar, but all of the flavor, color, and beauty you can handle! If all else fails, fruit salad is a wonderful way to end a meal.
I am forever and always a baklava fan, but it turns out, many of our readers are too! Without fail every year, thousands of people will make this nutty baklava recipe with perfectly honeyed layers of phyllo. Best part, baklava is a great make-ahead dessert because it's even better the next day. And if you're looking for a fun, modern take on it, try cheesecake baklava!
Originally published in The Mediterranean Dish Cookbook, this one is the top dessert of the year! There is no cake as moist as an olive oil cake, in my humble opinion. But that's not all...this cake is laced with a little cardamom and a good bit of orange! Serve it with tea or your favorite hot drink.
Persian love cake is a moist and light cake flavored with citrus, cardamom, cinnamon, and rosewater. Finished with a tart lemon glaze and a final sprinkle of rose petals and crushed pistachios. While technically not in the Mediterranean many Persian recipes share flavors with neighboring Mediterranean countries. The use of rosewater among them.
Once you master this crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside Italian bread you'll make it on repeat! This recipe comes with all the tips and tricks you need, plus, you'll love the big flavors from rosemary and roasted garlic! Use it to make pizza or a vegetarian focaccia sandwich.
If you don't have a Middle Eastern bakery near you, then you should for sure try making your own perfect, pillowy pita bread! This is an easy recipe that takes a few ingredients you probably already have. And you can make pita bread in the oven or a skillet. Pita freezes well, so you can make a big batch if you like!
*This post is updated every year to reflect readers' choices and top Mediterranean recipes for the given year. Browse all Mediterranean recipes here.
Top Mediterranean Recipes to Try: Mediterranean Falafel Bowls
- Hummus, homemade or store bought (other dip options in the notes)
- Tabouli or Salad of Choice, use this homemade tabouli salad recipe (other salad options in the notes)
- 16 Falafels, prepared ahead from this authentic falafel recipe or air-fryer falafel recipe, or store-bought from your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant
- 2 Medium Vine-Ripe Tomatoes, halved and sliced
- 1 English Cucumber, halved and sliced
- 6 Radishes, halved and sliced
- ½ Medium Red Onion, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces Feta Cheese, sliced
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling, try our rich and peppery Early Harvest or Spanish Hojiblanca EVOO
- Sumac, optional for seasoning
- Using shallow dinner bowls, start by spreading about 3 to 4 tablespoons of hummus on one side. Next, add the salad, then add 3 to 4 falafel patties.
- Fill the empty spots in your bowls with the fresh vegetables, olive and pickles, and sliced feta cheese.
- Finish each bowl with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of sumac to season (optional).
- Prepare ahead tips: You can make the falafel mixture and form into patties according to this recipe ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to cook them. You can cook falafel from frozen. You can also prepare the salad of your choice and hummus and keep them refrigerated in separate containers for 2 to 3 days.
- Variations: Omit the feta cheese to keep these dinner bowls vegan. You can use other fresh vegetables in your fridge such as carrots, celery, bell peppers, or cauliflower. Swap the hummus for another Mediterranean dip. Add rice or grain of your choice, or substitute the salad for some leftover cooked vegetables like sautéed zucchini or roasted cauliflower. Review the full post for more ideas!
- Visit Our Shop to browse quality olive oils, spices, and other ingredients for Mediterranean cooking!