Best New Mediterranean Diet Recipes of 2020
Once again in 2020, experts hailed the Mediterranean Diet as the best diet to follow for a third year in a row. It seems that trendy diets have nothing on this generations-old way of living and eating. Interested in the Mediterranean Diet but don't know where to start? The Allrecipes community stepped up with loads of great recipes this year and here we've rounded up the most popular recipes that follow the main principles of the Med diet -- full of vegetables, sparing use of meat and dairy, and lots of healthy fat derived from what many call "liquid gold," a.k.a. extra-virgin olive oil.
Mediterranean Chickpea Stew
Legumes of all sorts feature prominently in the Mediterranean Diet and make the perfect foundation for a plant-based meal. This recipe by Allrecipes Allstar Buckwheat Queen features chickpeas, vegetables, and lots of olive oil -- the essence of the Mediterranean Diet in one recipe!
Chef John's rendition of this traditional Greek garlic dip is spot-on Mediterranean Diet: it's vegan and features lots of olive oil, which helps to emulsify the garlic-potato mixture into velvety goodness. A minimum of 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil per day is often what is recommended for those following a strict Mediterranean Diet.
Moroccan Lentil Stew
This top-rated stew from Allrecipes Allstar Kim's Cooking Now is full of Mediterranean goodness: lentils, vegetables, and olive oil. As Kim explains, "This hearty stew is loaded with vegetables, so it's easy on the waistline! I recently re-joined WW, and am searching for ways to incorporate more legumes and veggies in my diet, and this recipe makes that easy. The warm Moroccan spices ensure a flavorful stew." While Kim keeps the olive oil to a minimum to fit a low-calorie diet plan, for a true Mediterranean Diet meal feel free to garnish each serving with additional extra-virgin olive oil to taste.
Healthier Slow Cooker Gumbo
When we hear "gumbo" we don't typically immediately think of the Mediterranean Diet. But this healthy vegetable-heavy gumbo makeover actually checks all of the boxes. Just be sure to use olive oil where the recipe calls for vegetable oil.
Vegan Mushroom Risotto
Grains feature prominently in the Mediterranean Diet, making the foundation for many meals. This mushroom risotto is true to its Italian roots, as it doesn't call for any heavy cream and instead relies on the starch from the rice to build creaminess. With lots of mushrooms and olive oil both taking centerstage in this meatless risotto, it's a winning Mediterranean Diet meal when made complete with a salad or green vegetables on the side.
Tuscan White Beans in Tomato Sauce
Do as recipe contributor Buckwheat Queen suggests and serve this Italian bean dish as a main course alongside a salad or veggie side dish, and you've got a healthy yet hearty Mediterranean Diet meal.
Mediterranean Chicken and Pepper Casserole
This recipe embodies the principle of the Mediterranean Diet that uses meat and poultry in small amounts. Here, one chicken breast is divided between two servings, while the dish is rounded out with lots of vegetables, pasta, and some cheese.
Easy Mediterranean Seafood Stew
Lots of seafood stewed in a light tomato broth, perfect with grilled sourdough garlic bread and a glass of white wine on the side. Recipes like this make following the Mediterranean Diet easy!
Hummus Salad Dressing
This salad dressing stands out as a great Mediterranean Diet staple, not just because it's olive oil-based but because the hummus adds extra nutrition to any number of salads. The five-star reviews say it all: "Light and refreshing! I made the recipe as is and beyond that I wouldn't change anything."
"Eggplant and mushrooms are braised in hearty red wine for a vegetarian version of the classic French stew. Serve over rice or noodles for a complete vegetarian meal."
Coconut Farro Porridge
Whole grains make up a significant part of the Mediterranean Diet pyramid, and this farro porridge is a unique and delicious way to incorporate them into your breakfast routine. A great change from the typical bowl of oatmeal, you'll love this vegan porridge!
One-Pot Shrimp Scampi Orzo
Seafood is an important part of the Mediterranean Diet and this recipe is a great example of a healthy shrimp main dish. Serve with a big green salad or ample seasonal vegetables sautéed in olive oil and you've got a winning Mediterranean Diet meal.
Mediterranean Bento Box
Packing lunch doesn't mean you can't keep to your Mediterranean Diet plan. This bento box is full of variety and Mediterranean goodness -- hummus, vegetables, olives, and more. To make it even more Mediterranean Diet friendly, make wholegrain farro or bulgur instead of couscous and use an olive oil-based vinaigrette or salad dressing.
Instant Pot Lebanese Lentil Soup
A bright and colorful lentil soup that's easy to make in your Instant Pot. Do as suggested and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil to make the minimum of 4 tablespoons per day that's recommended for those following a strict Mediterranean Diet.
Spaghetti with Tuna and Capers
A simple Mediterranean meal that's easy to make with ingredients right out of the pantry. Keep these staples on hand for any time you want a Mediterranean Diet friendly meal in a flash. Serve with a fresh green salad on the side lightly tossed in an olive oil-based vinaigrette for extra Med Diet points!
Greek Horiatiki Salad
Garden-fresh vegetables drenched in extra-virgin olive oil? There's not much that screams "Mediterranean Diet" more than that! In a classic Greek horiatiki, the feta cheese is served in a whole chunk or slab on top, rather than being crumbled into the salad. Though not the original intention of this tradition, it just happens to lend itself to portion control and more mindful eating.
Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Parmesan
This plant-forward pasta dish is full of flavor thanks to roasting cauliflower in olive oil and garnishing with a spicy bread crumb mixture. Just use extra olive oil at the end instead of the 2 tablespoons of butter to keep this true to the Mediterranean Diet.
Moroccan Shrimp Tagine
This seafood tagine is full of vegetables, olives, olive oil, herbs, and spices. Paired with freshly steamed couscous it's a deliciously unique Mediterranean Diet meal.
Instant Pot Vegan Cauliflower Soup
The trick to making this vegan soup creamy is lots of extra-virgin olive oil blended in just before serving. This trick not only creates a very delicious and luxurious tasting soup, but makes it Mediterranean Diet friendly.
Mushroom and Farro Soup
Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil in this soup and you've got a hearty, warming Mediterranean Diet meal. The glowing reviews say it all: "This may be one of the top recipes I have found on Allrecipes. It is remarkably uncomplicated, requires no special ingredients or equipment, and produces a delicious soup that fills the house with happy aromas."
Looking for more ideas to get your Mediterranean Diet meal plan started, like this Kale, White Bean, and Farro Stew? Check out these articles and recipe collections for more inspiration: