Consider this your Mediterranean diet menu: These lunch and dinner ideas make following the Mediterranean diet easier (and tastier) than ever.
Why the Mediterranean Diet Gets a Gold Star
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The Mediterranean diet has been winning "best diet" awards for years now, and for good reason: Following a Mediterranean diet has been linked to reduced risk of disease and better heart health, according to the Mayo Clinic.
But the best part about the Mediterranean diet isn't that it's a concrete plan or dedicated to helping you drop pounds; rather, it's a way of eating that incorporates healthy fats, lots of fresh produce, and whole grains. Translation: You can do it for your entire life and never feel like you're actually dieting. (In fact, studies show you can lose weight on the Mediterranean diet without cutting any calories.)
Snag some of these easy Mediterranean diet recipes to create your own Mediterranean meal plan, or sprinkle them into your week to add some flair (and all the health perks) to your healthy eating routine.
The Ultimate Mediterranean Bowl
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For the girl who just can't get enough Mediterranean flavors, say hello to your new fave. Falafel, parsley salad, hummus, olives, and whatever sauces your heart desires meet up in one delicious bowl. (Try these other bowl recipes for warm winter comfort food.)
Get the recipe: The Ultimate Mediterranean Bowl
Photo: Minimalist Baker
Mediterranean Potato Hash with Asparagus, Chickpeas, and Poached Eggs
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This potato hash recipe combines chickpeas, asparagus, tomatoes, feta, and poached eggs with za'atar, allspice, and paprika for a delicious Mediterranean diet dish.
Photo: The Mediterranean Dish
Israeli Pasta Salad
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This veggie-packed pasta salad actually tastes better after a day or two in the fridge. So if you make a big batch on the weekend, you'll have delicious healthy lunches for days. Talk about Mediterranean diet meal planning, made easy!
Get the recipe: Israeli Pasta Salad
Photo: The View From Great Island
Cauliflower Pizza with Greek Yogurt Pesto and Grilled Veggies
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Low in carbs, high in protein, this extra-crunchy cauliflower pizza from Taylor Kiser of Food Faith Fitness is topped with nutrient-rich grilled veggies, eggs, Greek yogurt, and savory herbs and spices. It's enough flavor to make your Italian guests cry out, "Mamma mia!"
Get the recipe: Cauliflower Pizza with Greek Yogurt Pesto and Grilled Veggies
Photo: Taylor Kiser
Greek Shrimp Farro Bowl
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If you've never given farro a try, this pretty bowl of goodness will have you stopping by the grocery store on your way home tonight. Farro has basically zero fat, is a great source of fiber, and an even better source of bone-boosting calcium. It's a little denser than brown rice and is a bit more substantial than quinoa. This bowl takes only 35 minutes to make—perfect for meal-prep days. Obsessed? Try these healthy recipes featuring high-fiber foods.)
Get the recipe: Greek Shrimp Farro Bowl
Photo: Impromptu Kitchen
One-Pot Greek Chicken with Lemon Rice
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One pot, lots of flavor. This might not be a traditional Greek recipe, but the ingredients (chicken, olive oil, oregano) are a delicious nod to the region and are some of the most versatile Mediterranean diet foods.
Get the recipe: One-Pot Greek Chicken with Lemon Rice
Photo: Recipe Tin Eats
Greek Turkey Meatball Gyro with Tzatziki
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Swap in ground turkey for lamb in this gyro recipe. The homemade tzatziki with Greek yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, and dill takes the wrap to the next level.
Get the recipe: Greek Turkey Meatball Gyro with Tzatziki
Photo: Joyful Healthy Eats
Spinach, Feta, and Artichoke Matzo Mina
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This off-the-charts Greek-style casserole makes an ideal meal is you're craving lasagna. Seasoned with dill, lemon zest, and other unmistakably Mediterranean flavors, it makes a great meal for vegetarians for lunch—or serve it as a side dish at your Passover Seder.
Get the recipe: Spinach, Feta, and Artichoke Matzo Mina
Photo: Tori Avery
Mediterranean Salad with Grilled Chicken Skewers
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Deconstruct your favorite Greek pita sandwich and—ta da—you have a genius Mediterranean diet salad idea! Feta, cucumbers, and tomatoes pump up the health factor, and grilled chicken rounds out your plate. This could just turn into your new favorite salad.
Greek Salad Tacos
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Give the classic Greek salad a slightly heartier twist by throwing the good-for-you ingredients into a tortilla. The Creativity Exchange's recipe calls for an extra-flavorful cucumber-dill dressing to really amp up those Mediterranean flavors.
Get the recipe: Greek Salad Tacos
Photo: The Creativity Exchange
Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken
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There are fewer dishes to wash with this recipe; the entire meal cooks in the slow cooker. Chop an onion and roasted red peppers, then toss in with the chicken, olives, and seasonings before cooking on low for four hours.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken
Photo: Le Creme de la Crumb
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Sautéed spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta are the base of this Greek-inspired quesadilla. The homemade tzatziki sauce elevates the dish to a masterpiece of Mediterranean flavor.
Get the recipe: Greek Quesadillas
Photo: Damn Delicious
Spiced Pan-Roasted Chicken with Olives, Figs, and Mint
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Add mint to your usual oven-roasted chicken, and it becomes a whole new meal with a Mediterranean diet twist. Plus, it has perks: Mint has been known to alleviate digestion issues. Olives add flavor for very few calories (five olives only have 26 calories), while figs add a natural sweetness. This chicken dish by Russell Bry, concept chef of Yalla Mediterranean in California, just might become your new go-to.
Photo: Sang An
Mediterranean Herb Shrimp with Penne
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This easy Mediterranean diet recipe uses a premade Mediterranean spice plus Neufchâtel cheese to give the penne that creamy flavor without loading up on fat and calories. Bonus: Add broccoli to get a serving of veggies.
Get the recipe: Mediterranean Herb Shrimp with Penne
Hearty Mediterranean Salad with Balsamic Chicken
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This veggie-filled salad makes a perfect meal-prepped Mediterranean diet lunch. The fresh bread, balsamic chicken, and chickpeas—plus tons of crunchy, high-fiber peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes—will leave you super satisfied.
Get the recipe: Heart Mediterranean Salad with Balsamic Chicken
Roasted Herb Salmon
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Salmon is at the top of the healthy Mediterranean diet foods list. Flavor it with herbs, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard, and it transforms into a decadent (but still super-healthy) main dish.
Get the recipe: Roasted Herb Salmon
Photo: vanillaechoes / Shutterstock
Pasta with Basil Tapenade
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Like a pesto but with a hearty kalamata olive base, this basil tapenade makes for a punchy pasta topper or spread for toast, sandwiches, or other Mediterranean diet dishes.
Get the recipe: Pasta with Basil Tapenade
Mediterranean Flatbread Pizza
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Make these healthy Mediterranean diet-friendly pizzas with pita or naan bread and a homemade white bean spinach pesto, and you'll satisfy your greasy pizza cravings without racking up the calories (or your takeout budget).
Get the recipe: Mediterranean Flatbread Pizza
Photo: Nicole Crane
Mediterranean Chopped Salad
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Stop boring yourself with lame lettuce salads, and try this dietitian-approved Mediterranean chopped salad recipe for a fresh way load up on veggies. Capers and kalamata olives add a flavor punch, while avocado, hearts of palm, and artichoke hearts give it a meaty texture.
Get the recipe: Mediterranean Chopped Salad
Photo: Valorie Darling
Tuna Niçoise Lettuce Wraps
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Try adding this make-ahead recipe to your Mediterranean diet meal plan for easy lunches or dinners that are on the table in a snap. Just prep the tuna, potatoes, and vinaigrette, then you can throw a wrap together in a flash.
Get the recipe: Tuna Niçoise Lettuce Wraps
Photo: Maksim Toome / Shutterstock
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Beet, turnip, and sweet potato chips make the perfect healthy base for these easy Mediterranean diet nachos. Once you try them, you'll want these spiced chickpeas and homemade tahini-yogurt sauce on everything.
Get the recipe: Mediterranean Nachos
Photo: Sarah Schiear
Greek Super Grains Salad
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Crunchy veggies (like tri-colored bell peppers and cucumber) get tossed with chopped tomatoes, feta, and olives for traditional Greek flavor. Add quinoa (or the grain of your choice) and it's instantly elevated from a snack to this filling salad. A little red wine vinegar and quality olive oil and you're good to go.
Get the recipe: Greek Super Grains Salad
Photo: Eats Well With Others
Avgolemono Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
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Avgolemono (say that five times fast) is a Greek lemony chicken soup. It's dense and creamy, but that thickness comes from eggs, not cream. This soup is filled with shredded chicken, orzo, and lemon juice (which has pain-relieving qualities).
Get the recipe: Avgolemono Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
Photo: I Heart Eating
Salmon Souvlaki Bowls
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Souvlakia are Greek skewers with grilled meat or veggies. This recipe is a deconstructed bowl version that's Mediterranean diet–friendly. (We've already established that bowl recipes are amazing.) The salmon is marinated and grilled before being assembled with couscous, colorful vegetables, and tzatziki.
Get the recipe: Salmon Souvlaki Bowls
Photo: Half Baked Harvest
Vegan Smoky Moussaka
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If you love eggplant parm, you should totally try moussaka, a Greek dish with baked eggplant, tomato sauce, béchamel, and often ground meat. Herbivores can get in on the action with this vegan version. It replaces ground beef with smoky tofu and is topped with a dairy-free béchamel.
Get the recipe: Vegan Smoky Moussaka
Photo: Full of Plants
Greek Fish Tacos
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If a gyro and a taco had a baby, it would be these delicious Greek fish tacos from Gimme Some Oven, which swap pita for a tortilla and salsa for some tzatziki. Choose your favorite white fish to sauté, then top with red cabbage, tomatoes, olives, cucumber, and feta for Mediterranean diet tacos that rival your Mexican faves.
Get the recipe: Greek Fish Tacos
Photo: Gimme Some Oven
Sesame Cucumber Greek Yogurt Bowl
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News flash: Tangy Greek yogurt doesn't always need to be paired with sweet granola or berries. Try this sweet, spicy, and savory combo for a Mediterranean diet–inspired snack that works any time of day.
Get the recipe: Sesame Cucumber Greek Yogurt Bowl
Stuffed Peppers with Mediterranean Spiced Quinoa
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Kalamata olives, feta, chickpeas, and pesto give this version of stuffed peppers an easy Mediterranean diet flare. To bump up the protein content even more, try adding ground turkey too.
Get the recipe: Stuffed Peppers with Mediterranean Spiced Quinoa
Mediterranean Chicken and Barley Salad
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Thanks to super-high-fiber barley, this salad is super filling. Make it as part of a Mediterranean diet meal plan for easy lunches or dinners.
Get the recipe: Mediterranean Chicken and Barley Salad
Photo: Anna Shepulova / Shutterstock
Sicilian Tuna and Beans
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This salad only takes five minutes to assemble; toss it together in the morning to tote to work for lunch, or whip it up as a healthy dinner when you're short on time and energy.
Photo: Ted Cavanaugh
Mediterranean Roasted Cabbage Steaks with Basil Pesto and Feta
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Vegetarian keto recipes that taste like pizza? Yes, please! This one has basil pesto, two types of cheeses, a handful of chopped artichokes, and plenty of tomatoes to make this meal a Mediterranean diet delight.
Get the recipe: Mediterranean Roasted Cabbage Steaks with Basil Pesto and Feta
Photo: Inspector Gorgeous
Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup
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Put a fancy twist on your old-school chicken noodle; swap out noodles for orzo pasta and flavor with lemon, basil, and dill. When you're ready to eat, just add boiling water. At under 300 calories, it makes the perfect Mediterranean diet–friendly soup.
Photo: Ted Cavanaugh
Spanish Garlic Shrimp
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Step up your traditional shrimp cocktail (and keep it both paleo and Mediterranean diet–friendly) with this delicious and nutritious recipe for Spanish Garlic Shrimp. Shrimp meets nearly 100 percent of your daily needs for selenium—an important nutrient that supports a healthy heart and immune system.
Get the recipe: Spanish Garlic Shrimp
Photo: The Foodie Physician
Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant with Tahini Sauce
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This Mediterranean dish is simple to throw together on busy weeknights—just toss tomatoes, mushrooms, and quinoa into an eggplant half. The homemade tahini sauce elevates the flavors of the fresh vegetables. (Related: 10 Ways to Cook with Tahini That Involve Hummus)
Get the recipe: Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant with Tahini Sauce
Photo: Simply Quinoa
Crock-Pot Chicken Thighs with Artichokes and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
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Throw chicken in a slow cooker with sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes for a Mediterranean-style dinner. (Related: 9 Healthy Crock-Pot Recipes You Need to Try)
Get the recipe: Crock-Pot Chicken Thighs with Artichokes and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Mediterranean White Bean Salad
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Thanks to canned beans and store-bought pesto, this salad could not be any easier. Serve it alongside burgers, steak, and chicken, or pack it up for a healthy lunch. (Find more inspiration here: 9 Healthy Recipes That Turn a Can of Beans Into a Meal)
Photo: Yalla Mediterranean
Vegan Mediterranean Salad
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Easy, quick, and delicious, this salad is a great "no-time-to-cook" Mediterranean diet standby. It fills you up with protein from hummus and tempeh (an amazing vegan protein source) and leaves nothing to be desired on the flavor front!
Get the recipe: Vegan Mediterranean Salad
Photo: Gekko Gallery / Shutterstock
Simple Spanish Tortilla
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This classic Spanish dish works for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or for family-style tapas. Even better: this low-carb version uses celeriac (celery root) instead of potatoes, making it the perfect way to eat healthy on a Mediterranean diet.
Get the recipe: Simple Spanish Tortilla
Photo: DAN JONES
Individual Spicy Greek Layered Dips
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Like a savory parfait, this easy Mediterranean diet recipe is a perfect portable snack or lunch option that you can make ahead of time for easy eating. Layers of tzatziki sauce, fresh veggies, and fragrant herbs also make the perfect healthy party dish.
Get the recipe: Individual Spicy Greek Layered Dips
Bowtie Pasta with Sausage and Escarole
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Spicy Italian turkey sausage, roasted tomatoes, and escarole make this Mediterranean diet dish a crowd-pleaser for healthy eaters and anti-diet people alike. Amp up the veggie-to-pasta ratio or choose one of these new pasta alternatives for an even healthier boost.
Get the recipe: Bowtie Pasta with Sausage and Escarole
Mediterranean Red Beans and Barley Bowl
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"I love to color my bowls with veggies, fruits, beans, herbs, spices, nuts, and seeds," says Vicki Shanta Retelny, R.D.N. "It's a healthy and hearty way to fuel your body." This bowl recipe is packed with protein from beans, and fiber from the barley, called beta-glucan, is beneficial for helping to rid your body of excess cholesterol.
Get the recipe: Mediterranean Red Beans and Barley Bowl
Photo: Simple Cravings Real Food
Roasted Moroccan Chicken with Spinach Salad
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This Mediterranean-meets-Middle Eastern dish incorporates healthy Mediterranean diet foods (such as olive oil, lemon juice, and spinach) as well as Middle Eastern spices (such as curry, cumin, and coriander) to give the recipe a little extra life. (ICYMI, the Middle Eastern diet is basically a spiced-up version of the Mediterranean diet, anyway.)
Get the recipe: Roasted Moroccan Chicken with Spinach Salad
Whole-Wheat Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Asparagus, and Leeks
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Swap regular pasta for a whole-wheat variety to load up the fiber (and fill factor). Top with in-season veggies to add flavor and texture without a creamy, high-calorie sauce.
Get the recipe: Whole-Wheat Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Asparagus, and Leeks
Farro Herb Salad with Chicken
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Satisfy your cravings for something warm with this grain-based salad that's loaded with Mediterranean flavor thanks to fresh basil, parsley, and mint.
Open-Faced Chicken Bruschetta Sandwich
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Keep carbs in check with this open-faced chicken sandwich topped with the Mediterranean bruschetta flavors you know and love.
Vegetable Lentil Soup
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Gone are the days of sad, canned veggie soup that leaves you hungry for another meal. This homemade Mediterranean diet version is packed with green lentils, giving it a plant-based protein punch and extra dose of satiety.
Get the recipe: Vegetable Lentil Soup
Photo: RDelicious Kitchen
Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese
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All hail spinach, the original dark leafy green with a mega-dose of iron—one crucial nutrient responsible for maintaining strong energy levels. And don't forget to praise feta—this is one crumbly, savory cheese that's lower in fat and calories than most, meaning you can have more of it! Feta doesn't melt very easily, so try a blend of stringy mozzarella and feta for the perfect, light sandwich.
Get the recipe: Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese
Photo: Budget Bytes
Candied Grape and Cherry Tomatoes with Baked Feta
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Serve this Mediterranean diet feta and tomato dish as an app, or toss over pasta or polenta to make it a main course. One thing's for sure: You'll crave it again and again.
Get the recipe: Candied Grape and Cherry Tomatoes with Baked Feta
Photo: Sang An
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Traditionally, this Lebanese salad is made using bulgur wheat, but this version is entirely gluten-free. Everything else is the same, and oh-so-simple: tomatoes, onion, mint, parsley, lemon juice, and a splash of olive oil. Skip the expensive salad bar, and make this healthy recipe at home instead.
Get the recipe: Quinoa Tabbouleh
Photo: Simple Vegan Blog
Garlic and Anchovy Roasted Lamb Chops
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Anchovies are the star flavor of this mouthwatering dinner dish from Spoon Fork Bacon, adding a briny taste that's anything but fishy. Season with sage butter and garlic and top with chopped olives for a full-on Mediterranean feel.
Get the recipe: Garlic and Anchovy Roasted Lamb Chops
Photo: Spoon Fork Bacon