Here at Luna Grill, we’re big fans of Mediterranean cuisine. We are fans of providing our communities with delicious meals inspired by the cultures surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. We are also advocates of helping spread the knowledge of staple Mediterranean foods and dishes to our customers so they can enjoy the process of making Mediterranean dishes from start to finish, anywhere and anytime.
We’ve put together some of our favorite dishes for a filling and healthy dinner following the Mediterranean diet that are easy and quick.
What Is the Mediterranean Diet?
Before we dive into some of our favorite Mediterranean diet recipes, it’s important to understand what the Mediterranean diet actually is. This diet emphasized plant-based foods and healthy fats, focusing on foods that are made up of grains, veggies, and fruits. Many healthcare providers recommend this diet because it is well known to support heart health and mental health.
This diet is popular in the coastal cultures of the twenty-two countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Because of the area’s ideal climate for producing crops that are core to the Mediterranean diet, this way of eating and style of meals has been popular for hundreds of years.
For example, olives might be the top core ingredient in all Mediterranean food, and Spain has been the number one producer of this crop for generations. And Mediterranean flavors are used worldwide.
Where Does Mediterranean Food Get Its Inspiration?
Mediterranean cuisine has inspiration from a variety of countries around the Mediterranean Sea. We see popular seafood dishes from Spain, with Spanish twists and spices in dishes like paella and migas.
Greece is popularly known for the gyro, a dish of beef and lamb meat served in a pita, typically topped with cucumber, lettuce, and tomato. The North African countries are known for popular Mediterranean dishes like Egyptian ful medames, shakshouka, and dishes made with couscous.
Regardless of the variation in Mediterranean cuisine from country to country, there are staple ingredients that you will find used throughout the region.
Mediterranean Cuisine Staples
Olives play a vital role in Mediterranean dishes. Olive oil is used in almost any savory dish you could think of in this region and is revered as a precious commodity with lots of historical value. And for good reason, too.
Olive oil is great for supporting gut and heart health and is the number one source of healthy fats in Mediterranean dishes. It is included in many appetizers and entrees alike.
It wouldn’t be a trip around the Mediterranean Sea without sampling some of the finest wines made in the world. The climate in this region is great for vineyards, much like it is for growing olives.
That said, grapes are largely grown in this portion of the world and therefore find their way into being a staple Mediterranean ingredient. Healthy wines are a great pairing for your Mediterranean-inspired dinner.
Chickpeas are another superfood that has many benefits. These little legumes pack a mighty punch of protein and are so versatile. Some of the most popular dishes found around the Mediterranean Sea are based on chickpeas, like hummus and falafel.
Dishes made with chickpeas and lentils are great for plant-based people since they provide lots of essential vitamins and minerals that find their way into many others’ diets through meats. They can even be made crispy for a variety of textures.
Like many diets around the world, whole grains play a vital role in the Mediterranean diet. Wheat is used in staple types of bread found across cultures, like pita bread, naan, and lavash.
Many classic dishes rely on grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and wheat to be the vessel for which the food and fresh herbs are held.
Veggies: Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion
We couldn’t pass up Mediterranean staples without mentioning some of the most popular fresh vegetables found in the dishes. Tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers are served fresh in many types of Mediterranean food, like Greek salads, wraps, and gyros.
However, they also serve important roles in other dishes, like shakshouka, ful medames, and harira. Many Mediterranean dishes also include roasted red peppers, bell peppers, zucchini, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Favorite Mediterranean Dishes for Dinner: Three Recipes
1. Savory and Citrusy Shrimp on Rice
Considering the Mediterranean is a sea, it’s not a surprise that many meals incorporate fresh and savory seafood. One of our favorite seasonal dishes does as well, and we’re here to share with you the best way to prep the dish: our savory, citrusy, and garlicky shrimp.
This dish doesn’t require many ingredients but leaves you with a flavorful and filling dinner. All you’ll need is shrimp (of course), lemon pepper seasoning, lemons, garlic, broth of your choice, and parsley.
Toss your shrimp in lemon pepper seasoning and allow them to sear in a pan with olive oil and optional butter for that buttery taste. Add your garlic and fry for about a minute, then add a small cup of broth with lemon juice to the pan.
Once your shrimp have cooked through, add a handful of chopped parsley and reduce the heat to low. Allow to simmer and for the broth to deglaze.
There you have it! Quick, easy, and healthy lemon garlic shrimp. You may be thinking that this dish doesn’t seem particularly Mediterranean, though, besides the seafood. We like to give it a Mediterranean twist by serving it with basmati rice and tzatziki sauce for drizzling or dipping.
You can also toss the shrimp in a pita and add fresh veggies and sauce for a different way to enjoy this meal. And it’s naturally gluten-free!
2. Mediterranean Salad With Couscous
For the nights when you want to just toss something healthy yet filling together, we can’t recommend a Mediterranean salad enough. Filled with the aromatic flavors of the middle east, a Mediterranean salad has variety and can be easily tweaked to your liking.
This 15-minute salad recipe is the perfect way to get a balanced and hearty meal together quickly and easily. As we mentioned, you can add and remove anything in a salad to your liking; our recipe uses the following ingredients as the base: couscous, lettuce (or any type of mixed greens), tomato, cucumber, red onion, mint, parsley, and feta cheese.
Set your couscous to cook per package instructions. While that is cooking, prep your veggies. Chop your cucumber and tomatoes into small bite-sized pieces. Dice your green onion a bit smaller, and finely mince your mint and parsley. Once you’ve done this, it’s simply time to plate everything up.
We like to toss our greens in a tahini dressing or a lemon vinaigrette, but that’s optional. You can use any dressing you’d like.
Then simply add the prepped ingredients. We like to layer our cooked couscous on top of the lettuce and then drop in a handful of our veggies. Top with feta cheese for a pungent finish! This side dish is sure to wow your guests any night of the week.
There are many optional additions that you can add to your salad. You might want to add falafel or grilled chicken breasts for added protein. For interesting notes of texture and flavor, you can also top it with pine nuts, kalamata olives, capers, and artichoke hearts.
3. Gyro Pita
The gyro pita is a classic Mediterranean dish. The flavors are a unique blend of spices and seasonings that make it special and savory. And it’s an easy dish to plate up at home!
While you can make gyro meat at home, you can skip this step by purchasing gyro pre-made from Luna Grill since this process can be a bit time-consuming. Regardless of what you decide to do, making sure you have gyro meat on hand is the first step to making a gyro pita. Or mix it up with some grilled Mediterranean chicken.
The next ingredient you need on hand is a pita. Pita bread is relatively easy to make at home and is always delicious fresh, but it’s also easy to find a tasty store bought pita as well. This can be an easy meal on busy weeknights or for work lunches.
Then it comes to toppings/fillings. Just like with the Mediterranean salad, there are endless opportunities for what you can top your gyro pita with. Our favorites are arugula, thinly sliced onion, sliced cucumbers, diced tomatoes, and feta cheese. And, of course, you can’t have a gyro pita without tzatziki!
For our vegetarian friends, you can make this dish plant-based by substituting the meat for falafel. Just as tasty and good for you, this is a great way to get in some extra veggies. You can try out our falafel recipe and earn rewards in the process!
Mediterranean Meals for Any Day
Whether you’re looking for something quick and easy, light or filling, or just something new to try out at home, we’ve got you covered with our guide on our favorite Mediterraneandinner recipes. From a refreshing Mediterranean-inspired salad to a hearty gyro pita, there is so much variety and flavor when it comes to Mediterranean and Greek dinners.
But hey, sometimes you don’t feel like cooking, and that’s okay! That’s when a quick trip or an online order, Luna Grill has you covered!
Mediterranean food is incredibly popular: pasta, pizza, sausage, wine, gyros, kebab, and falafel can be found just about everywhere.What is the healthiest Mediterranean food? ›
- Hummus. Hummus is a popular dip or spread throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. ...
- Melitzanosalata. The word “melitzanosalata” means eggplant salad in Greek, but it's actually a dip. ...
- Tzatziki. ...
- Dolmades. ...
- Gigantes plaki. ...
- Avgolemono. ...
- Fakes soupa. ...
The Mediterranean diet focuses on fresh vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish, beans, and eggs. A chicken wrap with apples and nuts is a filling Mediterranean-inspired lunch. Almond-stuffed dates are a sweet and crunchy way to get protein and fiber.Where is Mediterranean food from? ›
Their food mostly has to do with lots of herbs and wine. Finally, there is Eastern Mediterranean which covers Greece, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey. Mediterranean diet promotes healthy and sustainable living. It includes lots of vegetables, fruits, olive oil, and grains.What is not allowed on the Mediterranean diet? ›
The Mediterranean diet is high in plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Foods not allowed include processed red meats, heavily processed foods, refined grains, alcohol, butter, and refined/processed/hydrogenated oils.What meat is best on Mediterranean diet? ›
Lean Beef, Lean Pork, Lean Poultry, Fish/Seafood, Whole Eggs, Soy, Dried Lentils, Dried Beans and Dried Peas.What cheese is OK on Mediterranean diet? ›
Cheese & Yogurt
Dairy products common to the traditional Mediterranean Diet include: brie, chevre, corvo, feta, haloumi, manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, ricotta, yogurt (including Greek yogurt).
Spain and Italy: toasted bread + soft cheese + fresh fruit or freshly squeezed fruit juice. Greece: paximadia (bread made from whole wheat, chickpea, and barley ﬂour) + olives + cheese. Syria: tahini yogurt with chickpeas + pickles + sliced radishes. Morocco: fried egg in olive oil + soft cheese + olives + ﬂatbread.What kind of bread can you eat on Mediterranean diet? ›
You can still enjoy bread as part of the Mediterranean Diet, just swap your white bread for whole grains. Whole grain breads and pastas contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals. Whole wheat pitas are a healthier option as they are usually lower in calories.What does a Mediterranean dinner consist of? ›
Most meals feature vegetables, fruits, whole grains— bread, pasta, rice, etc., and extra virgin olive oil. Most days also include nuts, seeds, dairy (preferably low-fat), and herbs and spices. Every week includes, at some point, poultry, seafood, fish, eggs, potatoes and legumes.
Bay leaf, basil, fennel, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and sage are a sampling of typical herbs grown throughout the Mediterranean and frequently used to brighten the flavor of a meal.Is peanut butter Mediterranean? ›
And as plant-based protein sources that are high in good and unsaturated fats, peanuts and peanut butter are a natural fit within Mediterranean and Flexitarian ways of eating.Is potato part of Mediterranean? ›
Ideally, you should base your diet on these healthy Mediterranean foods: Vegetables: tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips. Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches.What 3 foods cardiologists say to avoid? ›
- Red meat (including “the other white meat”) ...
- Bacon, hot dogs, and other processed meats. ...
- French fries and other fried foods. ...
- Sugary drinks and cereals. ...
- Potato chips and snack foods. ...
- Full-fat dairy products. ...
- Baked goods, cookies, and pastries.
Basics of Mediterranean Way of Eating
Eat: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil. Eat in moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
Oats are a whole grain, which is encouraged on the Mediterranean diet. Low or moderate amounts of cheese, such as brie, feta, ricotta, and Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan), are also allowed. All types of fresh fruits, including bananas, are a go on the diet.Can you have hamburger meat on Mediterranean diet? ›
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that LDL cholesterol increases risk for heart disease and stroke. That means if you're adopting a Mediterranean style of eating, you can enjoy the occasional burger and still be doing your heart a favor.What potatoes are allowed on Mediterranean diet? ›
Potatoes definitely shouldn't be avoided on the Mediterranean diet. Potatoes may seem like a "bad carb" sometimes, but they aren't viewed that way on this diet. They can be a great source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, and more. Try eating white potatoes and sweet potatoes without going overboard.How many eggs can you eat on the Mediterranean diet? ›
Based on their high cholesterol content, the Mediterranean Diet Foundation recommends to consume up to 4 eggs per week, as a healthy alternative to fish or meat , and the same amount (2–4 eggs per week) was indicated in the latest Italian dietary guidelines .Is popcorn on the Mediterranean diet? ›
Is popcorn allowed on the Mediterranean diet? Yes, popcorn is a wonderful snack since it's a whole grain. But top it with a drizzle of olive oil instead of butter. And try seasoning it with herbs and spices instead of too much salt.
Lots of vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils and nuts. Lots of whole grains, like whole-wheat bread and brown rice. Plenty of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as a source of healthy fat. A moderate amount of fish, especially fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.Are scrambled eggs good for Mediterranean diet? ›
Eggs are not only a staple of the Mediterranean Diet, but they also play a role in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye health and more.What are 3 key features of Mediterranean diet? ›
Increased intake of plant foods, whole grains, and fish; moderate alcohol intake; and low intake of red and processed meats were believed to contribute to this finding.What butter is best for Mediterranean diet? ›
Avoid peanut, safflower, corn and soybean oils. You can also use avocado oil, which can withstand higher temperatures than olive oil. Eliminate margarine; avoid butter, but if you do use it, opt for a high quality butter made from grass-fed milk, such as Kerrygold. Eat a handful of nuts every day.Why is butter not allowed on Mediterranean diet? ›
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating more heart-healthy fats (poly- and monounsaturated fats) and fewer saturated and trans fats. Saturated and trans fats raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Swap butter for heart-healthy fats like olive oil to lower your cholesterol and improve your heart health.What can I use instead of butter for toast on Mediterranean diet? ›
The healthiest substitute for butter is extra-virgin olive oil. It is low in saturated fat and contains healthy monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. Other healthier options include coconut oil, vegetable oil and nut butters.What does a Mediterranean dinner look like? ›
It includes plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils as well as seafood and healthy fats like olive oil and nuts. It also includes a moderate amount of chicken, turkey, eggs and fermented dairy, like yogurt or kefir, while limiting red meat, sweets and processed foods.What is a Mediterranean style meal? ›
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, and it includes less ultra-processed foods and meat than a typical Western diet.What are the 5 components of the Mediterranean diet? ›
One of the best studied diets for cardiovascular health is the Mediterranean diet. This consists of fish, monounsaturated fats from olive oil, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes/nuts, and moderate alcohol consumption.What are 3 spices that originate in the Mediterranean? ›
- Mediterranean herbs and spices to use and why. Basil. ...
- Chive. Flavorful and savory, chive leaves are used as condiments for garnishing and salads. ...
- Coriander. Coriander is used as fresh leaves or as seeds. ...
- Cumin. ...
- Fennel. ...
- Garlic. ...
- Oregano. ...
Olive oil and red wine figure prominently. However, there is very little meat and dairy products. Not surprisingly, the Mediterranean diet follows a similar dietary structure to science-backed eating advice, and does NOT include foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat.What are Mediterranean fruits? ›
Summer fruit common to the traditional Mediterranean Diet include: apricots, berries, cherries, dates, ﬁgs, grapes, melons, nectarines, olives, peaches, and tomatoes.What is the best nut for Mediterranean diet? ›
- Nuts, particularly almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts, are integral components of the Mediterranean diet.
- All nuts are nutrient-dense foods rich in unsaturated fatty acids, protein, fiber, minerals, potent antioxidants, and other beneficial phytochemicals.
Nutritional Attributes of Avocados
Avocados (Persea americana) are nutrient-dense and botanically considered a fruit, but they are not traditionally included in the Mediterranean diet.
Mediterranean nuts—almonds, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts—are nutrient-dense foods that oﬀer heart-healthy unsaturated fatty acids, protein, ﬁber, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols (antioxidants found in plants).Is cottage cheese OK on Mediterranean diet? ›
Choose low-fat dairy foods such as nonfat or 1% milk, or low-fat almond, cashew, or soy milk. Other examples include low-fat cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Limit sweets. Limit your intake of high-sugar foods, such as soda, desserts, and candy.What is the fastest way to lose weight on the Mediterranean diet? ›
- Embrace All Mediterranean Food Groups. ...
- Incorporate Movement. ...
- Think About Adding Foods, Not Subtracting Them. ...
- Enjoy Food With Loved Ones. ...
- Stay Mindful of High-Calorie Foods. ...
- Choose Fruit for Dessert. ...
- Meal Plan for Mediterranean Diet Success.
Fish such as tuna, herring, salmon and sardines are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. If you haven't been a fish fan, start by trying mild-flavored tilapia. Salmon is another popular choice. Add flavor with Mediterranean seasonings, such as thyme, oregano, basil, garlic or lemon juice.What is Mediterranean cuisine known for? ›
The focus is on fresh products, pronounced flavours and simple preparation. Essentially, Mediterranean cuisine is made up of plant food and minimally processed staples where herbs and spices are essential ingredients. Usually, there's lots of fruit, veggies, legumes, grains, olive oil and aromatic herbs.What 4 types of food are commonly eaten in the Mediterranean diet? ›
The Mediterranean Diet is a way of eating that emphasizes plant-based foods and healthy fats. In general, if you follow a Mediterranean Diet, you'll eat: Lots of vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils and nuts. Lots of whole grains, like whole-wheat bread and brown rice.
The health benefits, sustainability, and ease of use of the Mediterranean diet are some of the things that make it so popular. There are many benefits of the Mediterranean diet: It can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and raising HDL cholesterol levels.What are the three core elements of the Mediterranean cuisine? ›
The three core ingredients that make up Mediterranean cuisine, regardless of region of influence, are olives, wheat, and grapes.What are the most important foods in the Mediterranean diet? ›
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that's based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, are the foundation of the diet.What is a typical Mediterranean breakfast? ›
Spain and Italy: toasted bread + soft cheese + fresh fruit or freshly squeezed fruit juice. Greece: paximadia (bread made from whole wheat, chickpea, and barley ﬂour) + olives + cheese. Syria: tahini yogurt with chickpeas + pickles + sliced radishes. Morocco: fried egg in olive oil + soft cheese + olives + ﬂatbread.What spices are Mediterranean? ›
Common spices and herbs used in the Mediterranean include basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cloves, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, paprika, rosemary, saﬀron, sage, savory, sumac, tarragon, thyme, and turmeric.Is Greek food the same as Mediterranean? ›
In short, Greek food is Mediterranean food—but all Mediterranean food is not the same as Greek food. Countries across the sea use many of the same ingredients, but regional variations on both the variety of fruit, vegetables, grains, spices, and seafood give each country its own unique dishes.What ethnicity eats Mediterranean food? ›
Though French and Italian foods and to a lesser extent Greek foods have carved out distinct niches of Mediterranean cuisines, Tunisian, Turkish, Lebanese, Morrocan, Egyptian, Spanish cuisine is all Mediterranean cuisine.What are the 8 foods in the Mediterranean diet? ›
The Mediterranean diet is a primarily plant-based eating plan that includes daily intake of whole grains, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, nuts, herbs, and spices. Other foods like animal proteins are eaten in smaller quantities, with the preferred animal protein being fish and seafood.