The Mediterranean diet has its origins in the 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. While many of the cultures that produce recipes from this region have difficult or time intensive food preparation, there are several simple Mediterranean diet recipes as well. These simple recipes take just minutes to prepare and still give all the flavor and health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
Three Simple Mediterranean Diet Recipes
Whether you are an amateur cook or just beginning to explore the Mediterranean diet, these three simple recipes have relatively few ingredients and steps to create. Give them a try to get started on your Mediterranean diet journey.
Spanish Eggplant Pizza
This traditional Spanish dish makes a healthy, simple and delicious alternative to the flatbread pizzas most Americans know.
- One medium sized eggplant
- One 16-ounce package of fresh, water-packed buffalo mozzarella
- Large bowl of warm water
- Two tablespoons sea salt
- One large tomato
- Half a cup of grated parmesan cheese
- Several large, fresh basil leaves
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Slice the eggplant lengthwise into slices approximately 1/2-inch thick.
- Remove the outer rind of the eggplant slices, so each slice lays flat with the inner pulp revealed.
- Dissolve the sea salt in warm water and soak the eggplant slices for 20 minutes to remove the bitter oils of the fruit. Rinse well and pat dry.
- Slice the tomato to 1/4-inch thickness.
- Slice the mozzarella into 1/4 inch thick slices.
- Brush a small amount of olive oil over the bottom of a baking sheet and arrange the soaked eggplant slices on top.
- Brush additional olive oil directly onto the tops of each eggplant slice.
- Layer several basil leaves over each piece of eggplant.
- Place two to three slices of mozzarella and tomato onto each slice of eggplant.
- Salt and pepper the pizzas to taste.
- Roast in an oven heated to 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
- Serve with a fresh salad on the side.
Fattoush is a salad eaten throughout Lebanon. Tastes and ingredients vary by season and by the region where it is eaten. This version includes chick peas for additional protein.
- One large pita bread, torn into bite sized bits
- One tablespoons minced garlic
- One tablespoon lemon juice
- Two tablespoons olive oil
- One cup chick peas, drained
- Two small tomatoes, diced
- Half a cucumber, diced
- One cup of romaine lettuce, shredded
- Half a cup of goat cheese, crumbled
- Two tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
- Two tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped
- Toast the pita bread in a warm oven until crisp.
- Place the lettuce, mint, parsley, cucumbers and tomatoes in a large bowl.
- Toss with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil until completely coated.
- Top with goat cheese, chick peas and the toasted pita bread.
Strained Mediterranean style yoghurt is higher in protein than conventional yoghurts, and it's thick, creamy and delicious. It mixes well with fresh fruit, as well as with cucumber and dill to form a simple Mediterranean snack eaten throughout the Middle East. Making your own yoghurt is simple and allows you to endlessly customize its flavoring.
- One quart of fresh milk - use full fat, two percent or skim as you desire
- One pouch of freeze dried yoghurt cultures
- Large piece of cheesecloth
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees for ten minutes; then turn it off.
- Heat the milk over medium heat on the stove top. Bring it to a boil and watch closely as it begins to rise up in the pan.
- Remove from heat and pour into a ceramic bowl on the counter. Allow it to cool to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or until you can insert your pinky without being burned.
- Stir in the cultures and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Set the bowl in the warmed oven for 6 to 8 hours to allow the cultures to grow.
- Remove the bowl from the oven and transfer it to the refrigerator for another 4 to 6 hours.
- Pour the yoghurt into a large piece of cheesecloth and allow the excess liquid to drain into the sink. Twist the top of the cheesecloth closed, and hang the pouch from the faucet to allow it to continue draining for at least 10 minutes. The longer the yoghurt drains, the thicker it will be.
Give Yourself Time
While these recipes are simple and don't require any special cooking techniques, you should still take your time when preparing them for the first time. Familiarize yourself with the smells, tastes and textures of the food, as well as the way they combine. In no time, you'll be ready to move on to more complicated recipes.