19 Healthy Mediterranean Diet Recipes We'll Be Cooking Up In 2022
So it's no surprise that an influx of food writers and cookbook authors draw inspiration from this Blue Zone and its eponymous diet. Here at mindbodygreen, we've been lucky enough to read a whole bunch of these cookbooks in 2020 and connect with many amazing chefs and nutritionists who've shared their knowledge. As it turns out, people really dig this cooking style—and that includes you, our readers.
One of the appeals of Mediterranean-inspired cooking is undoubtedly the fresh ingredients, but it's also the way these recipes can transport us, particularly in a year when we haven't been able to travel. Inspired by regions around the Mediterranean Sea, this eating style is comprised of a variety of cuisines—each of which offers its own take on the core principles and food groups of the diet.
So without further ado, these are the most-loved (the most-clicked on by you, our readers!) Mediterranean-inspired recipes we shared with you in 2020. Here's to another year of healthy, balanced meals that nourish our bodies and transport us beyond the kitchen walls.
Hearty Black Bean Soup
Pasta e Fagioli
Inspired by travels in Northern Italy, Melanie Lionello shared this budget-friendly recipe with us, and we're oh-so-glad she did: It's got all the Mediterranean diet staples we love.
Oven-Baked Super-Green Falafels
Start with canned chickpeas and frozen peas, and finish with a super-flavorful homemade falafel that's divine served with a bit of hummus, fresh veggies, and a flatbread (or two)—or as a topper on a vegan salad.
From physician, nutritionist, and chef Steven Masley, M.D., this classic Spanish tortilla—or omelet—is something of a staple in the Mediterranean nation. Made with egg, potato, onion, and bell peppers, it might sound like breakfast, but it's meant to be eaten at any time.
Semolina Egg Pasta
Of all the ways we can use our sourdough starter, fresh pasta wouldn't have been one that occurred to us—until we found this recipe, which makes a tender pasta with a bit of tang, that might actually be easier to digest thanks to the sourdough discard.
Super Spinach Pancakes
From Jamie Oliver's Ultimate Veg, these savory pancakes are a fun alternative take on the breakfast staple with a bright, vibrant color to kick off your day. Fill them with Mediterranean diet favorites for a satisfying breakfast or brunch.
Butternut Squash Gnocchi
Kristin Cavallari's new cookbook, True Comfort, came out this year, full of healthy versions of classic comfort food. We snagged her recipe for butternut squash gnocchi, topped with a sauce of olive oil, lemon, garlic, and sage—her personal go-to for a comforting meal.
15-Minute Mediterranean Mezze Platter
Mezze platters are like a Mediterranean version of the current cheeseboard trend, and this one incorporates tons of favorites: hummus, tzatziki, tabbouleh, olives, veggies, feta...the list goes on. Put it all together in 15 minutes (or less).
Vegan Green Shakshuka
Shakshuka is, to me, a perfect meal—and this vegan version leaves nothing to be desired. Packed with various sources of vitamins and minerals (like fresh spinach and tons of green herbs) it replaces the traditional eggs with plant-based yogurt.
Vegan Pesto With mbg organic veggies+
This vegan take on pesto is all benefits, no-compromise: Swap nutritional yeast for Parmesan; add a bit of mindbodygreen's organic veggies+ for an antioxidant kick; and toss with zoodles, noodles, a salad, or any protein of choice for a divinely simple dinner.
Ricotta cheese makes an appearance in many an Italian dish, and this recipe helps you make a vegan version, with only four ingredients. Stir it into pasta or spread it on sourdough for a Mediterranean twist.
Fermented Pepper Hummus
Making your own hummus is so simple, we really should just do it all the time—and if we did, this fermented recipe would feature prominently in the rotation. Garlic, cayenne, and home-pickled peppers add a kick we totally dig.
Paleo Pizza Crust
New York Times bestselling cookbook author Danielle Walker creates a paleo pizza with a healthy Mediterranean-inspired take. Use this as a base for a healthier take on the Friday-night favorite.
Tomato, Lentil & Eggplant Ragù
This hearty vegan sauce is perfect atop polenta or pasta but also on a simple slice of bread. Protein from the lentils, texture from the eggplant, and flavor from onion, garlic, fennel seed, and bay leaf are accented by a bit of red wine.
Sheet Pan Provençale Vegetables
Diverting from Italy for a bit, this ratatouille-inspired dish is pure French countryside—with a welcome addition of plant-based protein. Bonus points for the limited cleanup on this sheet pan stunner.
Baked Feta With Greens & Lemon-Tahini Dressing
If you haven't tried baked feta yet, this is your sign to do so ASAP. This dish pairs the creamy, tangy baked cheese with chickpeas, greens, and an equally (or more so) tangy dressing of lemon and tahini (all in one gorgeous pan).
Greek Spaghetti With Meat Sauce
Tackling two of the Mediterranean cuisines in one dish (Italy for the pasta, Greece for the flavors), this dish is flavored with the slightly surprising pairing of cinnamon and bay leaf and topped with a touch of cheese.
Braised Harissa Eggplants & Greens
Broccoli & Kale Salad
We'd trust Ina Garten with just about any recipe, and this version of a Caesar salad is a perfect example of why: She took the classic and made it just a little bit better. It pairs kale and broccoli with homemade dressing and croutons, plus a soft-boiled egg atop each serving for a bit of bonus protein.
Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.