7 Tasty Dishes To Get You Started On The Mediterranean Diet

A new study published this week by the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people at risk for heart disease can significantly lower the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke if they stick to a Mediterranean diet.

The diet has other health benefits as well, and is believed to contribute to longevity.

The Mediterranean is not a fad, but simply a healthier way of eating, emphasising a combination of fresh vegetables, fruits, olive oil, and fish. It’s also low on salt, red meat, and butter — essentially everything the American diet is known for.

Not sure how to embrace the Mediterranean diet? We’ve rounded up seven delicious and healthy dishes to get you started (click the photos to see the recipes).

Hummus With SpicesHummus is insanely easy to make, All you need is garbanzo beans and tasty extras like cayenne pepper, sea salt, lemon juice, and garlic. Really kick it up a notch by blending roasted red peppers with the garbanzo beans.

Hummus with pita bread

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Mediterranean Greek SaladA classic staple of the Mediterranean diet is the Greek salad with sliced cucumbers, Feta cheese, black olives, Roma tomatoes, red onions, green beans, and more. It’s also a favourite since you can essentially add however much or little of an ingredient you wish. 

Greek Salad

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Mediterranean PaellaPaella is a Valencian flavored rice dish that you can make with any type of meat and veggie combination you want. Try a seafood version with fish, onions, garlic, artichoke hearts, peas, lemons, mussels, parsley, and olive oil.

Mediterranean Paella

Photo: fishgeek / Flickr

Mediterranean Couscous SaladQuick-cooking couscous is a good-for-you meal that’s made with steamed durum wheat granules. It becomes extremely flavorful when paired with Roma tomatoes, kalamata olives, onions, lemon juice, and Feta cheese. Serve chilled.

CousCous salad

Photo: Prajakta Gudadhe / Flickr

Mediterranean-Style Grilled SalmonGrilling salmon is a healthier option than deep frying or breading. Top the filet with a mixture of basil, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice and then place herb-side down on the grill. The result is a tasty (and healthy!) fish entrée.

grilled salmon herbs

Photo: woodleywonderworks / Flickr

Strawberries with Balsamic VinegarThis tart dessert is quintessential Mediterranean. Add strawberries (or any other type of berry) to a bowl and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and a little bit of sugar.

Balsamic Vinegar Strawberries

Photo: www.WorthTheWhisk.com / Flickr

“Brutti Ma Buoni” Cookies: On the Mediterranean diet, sweets are OK in moderation. These delicious Italian hazelnut cookies, made without butter, literally translate to “Ugly But Good.” They look plain, but they’re actually deliciously nutty with hazelnuts, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla extract.

hazelnut cookies

Photo: ChrissyJ / Flickr

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