Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan #1: A Week of Quick and Easy Recipes
Trying out the Mediterranean diet? With the Yummly Meal Planner, fast, healthy, and delicious recipes are a click away.
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Photograph by Olga Ivanova
Many diets claim to be “lifestyles” rather than eating plans, but few fit that description as well as the Mediterranean Diet — it’s literally modeled on the lifestyle of people who live in that region, where they tend to be healthier and live longer than elsewhere.
With a rulebook this flexible, meal planning for the Mediterranean Diet offers infinite possibilities. Expect to include plenty of vegetables and herbs, lean (and quick-cooking) proteins like fish and chicken breasts (with less red meat), healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, and whole grains. The Yummly Meal Plan that follows includes 10 quick, easy Mediterranean Diet recipes — 5 lunches and 5 dinners, all bursting with flavor.
Note: The Yummly Meal Planner is available to paid subscribers.
Need a Mediterranean diet plan for beginners — or just need a hand simplifying your life? The Yummly Meal Planner helps with more than what to cook. Once you’ve added the recipes to your Plan, it’s easy to create a Smart Shopping List, add custom items, sync lists across devices, and get groceries delivered.
If you're ready to try one of the healthiest diets around, the only question is which recipe will you make first?
This easy, filling salad ticks off several boxes for the Mediterranean Diet: legumes (lentils), whole grains (farro), fresh veggies (carrots and grape tomatoes), herbs (parsley, dill, and chives), and olive oil. Make a batch for dinner one night, and you’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day, ready and waiting.
Make a quick batch of this enticing dip on Monday, and you’ll be finding ways to eat it all week — on sandwiches, with fresh veggies, with pita chips... It’s packed with lean protein and healthy fats thanks to cannellini beans, cashews, and tahini. Cheese-like nutritional yeast (or grated Parm, if you prefer) adds a savory note, and garlic, paprika, cayenne, fresh herbs, and lemon juice put the “Z” in “zesty.”
Unlike their brown, green, or black cousins, red lentils break down as they cook. So when you use them in soup, the end result is a lusciously thick, hearty bowl just begging for a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Here, a variety of warm spices and aromatic vegetables provide Middle Eastern flavors — and because red lentils cook quickly, this low-fat soup is ready in less than half an hour. Top it with Greek yogurt if you're looking for something creamy.
If you’ve got 20 minutes, you’ve got more than enough time to make this gorgeous salad — think of it as a hearty tabbouleh. After parsley, the hallmark of any self-respecting tabbouleh, this recipe takes a few twists: Quick-cooking whole-wheat couscous stands in for the traditional bulgur, and canned chickpeas, olives, and crumbled feta add protein and healthy fat. It all gets tossed in a refreshing, lemony olive oil dressing. The best part: This kind of salad can handle refrigeration — luckily, the recipe makes enough for leftovers.
This easy recipe is ready in just 30 minutes — and delicious served hot, cold, or room temperature. It couldn’t be simpler: You cut up sun-dried tomatoes and baby spinach, then add them to a big bowl of beaten eggs. Sprinkle in some grated Parmesan for richness, and dried basil for a scent of herbs. Pour the whole thing into an ovenproof pan, bake, and just like that, lunch (or breakfast, or dinner) is ready.
You know how some stews take ages for their flavors to blend, simmering on the stovetop? Not this one. It’s on the table in just 20 minutes! But there’s no skimping on flavor, since the recipe builds off a jar of good-quality marinara sauce. You’ll add extra garlic, red pepper flakes, and a can of whole peeled tomatoes, as well as baby spinach, canned chickpeas, and plenty of lemon. Next you lay slabs of salty feta on top and bake, just long enough to heat the cheese. It yields a super-satisfying vegetarian dinner for the Mediterranean diet, and nobody will guess that it’s semi-homemade.
Stuffed vegetables appear all over the Mediterranean, especially in Greece — and you’ll find countless combinations of vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins inside them. This recipe fills scooped-out zucchini halves with quinoa and lentils for plenty of protein, along with cherry tomatoes and red onion, red wine vinegar and olive oil, dried herbs and garlic, and crumbles of briny feta. No cooked quinoa on hand? You could sub in brown rice.
Every busy cook knows sheet-pan suppers are a godsend: The entire meal cooks together, on a single baking sheet. In this case, you barely even need a knife — other than bell pepper, you’re not cutting a thing. Canned artichoke hearts, olives, and grape tomatoes bring Mediterranean flavors to mild, flaky halibut (but you can use any white fish). And if you don’t even want to dirty a mixing bowl, you can season the vegetables right on the sheet pan!
Speaking of sheet-pan dinners, this one gives quick-cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts the full Greek treatment. In addition to the chicken, you’ve got tomatoes and artichoke hearts — and it all gets tossed in a tangy dressing made with dried oregano and dill, punchy vinegar, and flavorful olive oil. At the end, a scattering of chopped kalamata olives and crumbled feta whisk you off to Athens.
Italian salsa verde brings the flavors of the Mediterranean to almost any dish. Here, the sauce made from herbs, capers, garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and extra-virgin olive oil adds its zingy flavor to rich, simply roasted salmon. Add your favorite green vegetable or perhaps a simple arugula salad, and you’re ready to eat.
What's the best diet for you?
Whether your dietary goal is weight loss or better heart health, or you just want to choose foods with maximum health benefits, there's a way of eating that's right for you. Learn more about healthy eating with articles from Yummly's health and lifestyle menu. You'll find additional Mediterranean recipes, keto recipes, vegetarian recipes, and more.