When it comes to diets that are rich in tastes, aromas and feeling, it’s hard to surpass the beauty of the Mediterranean diet.
Known for its emphasis on whole grains, healthy fats and an array of plant-based foods, the Mediterranean diet focuses on abundance (rather than restriction).
In fact, for those who like to steer clear of the word “diet” at all, you’ve come to the right article! The Mediterranean diet plan is actually more of a lifestyle than a diet. It encourages finding happiness in enjoying mealtime with family and friends and maintaining an active lifestyle through things like after-dinner walks. There’s an enthusiasm for seasonal eating and savoring the flavors of a just-picked berry or a handful of garden grown greens.
If you’re looking to make the switch to a healthier lifestyle and are curious about what constitutes the Mediterranean diet food list, read on!
Mediterranean Diet Food List
From grains like couscous to garbanzo beans, fresh salmon and—of course—extra virgin olive oil, here is your Mediterranean diet shopping list! Keep in mind that this diet is one that focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, occasional meat eating, whole grains, legumes, full-fat dairy and cheeses. Buying seasonally and locally means that you’re getting ingredients at their peak of freshness and flavor.
Grains and Bread
- Egg pasta (try it homemade!)
- Whole grain bread
- Pita bread
Nuts & Seeds
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Tomato paste
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas)
- Split peas
- Black beans
- Fava beans
- Lima beans
- Black eyed peas
- White beans
Eggs & Dairy (full-fat)
- Greek yogurt
- Whole milk
- Romaine lettuce
- Green beans
Meat & Poultry
- Ground beef and red meat (occasionally)
Spices & Herbs
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
Things to Avoid
When it comes to the Mediterranean diet, here is a general list of foods to avoid. Remember, think fresh and seasonal!
- Refined grains (like white breads)
- Artificial ingredients
- Refined oils (like canola oil)
- Low-fat foods
- Highly processed foods
- Trans fats
As the headnote states, this Moroccan Couscous is simple yet scrumptious. It’s easy to throw together and incorporates a wide variety of Mediterranean ingredients. The recipe showcases our Golden Couscous, which is par-cooked, coarsely ground durum wheat. If you’ve never cooked with it, think of couscous as tiny little pastas that are table-ready in just 5 minutes. Our Golden Couscous has a fine texture and a slightly nutty flavor, plus it’s high in protein. It can be used as an alternative to pasta or in stews, meat or veggie dishes. It can even be combined with cinnamon, fresh fruit and almonds for a delicious Mediterranean dessert. In this particular recipe, the couscous is cooked with minced garlic, yellow onion, tomato paste, raisins, chicken broth, slivered almonds and fresh parsley. Cumin, ginger, coriander, cardamom and turmeric complete the dish and add a fantastic flavor and aroma. Turn on some tunes and cook up a big batch of this Moroccan Couscous! It makes for great leftovers the following day and is good to add to your Mediterranean diet meal planning rotation. If you’d like, you can even serve it alongside fresh salmon or roasted chicken for a heartier entree.
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
Tabbouleh is a delightful dish and certainly a staple of the Mediterranean diet. We love this recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad from our friend Tanya of Lemons for Lulu. Tanya puts a twist on the traditional tabbouleh and utilizes our Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Quinoa in her dish. Honored as a sacred crop by the ancient Incas, our whole grain gluten free quinoa is an excellent addition to your Mediterranean diet shopping list. It has a nutty flavor and is filled with high-quality protein and iron. Along with the quinoa, mixed lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh mint, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, black olives and feta, this dish becomes a Mediterranean diet superstar. The colors are vibrant, the flavors are fresh and it takes little time to throw together. If you’d like to make your tabbouleh with the traditional bulgur, that’s an option, too! Our Whole Grain Red Bulgur is a terrific addition to a variety of dishes, including tabbouleh! It’s made from cracked wheat berries and is a nutritional powerhouse. In addition to making tabbouleh with it, you can add it to breads, muffins and meatballs or enjoy it as a hot breakfast cereal.
Another way to utilize quinoa is as a “veggie stuffer.” These Quinoa Stuffed Peppers are also made with our whole grain quinoa and are a fabulous option for a meatless Monday meal (or should we say, a meatless Monday Mediterranean meal). Sweet peppers in a variety of colors are stuffed with quinoa alongside olive oil, onion, cumin, cinnamon, dried figs and cashews. We love that the filling for this recipe can be used to stuff everything from jalapeños to mushrooms. Or if you’d like, you can even eat it all by itself. Simply toss it with some leafy greens and you’ll have an incredible salad! This dish highlights a popular Mediterranean ingredient that’s sometimes forgotten about—figs! Figs are a good source of antioxidants and also contain soluble fiber and minerals like calcium and potassium. If you’re following the Mediterranean diet and looking for a naturally sweet treat, you can eat figs on their own for dessert with a drizzle of pure honey and some chopped fresh mint. If you’d like to turn this dessert into a breakfast, add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and some sliced almonds to the dish.
Mediterranean Sorghum Grain Bowl
Grain bowls and the Mediterranean diet go hand in hand! This delicious Mediterranean Sorghum Grain Bowl is topped with fresh veggies, garbanzo beans and kalamata olives. With arugula, cilantro, fresh lime juice and feta cheese, this dish is perfect for an al fresco feast. If you’ve yet to play with our Gluten Free Sorghum Grain, you’re in for a treat. Part of our Grains of Discovery line, this grain has a mildly nutty flavor and a hearty texture. It can be popped like popcorn and used in everything from salads to pilafs to grain bowls. You can even use it to replace noodles or white rice in soups. Though sorghum is unknown in many parts of the world, it’s a wonderful source of dietary fiber, protein and antioxidants. If you try this recipe and love it, move on to this one for a Sorghum Grain Bowl with Tahini Lemon Dressing. It has similar flavors, yet is made with kale, bell peppers, fresh lemon juice and tahini.
Mediterranean Quiche Duo with Cucumber-Chickpea Salad
This recipe comes to Bob’s Red Mill from Ashley Covelli of Big Flavors for a Tiny Kitchen. This Mediterranean Quiche Duo with Cucumber-Chickpea Salad can be eaten for breakfast, dinner or any lunch or snack in between. From shallots to spinach, to cucumbers, parsley, feta and garlic, you’ll find a diverse list of Mediterranean diet foods incorporated into this beautiful quiche and salad duo. One of the stars of this meal is the chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), which are utilized in a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes. These creamy legumes are rich and nutty and hold their quintessential circular shape even after they’re done cooking. Packed with protein and fiber, you can add garbanzo beans to soups, stews and salads or use them to create homemade hummus. You can also use the flour of this magical bean to create hummus, too, like in this recipe for Hummus with Garbanzo Bean Flour. Whether you’re experimenting with the beans or flour and making a salad or baked goods, we know you’ll love the versatility and flavors of the garbanzo bean!
When it comes to creating a Mediterranean diet list of foods, there is a bounty of beautiful, flavorful ingredients to incorporate into your meals.
Whether you’re whipping up a batch of homemade whole grain bread, munching on raw veggies or serving a big bowl of tabbouleh to family and friends, we hope you love this diet as much as we do.
As we mentioned, Mediterranean eating is a lifestyle of abundance and it’s filled with amazing tastes! Do you follow the Mediterranean diet? If so, what are some of your favorite recipes?
Feel free to share your tips, tricks and recipes with us in the comments below. From all of us at Bob’s Red Mill, thanks for reading! We hope you have a tasty, nutritious and wonderful day ahead.