More than 100 fresh, nutritious Mediterranean-style recipes and tips on how to set aside time to mindfully savor each meal, combining healthy food and a healthy lifestyle.
Satisfying both chefs and nutritionists alike, the Mediterranean diet is the rare healthy eating plan that not only tastes good but also feels good. From seasonal vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains to garlic, herbs, and olive oil, these foundational ingredients inspire simple fresh dishes with endless combinations of flavors and textures—and don’t forget the wine.
Your doctor will be pleased to know that following a Mediterranean diet is proven to lower bad cholesterol, dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease, and may even protect brain function as you age. And with tasty recipes like Greek Stuffed Tomatoes, Baked Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce, and Orange-Hazelnut Olive Oil Cookies for dessert, it won’t be hard!
Beyond just the diet, however, the Mediterranean lifestyle encourages mindfulness with every meal. Permitting yourself to slow down, enjoy food with friends and family, and relish each bite not only improves digestion but also allows you to gain the perspective to better understand your own eating habits and avoid overeating.
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About the Author
Prevention delivers trusted, authoritative information, breaking news, and authentic lifestyle advice in an advertising free environment that inspires, challenges, and leads readers to love their whole life.
Jennifer McDaniel MS, RDN, CSSD, LD is the owner of McDaniel Nutrition Therapy and a current national media spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She writes frequently for Prevention and St. Louis magazine, and is a regular on-air contributor for KTVI Fox 2 News.
Read an Excerpt
Welcome to the Table!
If you’ve been searching for a fresh, uncomplicated style of eating that nourishes your body, your heart, and your soul, you’ve come to the right place. The countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea have long been known for their simple, deeply satisfying cuisine and their relaxed, family-oriented approach to mealtime. The Mediterranean diet isn’t just delicious—it’s a warm, inviting change of pace from the nonstop chaos that many of us are used to.
That alone might be enough to have you saying, “Pass the olive oil!” but there’s more— and it’s important. Following a Mediterranean diet just might be one of the very best things that you can do for your health. Countless studies that have collectively researched and surveyed thousands of people show that eating Mediterranean-style could significantly lower your risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease. This diet can also help you reach or maintain a healthy weight without counting calories, cutting out entire food groups, or following complicated rules.
To be clear, the Mediterranean diet isn’t a diet in the self-denying, sacrificing sense of the word. Instead, it’s a lifestyle approach to eating rooted in a centuries-old tradition of using fresh, high-quality ingredients to make home-cooked meals that are shared in the company of family and friends. The word diet itself actually stems from the Greek word diaita, which has been translated as “way of living” or “habits and customs of the body.”1) Just look at the millions of people in Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Morocco, and the other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea who continue to eat in this simple and rewarding way, even as America’s fast-food, drive-thru lifestyle has taken hold. The Mediterranean diet’s staying power is a testament to its inherent value—and the science-backed benefits have never been clearer.
So grab a seat, and make yourself comfortable. In this book, you’ll discover the latest research on how the Mediterranean diet can transform your health and well-being. You’ ll also learn what it truly means to eat Mediterranean, plus you’ll find suggestions and advice for turning everyday meals into family-focused experiences to savor together. And, of course, you’ ll find over 100 fresh, mouthwatering recipes for Mediterranean-inspired breakfasts, salads, soups, sandwiches, snacks, sides, dinners, and desserts, along with menu ideas for every occasion—from quick weekday lunches to weekend brunches and family dinners. It all begins here, at Prevention Mediterranean Table.
Baked Falafel With Tzatziki Sauce
Traditional falafel recipes call for dried chickpeas and deep-frying. This one uses canned chickpeas and bakes the falafel balls in the oven. The result is quicker and less messy—but just as delicious.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves 8 (3 Falafel and about 1/3 cup tzatziki per serving)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed (see note on page 80)
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves or cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4 Whole Wheat Pitas (page 164), halved and split
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1. To make the falafel: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a large baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
2. In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas until broken up. Add the onion, parsley or cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pulse until pasty but not pureed. Pulse in the bread crumbs and baking powder until the mixture firms up.
3. Form 24 golf ball–size balls of the chickpea mix and place on the baking sheet. Gently press to flatten slightly. Brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
4. To make the tzatziki: Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, dill, mint, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin.
5. To serve, put 3 falafel in each pita half, drizzle with 1/3 cup of the tzatziki, and top with the tomato and olives.
Per serving: 279 calories, 12 g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 4 g sugars, 9 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 7 g fiber, 811 mg sodium
Vegetarian Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
Pickled grape leaves are sold online or at Mediterranean markets. They also sell grape leaves in water; depending on the brand, they may need additional boiling to soften enough to roll.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Serves about 20 (3 per serving)
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking brown rice
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 jar (16 ounces) pickled grape leaves (about 70 leaves)
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Cook the onion, stirring until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant and the rice is coated in oil and slightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and cook until the rice is only half cooked, about 5 minutes.
2. Remove the rice from the heat and stir in the tomatoes, dill, parsley, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and the lemon peel. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
3. Remove the grape leaves from the jar, rinse under cold water, and squeeze gently. Spread a leaf shiny side down and place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center. Fold the bottom of the leaf (where the stem was) over the filling, fold the 2 sides into the center, and then roll into a cylinder. Repeat with the remaining filling and leaves, setting aside any broken or unusable leaves. You may have leftover filling; use it in stuffed peppers, or freeze it for your next time making dolmades.
4. Cover the bottom of a large pot with the broken grape leaves. If you don’t have enough, place a layer of wooden skewers down. You don’t want the dolmades touching the bottom of the pot (they make break or burn). Arrange the dolmades in a single layer, tightly against each other, with the seam side down. When the first layer is complete, add another in the same way, until all the dolmades are in.
5. Drizzle the remaining 5 tablespoons oil over all the dolmades. Place a plate over the dolmades with a weight on top (such as a jar of water or a smaller pot) to keep it from floating up. Add enough water to cover the plate by 1''. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 40 minutes.
6. Remove the weight and plate and pour the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice over the dolmades. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.
7. The dolmades can be eaten warm, room temperature, or cold. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Per serving: 87 calories, 1 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 1 g sugars, 6 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g fiber, 399 mg sodium
Parchment-Baed Halibut with Fennel and Carrots
Cooking foods in parchment paper, or en papillote, creates a small packet where the food is allowed to steam in its own juices. For a grand presentation, open them at the dinner table, where the herb-scented vapors will fill the room. Round out the meal with a light grain, such as whole wheat couscous.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
1 bulb fennel, cored, thinly sliced, and fronds reserved
1 bunch young carrots, quartered and tops removed
1 small shallot, sliced
4 skinless halibut fillets (6 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 slices orange
8 sprigs thyme
4 leaves fresh sage, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Tear 4 squares of parchment paper, about 15'' x 15''.
2. In the middle of a piece of parchment, set 1/4 of the fennel, carrots, and shallot, topped by 1 piece of fish. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and a pinch of the pepper. Lay 1 slice of the orange, 2 sprigs of the thyme, 1/4 of the sage, and a bit of fennel frond on top. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the wine around the fish.
3. Bring up the opposite sides of the parchment and fold them together, like you’re folding the top of a paper bag, to seal all the edges. Set the packet on a baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
4. Bake until the packets are slightly browned and puffed, about 13 minutes. Allow to rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Set individual packets on plates and with kitchen shears or a small knife, carefully cut open at the table. (Caution:
The escaping steam will be hot.)
Per serving: 253 calories, 34 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 6 g sugars, 3 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 5 g fiber, 455 mg sodium