Here at Luna Grill, we’re big fans of Mediterranean cuisine. We are fans of providing our communities with delicious meals inspired by the cultures surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. We are also advocates of helping spread the knowledge of staple Mediterranean foods and dishes to our customers so they can enjoy the process of making Mediterranean dishes from start to finish, anywhere and anytime.
We’ve put together some of our favorite dishes for a filling and healthy dinner following the Mediterranean diet that are easy and quick.
What Is the Mediterranean Diet?
Before we dive into some of our favorite Mediterranean diet recipes, it’s important to understand what the Mediterranean diet actually is. This diet emphasized plant-based foods and healthy fats, focusing on foods that are made up of grains, veggies, and fruits. Many healthcare providers recommend this diet because it is well known to support heart health and mental health.
This diet is popular in the coastal cultures of the twenty-two countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Because of the area’s ideal climate for producing crops that are core to the Mediterranean diet, this way of eating and style of meals has been popular for hundreds of years.
For example, olives might be the top core ingredient in all Mediterranean food, and Spain has been the number one producer of this crop for generations. And Mediterranean flavors are used worldwide.
Where Does Mediterranean Food Get Its Inspiration?
Mediterranean cuisine has inspiration from a variety of countries around the Mediterranean Sea. We see popular seafood dishes from Spain, with Spanish twists and spices in dishes like paella and migas.
Greece is popularly known for the gyro, a dish of beef and lamb meat served in a pita, typically topped with cucumber, lettuce, and tomato. The North African countries are known for popular Mediterranean dishes like Egyptian ful medames, shakshouka, and dishes made with couscous.
Regardless of the variation in Mediterranean cuisine from country to country, there are staple ingredients that you will find used throughout the region.
Mediterranean Cuisine Staples
Olives play a vital role in Mediterranean dishes. Olive oil is used in almost any savory dish you could think of in this region and is revered as a precious commodity with lots of historical value. And for good reason, too.
Olive oil is great for supporting gut and heart health and is the number one source of healthy fats in Mediterranean dishes. It is included in many appetizers and entrees alike.
It wouldn’t be a trip around the Mediterranean Sea without sampling some of the finest wines made in the world. The climate in this region is great for vineyards, much like it is for growing olives.
That said, grapes are largely grown in this portion of the world and therefore find their way into being a staple Mediterranean ingredient. Healthy wines are a great pairing for your Mediterranean-inspired dinner.
Chickpeas are another superfood that has many benefits. These little legumes pack a mighty punch of protein and are so versatile. Some of the most popular dishes found around the Mediterranean Sea are based on chickpeas, like hummus and falafel.
Dishes made with chickpeas and lentils are great for plant-based people since they provide lots of essential vitamins and minerals that find their way into many others’ diets through meats. They can even be made crispy for a variety of textures.
Like many diets around the world, whole grains play a vital role in the Mediterranean diet. Wheat is used in staple types of bread found across cultures, like pita bread, naan, and lavash.
Many classic dishes rely on grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and wheat to be the vessel for which the food and fresh herbs are held.
Veggies: Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion
We couldn’t pass up Mediterranean staples without mentioning some of the most popular fresh vegetables found in the dishes. Tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers are served fresh in many types of Mediterranean food, like Greek salads, wraps, and gyros.
However, they also serve important roles in other dishes, like shakshouka, ful medames, and harira. Many Mediterranean dishes also include roasted red peppers, bell peppers, zucchini, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Favorite Mediterranean Dishes for Dinner: Three Recipes
1. Savory and Citrusy Shrimp on Rice
Considering the Mediterranean is a sea, it’s not a surprise that many meals incorporate fresh and savory seafood. One of our favorite seasonal dishes does as well, and we’re here to share with you the best way to prep the dish: our savory, citrusy, and garlicky shrimp.
This dish doesn’t require many ingredients but leaves you with a flavorful and filling dinner. All you’ll need is shrimp (of course), lemon pepper seasoning, lemons, garlic, broth of your choice, and parsley.
Toss your shrimp in lemon pepper seasoning and allow them to sear in a pan with olive oil and optional butter for that buttery taste. Add your garlic and fry for about a minute, then add a small cup of broth with lemon juice to the pan.
Once your shrimp have cooked through, add a handful of chopped parsley and reduce the heat to low. Allow to simmer and for the broth to deglaze.
There you have it! Quick, easy, and healthy lemon garlic shrimp. You may be thinking that this dish doesn’t seem particularly Mediterranean, though, besides the seafood. We like to give it a Mediterranean twist by serving it with basmati rice and tzatziki sauce for drizzling or dipping.
You can also toss the shrimp in a pita and add fresh veggies and sauce for a different way to enjoy this meal. And it’s naturally gluten-free!
2. Mediterranean Salad With Couscous
For the nights when you want to just toss something healthy yet filling together, we can’t recommend a Mediterranean salad enough. Filled with the aromatic flavors of the middle east, a Mediterranean salad has variety and can be easily tweaked to your liking.
This 15-minute salad recipe is the perfect way to get a balanced and hearty meal together quickly and easily. As we mentioned, you can add and remove anything in a salad to your liking; our recipe uses the following ingredients as the base: couscous, lettuce (or any type of mixed greens), tomato, cucumber, red onion, mint, parsley, and feta cheese.
Set your couscous to cook per package instructions. While that is cooking, prep your veggies. Chop your cucumber and tomatoes into small bite-sized pieces. Dice your green onion a bit smaller, and finely mince your mint and parsley. Once you’ve done this, it’s simply time to plate everything up.
We like to toss our greens in a tahini dressing or a lemon vinaigrette, but that’s optional. You can use any dressing you’d like.
Then simply add the prepped ingredients. We like to layer our cooked couscous on top of the lettuce and then drop in a handful of our veggies. Top with feta cheese for a pungent finish! This side dish is sure to wow your guests any night of the week.
There are many optional additions that you can add to your salad. You might want to add falafel or grilled chicken breasts for added protein. For interesting notes of texture and flavor, you can also top it with pine nuts, kalamata olives, capers, and artichoke hearts.
3. Gyro Pita
The gyro pita is a classic Mediterranean dish. The flavors are a unique blend of spices and seasonings that make it special and savory. And it’s an easy dish to plate up at home!
While you can make gyro meat at home, you can skip this step by purchasing gyro pre-made from Luna Grill since this process can be a bit time-consuming. Regardless of what you decide to do, making sure you have gyro meat on hand is the first step to making a gyro pita. Or mix it up with some grilled Mediterranean chicken.
The next ingredient you need on hand is a pita. Pita bread is relatively easy to make at home and is always delicious fresh, but it’s also easy to find a tasty store bought pita as well. This can be an easy meal on busy weeknights or for work lunches.
Then it comes to toppings/fillings. Just like with the Mediterranean salad, there are endless opportunities for what you can top your gyro pita with. Our favorites are arugula, thinly sliced onion, sliced cucumbers, diced tomatoes, and feta cheese. And, of course, you can’t have a gyro pita without tzatziki!
For our vegetarian friends, you can make this dish plant-based by substituting the meat for falafel. Just as tasty and good for you, this is a great way to get in some extra veggies. You can try out our falafel recipe and earn rewards in the process!
Mediterranean Meals for Any Day
Whether you’re looking for something quick and easy, light or filling, or just something new to try out at home, we’ve got you covered with our guide on our favorite Mediterraneandinner recipes. From a refreshing Mediterranean-inspired salad to a hearty gyro pita, there is so much variety and flavor when it comes to Mediterranean and Greek dinners.
But hey, sometimes you don’t feel like cooking, and that’s okay! That’s when a quick trip or an online order, Luna Grill has you covered!
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