Since it became popular as one of the healthiest diets more than a decade ago, the Mediterranean diet has fascinated many. As researchers continue to study Mediterranean gastronomy, traditional Mediterranean recipes have become increasingly popular. The Mediterranean diet is native to countries located in the Mediterranean region and is characterized by a significantly high intake of vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, grains, fish, and cereals. The diet also entails lower intake of meats (especially red meat), and olive oils are the primary source of fats. There’s also a moderate intake of wine daily, during meals.
Scientific studies conducted in the recent past have established a connection between the Mediterranean diet and increased life expectancy. People who focus on this diet also have a lower risk of contract series ailments such as Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes.
3 Authentic Mediterranean Recipes
1) Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette
Yield: Generously Serve for 2
- 15-oz can of Yellowfin Tuna that’s packed in olive oil
- Handful of rinsed, dried watercress
- Half cup of well-rinsed, canned black beans
- Half cup of well-rinsed, canned cannellini beans
- Half cup of well-rinsed, canned garbanzo beans
- Half cup of well-rinsed, canned black beans
- Half cup of well-rinsed, canned red kidney beans
- Handful of green beans (fresh)
- 4 radishes (sliced paper thin)
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- Couple of basil leaves
- Tarragon sprigs (fresh)
- Lemon wedges
- Thyme sprigs (fresh)
- Tarragon Vinaigrette
- 2 Tbsp fresh tarragon
- 2 Tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of grainy Dijon mustard
- Quarter Tbsp of salt
- Quarter Tbsp of black pepper (fresh cracked)
- Put your green beans in a boiling water pot then let blanch for about a minute. The objective is to make them bright green as they start to get tender. Drain the beans then put them in an ice water bowl. Let them sit until they’re ice cold, then drain, and pat dry.
- Choose a platter that’s big enough so that each distinct element of this salad can sit on its own. Place your canned beans in the sections around the outer side of your platter.
- Place a mound of watercress at the center (and the top) of your tuna. Carefully remove it from the can so that it doesn’t break up much.
- Arrange your green beans and tomato halves on your plate. Scatter fresh herbs and radishes across everything, then tuck the lemon wedges. You may also scatter a sprig of tarragon or two.
- Just before you serve, liberally drizzle with vinaigrette
- Remove thick stems from your tarragon then place it in a food processor to finely chop it
- Add the remaining ingredients to your bowl, taste, then adjust to your liking (if necessary)
2) Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Yield: Serving for 2
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
- 1 Zucchini of medium size (cut it into ribbons using a spiralizer)
- Half Yellow/Orange Pepper (Sweet Bell). Seed and cut to thin, long strips
- ¾ cupful of grape tomatoes (cut then in half, lengthwise)
- 8 large Basil leaves (fresh, and torn into pieces)
- 2-oz Feta Cheese crumbles
- Ingredients for the Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 5 oz. tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive-Oil
- 1 Tbsp of aged Balsamic Vinegar
- Kosher Salt (1 Pinch)
- 1 Tbsp of chopped Tomato (sun-dried)
a) Instructions for Balsamic Vinaigrette (Sun-Dried Tomato)
- Combine ingredients in a jar (small-size), seal then shake vigorously to combine everything. You may adjust the flavors by putting more olive oil or vinegar (if desired).
b) Instructions for the Salad
- On a 2-side serving plate, put the Zucchini ribbons in layers so they serve as a bed for your other ingredients
- Layering evenly, put your grape tomatoes, sweet pepper slices, basil leaves as well as feta cheese on your bed of zucchini ribbons
- Drizzle your vinaigrette then add grinds of black pepper (fresh).
3) Mediterranean Potato Salad
This traditional Mediterranean recipe is ideal if you want to make a batch of potato salad, which is especially great for a picnic.
- 4 pounds of new potatoes (small) that are scrubbed clean
- Salted water (use 1.5 Tbsp. of salt for each quart of water) to cook the potatoes
- 1 pound fresh and tender green beans that are trimmed into 1” pieces. You’ll need about 4 cups of these prepped green beans
- 3 large red bell peppers (roasted), with core removed, and freshly cut into 2 x quarter-inch strips
- Three-quarter cup of minced red onions
- One cup of minced pitted Kalamata, as well as green olives
- Handful of Italian parsley leaves (fresh) that are chopped roughly
- Handful of baby arugula leaves (fresh)
- 2 Tbsp of whole grain mustard
- 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar
- One teaspoon of dried tarragon
- Half teaspoon of salt
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
Boil the Potatoes
- Place whole potatoes (scrubbed clean) in a large-sized pot then cover with cold water up to 1” above the surface of the potatoes. Bring it to simmer on a high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain the simmer.
- Cook for up to 15 minutes until the potatoes are easily pierced using a fork (or sharp knife)
- Drain then put the potatoes on a sheet pan so they can cool
Blanch the Green Beans
- While potatoes are cooking, boil water in another pot (about 2 quarts of water added 1 tablespoon of salt). Put the green beans in this pot.
- Blanch for 5 Minutes
- Cook till tender, then drain and put them in an ice water bowl to stop further cooking
- Make vinaigrette as the green beans and potatoes are cooking. In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, tarragon, mustard, olive oil, and salt.
Cut Potatoes into Bit-Sized Pieces, Then Toss
- After potatoes are cooled, cut them into 1-inch bite-size pieces and put in a bowl
- Toss the bell peppers, red onions, green beans, olives, and vinaigrette to marinate.
- Toss with arugula, parsley once ready to serve. Can last a couple of days when refrigerated.
If you’re just looking to get started on traditional Mediterranean recipes, these three options are a good way to start. Of course, there are many more that’ll help you adopt the Mediterranean gastronomy.