Make Your New Year Bright with Mediterranean Diet Meals

Make the most of the Mediterranean diet and incorporate these healthy dishes into your routine.

Did the unending onslaught of holiday parties take a toll on your waistband? Looking to turn over a new spinach leaf in the new year? Studies have shown that following a Mediterranean meal plan can actually increase your lifespan, while helping you shed that unwanted winter weight. Make the most of the Mediterranean diet’s moment and incorporate these healthy dishes into your routine with these recipes from the cookbook Delicious Mediterranean Diet Recipes

Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 can (15 to 15 ½ ounces) white cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion, halved
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tuna in olive oil (drain; reserve oil) 1 cup diced plum tomatoes
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups torn arugula leaves
  • 4 thick flatbreads
  1. In a bowl, combine cannellini beans, red onion, tuna, tomatoes, olives, chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons of the reserved olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, tossing gently to combine. Stir in arugula.
  2. Preheat grill or heat grill pan. Brush flatbreads lightly with the remaining reserved olive oil. Grill until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Cut flatbreads in halves or quarters. Serve with salad.
  3. Each serving contains about 480 calories, 31 grams of protein, 51 grams of carbohydrate, 16 grams of total fat (3 grams saturated), 7 grams of fiber, 27 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,273 milligrams of sodium.

To get more mileage out of this meal:
  • Serve on crostini for a crowd-pleasing appetizer
  • Incorporate some mixed greens for a power-lunch salad
  • Mix with pasta and green beans for a spin on Pasta Nicoise

Bright Green Tabbouleh
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7 servings
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons bulgur wheat
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 large lemons
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ? cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 4 green onions (white bulbs and 3 inch light green), thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes (3 ounces each), seeded and cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice
  1. In a large bowl, combine bulgur and boiling water. Cover and let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. From lemons, grate 2 tablespoons of peel and squeeze ½ cup juice. Drain bulgur if necessary. Add lemon peel and juice, parsley, mint, oil, garlic, green onions, ½ teaspoon salt, and ? teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Toss ingredients well to combine. Stir in chopped tomatoes and cucumber.
  3. Let tabbouleh salad stand, covered, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to blend flavors before serving.

To get more mileage out of this meal:
  • Add to a leafy chicken or lean steak salad for a filling lunch
  • Use to stuff and bake an avocado or bell peper
  • Make dolmas for a bite on the go
  • Fill your favorite pita pocket with tabbouleh, chicken, red onion, and balsamic vinegar

Syrian Shrimp Kebabs
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, very finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 16 jumbo shrimp (1 pound), peeled, de-veined, with tail shells intact
  • 16 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 small onion, quartered, separated into 16 pieces
  • 16 lemon wedges
  • 4 (12-inch) wide bamboo skewers
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  1. In a bowl, stir together pine nuts, oil, onion, lemon juice, tomato paste, paprika, allspice, coriander, cumin, salt, cloves, and cinnamon to form a paste. Toss shrimp in paste to coat. On skewers, thread 4 each of bay leaves, shrimp, onions, and lemon wedges. Let flavors set for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Oil the grill rack. Brush skewers with olive oil and grill 6 to 8 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, until shrimp are opaque. Serve with flatbreads and cucumbers in yogurt.

To get more mileage out of this meal:
  • Add some protein to your lunch salad by using leftover shrimp
  • Have a round two dinner with leftover shrimp and tabbouleh

Salmon Provencal with Zucchini
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pieces (6 ounces each) skinless salmon fillet
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini (8 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Season salmon on both sides with ¼ teaspoon salt and ? teaspoon ground black pepper. Add salmon to skillet and cook 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; turn and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until opaque.
  2. Meanwhile, drain tomatoes, reserving ¼ cup juice. Chop tomatoes.
  3. Transfer salmon to plate; cover with foil to keep warm. To same skillet, add onion, and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomatoes with reserved juice; heat to boiling. Cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring. Remove skillet from heat; stir in olives and capers.
  4. While sauce is cooking, cut each zucchini lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch thick slices.
  5. In microwave-safe medium bowl, place zucchini and 2 tablespoons water. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high 5 minutes or until just fork-tender. Drain zucchini; add lemon juice and toss to combine.
  6. Place salmon on plates; top with sauce and serve with zucchini.

To get more mileage out of this meal:
  • Add to a leafy spinach salad with some red onion, cherry tomatoes, toasted almonds, and a balsamic dressing
  • Serve on a bed of tabbouleh with roasted vegetables
  • Throw leftover salmon into a puttanesca sauce

Fire Roasted Nectarines
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • ? cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • 4 ripe medium nectarines, each cut in half and pitted
  1. Prepare berry salsa: In a medium bowl, mix strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sugar, ginger, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  2. Preheat outdoor grill to medium (or use indoor grill pan). Spray cut sides of nectarine halves with non-stick cooking spray. Place nectarine halves on hot grill and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until fruit are lightly charred and tender, turning once.
  3. To serve, in each of 4 dessert bowls, place 2 nectarine halves, cut sides up, and top with berry salsa.


To get more mileage out of this meal:

  • Put it in your morning bowl of oatmeal or greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey for a touch of sweetness
  • Doll up a scoop of low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt and treat yourself

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