Food in the Mediterranean is on your mind? Searching for the best Mediterranean food? Perfect! Here’s the Mediterranean food everybody needs to know about
The Mediterranean food guide
The Mediterranean food encompasses the ethnic cuisines of people living along the Mediterranean Sea.
The Mediterranean food includes food from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Croatia, Greece, Albania, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and North African countries: Egypt, Libia, Tunis, Algeria, and Morocco.
Mediterranean food stands for an abundance of fresh flavors and healthy ingredients.
Some of the typical Mediterranean herbs and spices used in the Mediterranean cuisines are parsley, garlic, black pepper, oregano, basil, mint, bay leaf, cloves, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, lavender, marjoram, paprika, rosemary, sage, thyme, saﬀron, savory, sumac, tarragon, and turmeric.
The Mediterranean diet is famous as one of the healthiest diets in the world. It uses lots of healthy vegetables and juicy Mediterranean fruits.
Typical Mediterranean fruits are grapes, figs, pomegranates, apricots, peaches, quince, plums, cherries, dates, grapefruits, melons, nectarines, and lemons, oranges, clementines, tangerines, apples, pears, strawberries, avocados, olives, and tomatoes.
Staple ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine are olive oil, fresh vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onion, eggplants, zucchini …), fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, oregano, basil, mint, marjoram…), nutritious legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), bread, pasta, and rice.
Not to forget to say, a glass of wine accompanies a typical Mediterranean dinner.
- THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD EVERYONE NEEDS TO TRY ONCE IN THEIR LIFETIME
- 1. PAELLA, THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD FROM SPAIN
- 2. RISOTTO FROM ITALY
- 3. CRNI RIŽOTO FROM CROATIA
- 4. PIZZA, THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD FROM ITALY
- 5. PIDE FROM TURKEY
- 6. SHAKSHOUKA
- 7. MENEMEN FROM TURKEY
- 8. GYRO, THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD FROM GREECE
- 9. TAGINE, THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD FROM MOROCCO
- 10. MUHAMMARA, THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD FROM SYRIA
- 11. KIBBEH FROM LEBANON
- 12. FALAFEL
- 13. KOFTAS FROM TURKEY
- 14. GARLIC SOUP FROM FRANCE
- 15. GAZPACHO SOUP FROM SPAIN
- 16. MOLOKHIA SOUP FROM EGYPT
- 17. CALDO VERDE SOUP FROM PORTUGAL
- 18. BOUILLABAISSE FROM FRANCE
- 19. BACALAO AL PIL PIL FROM THE BASQUE COUNTRY
- 20. MOUSAKA FROM GREECE
- 21. LASAGNE FROM ITALY
- 22. MEZZE
- 23. TAPAS FROM SPAIN
- 24. ANTIPASTI FROM ITALY
- 25. BRUSCHETTA FROM ITALY
- 26. PAN CON TOMATE FROM SPAIN
- 27. CAPRESE SALAD FROM ITALY
- 28. GREEK SALAD
- 29. TABBOULEH SALAD
- 30. COUSCOUS FROM ALGERIA
THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD EVERYONE NEEDS TO TRY ONCE IN THEIR LIFETIME
The Mediterranean food recipes for the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean food list
1. PAELLA, THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD FROM SPAIN
Paella is one of the most famous Mediterranean dishes.
This savory Spanish rice dish belongs to the list of the most famous foods in the world.
Paella originates from Valencia in Spain. Probably the most popular type of paella is seafood paella. But, the original Valencian paella is a dish made with mixed meat chicken, sausage, rabbit, and even snails).
Nevertheless, Spaniards savor different types of paella: meat paella, seafood paella, vegetable paella, and mixed paella (meat, seafood, and vegetables).
But no matter what type of paella somebody prefers, paella is undoubtedly one of the tastiest Mediterranean dishes.
READ MORE: Traditional Spanish food
2. RISOTTO FROM ITALY
Risotto is a famous Mediterranean rice dish from Italy.
This traditional Italian dish is made with rice (Arborio rice or Carnaroli rice), meat, fish, and vegetable broths with onion, Italian olive oil (sometimes butter or even lard), white wine, and Parmesan cheese.
There are various types of risotto dishes: seafood risotto, shrimp risotto, beef mince risotto, mushroom risotto…
Rice is the Mediterranean food highly appreciated in Mediterranean cuisine. Italian risotto is unquestionably one of the most popular Mediterranean dishes.
READ MORE: Traditional Italian food
3. CRNI RIŽOTO FROM CROATIA
Crni rižoto (black risotto) is an iconic Mediterranean dish from Croatia.
This seafood rice dish is a dish made with cuttlefish. The dish is black because of the cuttlefish ink.
Crni rižoto is known for its strong seafood flavor. Pescetarians love it! It is a must-try seafood Mediterranean dish on the Croatian Dalmatian Coast for seafood lovers.
Crni rižoto is a dish also prepared on the Montenegro coast. But also in the Veneto region in Italy, and in Valencia, and Catalonia in Spain. With some slight regional modifications, of course.
But if you want to order black risotto, ask for crni rižoto in Croatia and Montenegro, risotto al Nero di seppia in Italy, and el Arroz negro in Spain.
4. PIZZA, THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD FROM ITALY
Italian pizza is unquestionably one of the most popular Mediterranean dishes.
It is one of the most popular dishes in the world. This traditional Italian dish is prepared in almost every corner of the world today.
Some of the most popular types of traditional Italian pizza worldwide are Margherita pizza (cheese and tomato-based pizza), Marinara pizza ( tomato-topped pizza), Quattro Stagioni pizza (pizza with four sections with diverse ingredients), Quattro Formaggi pizza (with four types of cheese), and Siciliana pizza (a rectangular pizza with sauce and cheese).
5. PIDE FROM TURKEY
Pide is a famous Turkish pizza.
It is a popular Turkish dish made of baked flatbread stuffed with various fillings like spiced meat (typically lamb meat with the Baharat spice mix and garnished with parsley), Turkish kasar cheese (aka Turkish mozzarella), spinach (mixed with salt, pepper, and cumin), and Turkish beef sausage (sujuk).
Turkish pide dough is softer than Italian pizza dough. It is also one of the healthiest dishes from the East Mediterranean.
Shakshouka is a delicious dish made of eggs poached in a spicy tomato pepper sauce and flavored with paprika, onions, chilies, cumin, zataar, and coriander.
Shakshouka originally comes from the Maghreb region of North Africa, precisely from Tunisia.
But, Maghreb Jews brought Shakshuka to Israel and modified it to make it ‘pareve’. Israel has become the country where this tasty dish has been brought to the next level.
Today, Shakoushouka is a synonym for an Israeli dish. However, Shakshsouka is one of the must-try Mediterranean dishes!
READ MORE: Traditional Israeli food
7. MENEMEN FROM TURKEY
Menemen is a popular Turkish dish.
It is similar to Shakshouka. And it is also eaten for breakfast, just like shakshouka.
Menemen is a dish prepared with scrambled eggs, fresh tomatoes, green peppers, and sometimes even onions and garnished with parsley, green onions, mint, or dill. There is also a version of menemen with whole eggs instead of scrambled eggs.
The dish got its name after the town of Menemen in Izmir. Turkish menemen is one of the best breakfast dishes in the Mediterranean.
8. GYRO, THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD FROM GREECE
Gyro is a national food of Greece.
Gyro is a famous Greek sandwich of pita bread and meat. It is similar to Turkish döner kebab or Middle Eastern shawarma.
Typical Greek Gyro is a sandwich made with pork and chicken, but modern gyro could also have lamb or beef meat. It comes with tomatoes, onions, and cold tzatziki sauce.
Gyro is a must-try Mediterranean food from Greece.
9. TAGINE, THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD FROM MOROCCO
Tagine or tajine is a famous Mediterranean dish hailing from Morocco.
Even though couscous is the national dish of Morocco, tagine is the dish most associated with Morocco.
And with good reason, it is one of the tastiest Mediterranean dishes. It is known for the mix of sweet and sour tastes. It is one of the juiciest Medditerean dishes that gourmands adore.
Tagine is a meat-or fish-based stew with lots of juicy vegetables or fruit, dried fruits, and aromatic spices (turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, saffron, chili)
Traditionally it is prepared in a dome-shaped clay pot.
10. MUHAMMARA, THE MEDITERRANEAN FOOD FROM SYRIA
Muhammara is a famous Mediterranean spread from Syria.
It is a tasty walnut-red pepper spread that you cannot stop eating once you have started.
Muhammara is a dish made with roasted red peppers from Aleppo, walnuts, pomegranate molasses, and Mediterranean spices.
Muhammara is a staple dish of Syrian and Lebanese cuisines. It is one of the most delicious vegetarian dishes of Mediterranean food.
11. KIBBEH FROM LEBANON
Kibbeh is a national dish of Lebanon. But also a national dish of Syria.
Kibbeh is a Levantine dish made with soaked bulgur, lamb meat (most typically), toasted pine nuts, and herbs formed into balls.
There are also vegetarian versions of kibbeh made with potatoes, tomatoes, and pumpkins.
Syrian kibbeh balls can be raw, baked, or fried.
Delicious Kibbeh is a must-try Mediterranean dish in Lebanese and Syrian restaurants across the globe.
Middle Eastern Falafel is a popular dish of Mediterranean cuisine too, thanks to the Middle East countries on the Mediterranean Sea.
Falafel is a staple of Egyptian cuisine, Lebanese cuisine, Palestinian cuisine, Israeli cuisine, and (Jordanian cuisine).
Falafel originates from Egypt. It is called tameya in Egypt.
Egyptian tameya is a dish made with fava beans. Unlike in other countries, where falafel is made with chickpeas or chickpeas and fava beans.
Today falafel is popular street food in the world.
READ MORE: Traditional Egyptian food
13. KOFTAS FROM TURKEY
Koftas are famous grilled meatballs from Turkey.
Turkish koftas originate from ancient Persia. Küfta means ‘to beat‘ or ‘to grind‘ in Persian.
Traditional Turskih ciğ köfte are made with raw meat. Ciğ means raw, and köfte means meatballs in Turkish.
Koftas are made with raw ingredients: ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or mutton), bulgur, tomato paste, garlic, onion, and spices (like cumin and black pepper).
There are also vegetarian versions of ciğ köfte. Vegetarian ciğ köfte are made with only bulgur and even scrambled eggs.
Koftas are popular street food in Turkey sold by street vendors.
14. GARLIC SOUP FROM FRANCE
Creamy garlic soup from France is one of the healthiest Mediterranean dishes.
Traditional French garlic soup is a Mediterranean dish made of smashed garlic, salt, pepper, cloves, thyme, sage, bay leaves, olive oil, egg yolks, shredded cheese, and toasted rounds of baguette.
Cloves, thyme, sage, and bay leaves are the Mediterranean spices that make this soup hardly irresistible!
15. GAZPACHO SOUP FROM SPAIN
Are you interested in more delicious Mediterranean soups? Try Spanish gazpacho!
If you like savory tomatoes and soups, you will love gazpacho.
Gazpacho is a tomato-based soup originating from southern Spain. But unlike typical soups, gazpacho is enjoyed cold, not warm. Gazpacho is also traditionally drunk from a glass or a gazpacho bawl.
Gazpacho is a refreshing Mediterranean soup. It is a perfect refreshment for hot summer days.
16. MOLOKHIA SOUP FROM EGYPT
Want to try a unique Mediterranean soup? Go for green Egyptian molokhia soup.
Molokhia is a thick and slimy Egyptian soup made of finely chopped green leaves of the vegetable called jute or Jew’s mallow. Jute looks like mint, but it has larger leaves than mint.
This exceptional soup is a dish made with cooked Jute leaves and aromatic spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, rosemary, coriander, cumin).
Molokhia soup is a part of the cuisines of the Levant (Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan) and North African cuisines (Egypt, Tunisia).
17. CALDO VERDE SOUP FROM PORTUGAL
Caldo Verde is a famous kale soup from Portugal.
Traditional Portuguese kale soup is made with sliced kale (sometimes collard greens), potatoes, chouriço sausage (sometimes meat), onions, and garlic.
It is the most popular soup in Portugal. Caldo Verde soup is comfort food in Portugal. It is served literally everywhere in Portugal, from Portuguese homes to upscale restaurants.
18. BOUILLABAISSE FROM FRANCE
The Mediterranean is a synonym for fresh fish and seafood.
The Mediterranean diet is a synonym for healthy fish and seafood dishes.
Bouillabaisse is a famous fish and seafood soup from France. Some would argue that it is more a stew than a soup.
Nevertheless, it is a yummy and healthy Mediterranean dish made with fish (sea robin, sea bream, monkfish, mullet), seafood (mussels, octopus, spider crab, sea urchins), and vegetables (tomatoes, onions, potatoes, celery, leek).
Traditionally bouillabaisse is served with a special mayonnaise called rouille and grilled bread.
19. BACALAO AL PIL PIL FROM THE BASQUE COUNTRY
Bacalao pil pil, or cod in pil-pil sauce, is a famous dish from the Basque country.
It is a cod dish with a special pil-pil sauce. The dish is made with salt cod, garlic, and olive oil.
The ingredients are quite simple, but the secret of preparing great pil-pil sauce lies in the emulsification of the ingredients. The cooking pot needs to be constantly simmered to emulsify the ingredients. It is a simple cooking procedure, but only Basque people know how to do it properly to get one of the top Mediterranean dishes.
Basque cod in pil-pil sauce is one the best Mediterranean dishes you could ever try!
READ MORE: Basque food
20. MOUSAKA FROM GREECE
Moussaka is a traditional dish of Eastern Mediterranean cuisines.
Moussaka is a staple dish of Greek cuisine, Levant cuisines, Turkish cuisine, and Egyptian cuisine. Moussaka is assumed to originate from Arab countries.
But Greece is the country with which moussaka is the most associated. Greek moussaka is a baked and layered dish.
Moussaka is made with eggplants, potatoes, and minced meat, and topped with béchamel sauce.
There are vegetarian versions of moussaka, prepared without meat. But the main ingredient is always eggplant. For instance, Levant moussaka is a vegetarian-friendly dish with chickpeas, while Turkish moussaka is not layered.
21. LASAGNE FROM ITALY
Are you interested in more layered Mediterranean dishes?
What about Italian lasagne? Lasagne is a famous layered Mediterranean dish from Italy.
Lasagne is a dish made with wide and flat lasagne pasta sheets, ragu, vegetables, and Italian seasonings (garlic, basil, oregano ..). The dish is topped with grated cheese and baked.
It is one of the must-try Mediterranean dishes in Italy!
Mezze refers to small dishes served as appetizers.
Sometimes mezze dishes are a full meal. Traditional mezze dishes can be cold and warm.
Mezze dishes originate from ancient Persia. The word mezze means ‘to taste’ in Persian. But the custom of serving mezze dishes has spread thanks to the former Ottoman Empire.
Mezze dishes are a staple of the Mediterranean cuisines of Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Greece, Cyprus, Albania, southern Croatia, and Montenegro.
23. TAPAS FROM SPAIN
Tapas are a synonym for Spanish cuisine.
Spanish tapas stand for delicious Mediterranean appetizers from Spain. Tapas are cold or warm small snacks typically served with drinks in Spanish bars.
Some of the most common cold tapas in Spain are pan con tomato, membrillo con queso, gazpacho, and jamon, queso y chorizo con pan .
And some of the most popular warm tapas in Spain are gambas al ajillo, boquerones fritos, pimientos de padron, and caracoles snail tapas.
24. ANTIPASTI FROM ITALY
Antipasti dishes are famous appetizers from Italy.
Traditional Italian antipasti include cured meats, various types of cheese, pickled vegetables, anchovies, olives, artichokes, and pepperoncini.
Antipasti differ in regions in Italy. Antipasti include more seafood in southern Italy and more meats in Northern Italy.
However, Italian antipasti dishes belong to the most palatable Mediterranean food.
25. BRUSCHETTA FROM ITALY
Bruschetta is one of the most famous Italian antipasti.
Crispy bruschetta is a grilled slice of bread scrubbed with garlic and sprinkled with olive oil and salt.
Some types of bruschetta are topped with cheese, salami, vegetables (most commonly tomatoes), and prosciutto.
One of the tastiest is bruschetta with garlic, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil.
26. PAN CON TOMATE FROM SPAIN
Pan con Tomate is a mouthwatering Spanish tapa.
Pan con Tomate means bread with tomatoes. But this fabulous Spanish tapa dish represents a perfectly toasted bread with fresh grated tasty Spanish tomatoes. Finally, it is all sprinkled with salt and Spanish olive oil.
Pan con Tomate is also called pan tumaca. Crispy pan con tomate is favorite Spanish breakfast food.
27. CAPRESE SALAD FROM ITALY
Insalata Caprese is a famous Mediterranean salad from Italy.
This celebrated salad is a dish made with fresh sliced tomatoes, Italian mozzarella cheese, Italian olive oil, Aceto balsamico (Italian vinegar), and fresh basil leaves.
Obviously, Caprese salad from Italy is one of the all-time best Mediterranean salads!
28. GREEK SALAD
Traditional Greek salad is called Horiatiki.
The salad is named after a Greek village called Horiatiki. Greek Horiatiki is undoubtedly one of the most famous Mediterranean salads.
Greek salad is a dish made with sliced Mediterranean veggies (cucumbers, tomatoes, green bell pepper, red onion, Greek kalamata olives), chopped Greek feta cheese, Greek olive oil, and vinegar. It can be seasoned with oregano or fresh mint too.
29. TABBOULEH SALAD
Tabbouleh is a healthy Eastern Mediterranean salad originating from Lebanon.
Lebanese tabbouleh is a dish made of finely chopped vegetables, parsley, bulgur wheat, olive oil, and lemon juice. This refreshing and healthy salad is served cold.
Tabbouleh is a staple salad of Lebanese cuisine, Syrian cuisine, Israeli cuisine, Jordanian cuisine, and Egyptian cuisine.
30. COUSCOUS FROM ALGERIA
Coscous is the nation dish of Alergia.
But it is also a staple dish of North African cuisines: Tunisian cuisine, Moroccan cuisine, Lybian cuisine, and Mauritanian cuisine.
Traditional Algerian couscous is made of cooked durum wheat semolina with meat, vegetables (tomato, green beans, chickpeas, carrots, zucchini), and various spices (nutmeg, black pepper, paprika, bay leaf).
Algerian couscous is one of the all-time healthiest and yummiest Mediterranean dishes.