The Mediterranean diet is well-known as one of the healthiest in the world. This way of eating focuses on whole unprocessed foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, minimal refined carbs, less meat and more fish.


The benefits are well documented. Following a Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. It appears to minimise weight gain and helps people stay at a healthy weight. Not to mention, it may lead to a longer live, as it's the diet followed in two out of the five 'blue zones.'

Feel inspired to follow a Mediterranean diet? Check out our recipes below made with ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts, fresh fruit, oily fish, wholegrains, seafood and leafy veg.

Visit our ‘All you need to know about diets’ page for recipes and more expert advice on weight loss, including low-GI and the Mediterranean diet’

Mediterranean diet recipes

Olive oil and extra virgin olive oil

Olive oil is rich in mono-unsaturated fats – these are less likely to oxidise and produce damaging free radicals in the body than other fats, such as those found in vegetable oil. It's anti-inflammatory, packed with protective nutrients like vitamin E and linked to improved brain function.

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Chicken piccata with garlicky greens & new potatoes

Tasty chicken piccata is an Italian dish. After lightly frying the chicken in olive oil, lemon, capers and stock are added to the pan. Ready in 20 minutes, it's nutritious and low in calories too.

Chicken piccata with garlicky greens & new potatoes on a white plate

Pasta e fagioli

Translated, the name means pasta and beans but this dish is so much more. It's a vegan recipe packed with kale, carrots, celery, tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. All you need to do is add the ingredients to your slow cooker.

Pasta e fagioli in a two bowls

Lighter chicken cacciatore

The classic Italian 'hunter's stew' gets a healthy makeover, with low-fat chicken breasts, prosciutto and a rich herby tomato sauce. Serve with brown rice or steamed greens, if you like.

Lighter chicken cacciatore in a dish

Unsalted nuts and seeds

Walnuts, almonds and pine nuts are common in the Mediterranean diet – each bring their own impressive benefits. Walnuts contain high amounts of poly-unsaturated fats which are good for brain health. Almonds may reduce the risk of heart disease. Pine nuts are rich in vitamin E so may protect against ageing.

Grilled vegetables with cannellini beans & vegan pesto

Plate up a colourful dish of grilled veg, tomatoes, cannellini beans, homemade pesto and an extra scattering of pine nuts. For an extra helping of greens, serve with a salad dressed with olive oil and lemon.

Grilled vegetables with cannellini beans & vegan pesto on a serving platter

Spanish chicken stew

A healthy, hearty Spanish chicken stew to feed the family, that you can prepare in just 10 minutes. This rustic meal is best served with crusty bread or rice, so you don't lose any of the sauce. Top with toast flaked almonds for added crunch.

Spanish chicken stew with toasted almonds and bread


A quintessentially Sicilian veggie dish of aubergines, tomatoes, raisins and capers – all made with a good glug of olive oil. Pine nuts are scattered over the top for a contrasting texture and nutty flavour.

Caponata with aubergines, basil and pine nuts

Oily varieties of fish

While not all fish consumed on the Mediterranean diet are available to use here at home, there are still plenty to enjoy, including sardines and mackerel. Canned sardines are a great alternative to fresh, in fact they're even more nutritious because you can eat the bones. Mackerel is rich in healthy fats and selenium, which is important for a healthy immune system.

Sardines & peperonata on wholemeal toast

Punchy flavours combine in this 12-minute meal, rich in fibre, iron and omega-3. Make a quick peperonata with pre-roasted peppers, capers, shallot and garlic – the punchy flavours work wonderfully with the oily fish.

Sardines & red pepper peperonata on wholemeal toast

Cod & anchovy bake

Get your portion of white fish and oily anchovies with this easy all-in-one recipe. It delivers four of your five-a-day, thanks to the addition of tomatoes, spinach and red pepper.

Cod and anchovy bake with potatoes, tomatoes and capers

Sardine pasta with crunchy parsley crumbs

An affordable way to include oily fish in your diet, canned sardines add oomph to this simple, family pasta dish. Switch to brown spaghetti or linguine, if you prefer, and serve with salad.

Sardine pasta with crunchy parsley crumbs in a serving platter and bowl


Interestingly, prawns provide 22 times the vitamin E levels of chicken or beef – this acts as an antioxidant and may protect against heart disease and cancer. Mussels, along with other shellfish, contain important nutrients such as zinc, B12, iron and selenium.

Prawn & harissa spaghetti

Try our spaghetti recipe for two with king prawns, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and spicy harissa. It only takes 20 minutes and is healthy too – great for a midweek meal.

Prawn & harissa spaghetti in a silver pan

Smoky paprika seafood rice

Who said paella was just for holidays? In this healthy, low-fat rice dish we've combined prawns, baby squid and mussels with smoky paprika and paella rice.

Smoky paprika seafood rice with chunks of lemon

Quick and easy fish stew

This simple, speedy one-pot is made with white fish fillets, king prawns, a rich tomato sauce and enough veg to count for 3 of your 5-a-day. All you need now is some brown bread for soaking up the sauce.

Simple fish stew

Colourful fresh fruit and veg

The Mediterranean diet includes lots of plant foods, such as avocado, tomatoes, pomegranate, cucumbers and berries. Avocados are high in mono-unsaturated fats which supports a healthy heart and tomatoes contain carotenoids which keep eyes healthy.

Avocado panzanella

With just 20 minutes preparation and no cooking time you'll be able to whip up this colourful avocado salad in no time. Chunky of crust bread add texture and soak up all those lovely juices from the tomatoes.

Avocado panzanella with fork and spoon

Salade niçoise

Add salade niçoise to your repertoire. With crunchy lettuce, ripe tomatoes, potatoes, tuna and soft-boiled eggs, it's full of nutrients. You can scale back the potatoes, if you prefer to keep things low-carb.

Salade niçoise with eggs, potatoes and tuna

Feta, beetroot & pomegranate salad

After something light for lunch? This bright salad combines salty feta, sweet beetroot and tart pomegranate with mint, parsley, cinnamon and cumin. It's an explosion of flavours that you're guaranteed to love.

Feta, beetroot & pomegranate salad with rocket and lettuce leaves

Green leafy veg

There are lots of ways to get your greens. Spinach is an excellent source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, kale is packed with vitamin C which supports the immune system and broccoli contains sulphur which may supports a healthy gut.

Pasta primavera

We've used broad beans, leeks and asparagus tips to make this healthy primavera dish but you could use whatever greens are in season. Kale, spinach and chard would all make great additions.

Pasta primavera with asparagus and broad beans

Prosciutto, kale & butter bean stew

Beans are plentiful in the Mediterranean diet, they provide fibre, protein and lots of other nutrients. Whip up this stew in just 25 minutes with prosciutto, kale and butter beans. It's a low-calorie, low-fat dinner with three of your 5-a-day.

Prosciutto, kale & butter bean stew in two white bowls

Green pesto minestrone

A generous grating of parmesan balances the citrus in this fresh, nourishing pesto soup. Spinach, peas and celery add plenty of green goodness.

Green pesto minestrone in a pot and bowl topped with parmesan

Wholegrain wheat, rice, oats and pasta

Instead of choosing refined, white carbohydrates like bread and pasta, opt for wholegrain foods instead. These are converted to energy more steadily in the body, which means you're left feeling full for longer. There are other benefits, too. Brown rice contains fibre and protein, so it's a lower -GI choice than white.

Quick chicken hummus bowl

Make our Mediterannean-style chicken and hummus salad bowl for a delicious lunch option. It can be thrown together in just 10 minutes using a pouch of mixed grains and delivers three of your 5-a-day. It's also packed with good fats, thank to the avocado and hummus.

Quick chicken and hummus bowl with avocado, basil and pomegranate

Healthy seafood pasta

Be transported to a beachside restaurant with a bowl of seafood pasta. You'll get plenty of nutrients from the prawns, mussels and squid, as well as benefitting from the wholemeal spaghetti.

Healthy seafood pasta recipe

Spicy Spanish rice

The Mediterranean diet isn't meat-heavy– on the rare occasions that you eat it, make sure it's lean. We've combined pork tenderloin fillet with brown rice, prawns, smoked paprika, peppers and green beans to make this hearty Spanish-style paella.

Spicy Spanish rice

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