You don’t need to live in the Mediterranean region to incorporate this way of eating.
Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza with Red Peppers, Chicken & Spinach
Credit: Jason Donnelly

Our column, ThePrep, has everything you'll need to make meal planning and meal prep as easy as can be. Sign up here to get a meal plan delivered to your inbox every Saturday!

The Mediterranean diet is an eating pattern based on traditional cuisines in countries along the Mediterranean Sea, with a focus on lots of fruits and veggies, healthy fats (like olive oil, nuts and salmon), lean meats, plant-based protein, calcium-rich dairy items and whole grains. However, you don't need to live in those places to eat that way, nor do you only need to eat foods traditional to those regions to reap the benefits of this healthy diet. With so many fresh and flavorful ingredients available, especially during the fall, anyone can adopt this way of eating, and its principles can be applied to any type of cuisine. This week's delicious skillet dinners are ready in 35 minutes or less and will help you follow the principles of the Mediterranean diet with ease. 

Your Meal Plan

One-Pan Garlicky Shrimp & Rice
Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Yes, you can definitely have pizza with the Mediterranean diet. That's why I'm starting this week with the Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza with Red Peppers, Chicken & Spinach. This pizza is not only delicious but it's also full of beautiful colors (and thus, nutrients!) from the red peppers, spinach and basil. While I could roast the bell peppers myself, turning to jarred ones saves me tons of cooking time. The great thing about making a pizza in a cast-iron skillet is that your crust will be extra crispy with a nice golden brown color.

Wednesday's One-Pan Garlicky Shrimp & Rice is another winner. This recipe is pretty practical—it's a whole meal that's made in a single skillet, without having to cook the rice separately. Shrimp not only cooks quickly but it's also a great source of protein and is high in iodine—a mineral that helps with thyroid and brain function. 

Thursday's Salmon with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce is another tasty dinner that's made entirely in one skillet. This dish hits the important points of the Mediterranean diet by providing omega-3s from salmon, fiber from brown rice and plenty of fresh flavor from parsley and sun-dried tomatoes. To round out this meal, I'll serve it with a simple veggie side, like steamed frozen green beans. While fresh produce is always a great option, you can definitely turn to frozen and canned options when following the Mediterranean diet. 

Get the printable shopping list here.

Something to Sip On

Apple-Ginger Mocktail Mule
Credit: Jacob Fox

I always like to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer over the weekend. But sometimes I want to sip on something tasty and refreshing without the booze. This alcohol-free take on the legendary Moscow Mule cocktail is perfect for fall, especially with the addition of apple cider. Garnishing with a fresh slice of apple, cinnamon stick and lime wedge makes this mocktail feel extra special.

What's Inspiring Me This Week

butter board
Credit: Justine Doiron

I don't know about y'all, but my social media feeds are full of butter boards. To make a butter board, you spread softened butter out on a platter or charcuterie board and top with things like caramelized onions, citrus zest, chopped nuts and even edible flowers. Yummy, right? Though there's nothing wrong with enjoying butter, we shared some tips for how to make these boards a little healthier. I'm also feeling inspired by takes on these boards that use hummus, labneh, ricotta cheese or nut butter! 

I wish you all a great week, and if you have any questions or requests for future newsletters, please let me know by emailing! Don't forget to add a recipe review if you try one.