21 Mediterranean Diet Dinners for Summer
Make one of these healthy and bright dinner recipes tonight. These recipes feature staple ingredients of the Mediterranean diet including fresh vegetables, fish or whole grains for a balanced and flavorful meal. Recipes like Swordfish with Olives, Capers & Tomatoes over Polenta and Zucchini Noodles with Pesto & Chicken are nutritious, seasonal and perfect for the warm weather.
Caprese Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
We've taken the key ingredients of the popular caprese salad--tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil--and piled them into portobello mushroom caps to make a delicious and satisfying vegetarian main dish.
Simple Grilled Salmon & Vegetables
Grilled salmon and veggies make for a colorful and balanced seafood dinner that's ready in just minutes. The grill turns the salmon flaky and moist while tenderizing the crispy pepper and onion pieces. Round out the meal with brown rice or quinoa.
Wild Mushroom Pizza with Arugula & Pecorino
Make no mistake, this healthy pizza recipe is all about the mushrooms; lemon oil and arugula add just enough citrus and spiciness to accent without overwhelming. To that end, Sardinian or Tuscan Pecorino cheese (milder than Pecorino Romano) is called for, but other mellow grating cheeses, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, will work.
Swordfish with Olives, Capers & Tomatoes over Polenta
Dive deliciously into the Mediterranean diet with this healthy fish recipe, which takes its inspiration from southern Italy. In Sicily and Calabria, the ghiotta style of cooking involves simmering fish or meat with celery, olives, capers, basil and tomatoes. Serve the fish and sauce over creamy polenta for an easy dinner recipe that requires just 20 minutes of active prep time.
Zucchini Noodles with Pesto & Chicken
This healthy summer dinner subs zoodles for pasta to help use up your zucchini bounty--as well as slash calories and carbs. Once the spiralized zucchini has time to soak up the herby pesto sauce, this chicken and pesto pasta makes particularly good leftovers.
Grilled Summer Vegetable Panzanella
This grilled vegetable salad is filled with summer zucchini and eggplant that are marinated in an herby dressing. Crusty country-style bread helps soak up the flavors. The optional feta cheese adds a briny finishing note. To keep sodium in check, reduce the amount of salt in the salad if you opt to use the feta.
Garlic Shrimp & Asparagus Kebabs
Shrimp and asparagus both cook very quickly, making them a perfect pair on the grill. We've seasoned them in delicate flavors--lemon, garlic and dill--so their natural sweetness can shine through. Pick fat asparagus stalks for easier skewering.
Greek Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
A mixture of tomatoes, spinach, feta, olives and fresh oregano gives portobellos a Mediterranean vibe in this healthy stuffed mushroom recipe. Serve these along with chicken, fish or tofu as a super-satisfying side dish, or add a hearty salad and make them the centerpiece of a vegetarian dinner.
A tomato-rich dressing boosts the flavor and lowers calories and fat in this tortellini salad (the dressing is also great on green salads or grilled fish). Roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes add a good dose of vitamins A, C and fiber.
Black Sea Bass with Summer Squash Polenta
In this healthy seared fish recipe, salting the fish's skin draws out the moisture, which helps it get nice and crispy in the hot pan. Here, black sea bass is served on top of polenta that's enriched with a buttery summer squash puree. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.
Greek Burgers with Herb-Feta Sauce
These healthy burgers get a Mediterranean twist with a yogurt sauce seasoned with oregano, lemon and feta cheese. If you can't find ground lamb, ask the butcher to grind some for you.
Cauliflower Steaks with Parmesan Cauliflower Rice & Romesco
Use the entire cauliflower head--leaves (yes, they're edible), stem and florets and all for this healthy cauliflower main dish recipe. Be sure to not flip the cauliflower steaks as they roast, they get super-crispy and deliciously browned in the hot oven.
Chicken Souvlaki Kebabs with Mediterranean Couscous
Fennel adds a nice flavoring to the marinade in this Mediterranean-inspired chicken souvlaki dish. The kabobs are perfectly paired with a veggie-packed, yogurt-dressed Israeli couscous.
Shrimp Piccata with Zucchini Noodles
The tangy lemon-caper sauce in this healthy Italian makeover recipe is a natural with shrimp. Serving it over zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) keeps the dish summery and low-cal, but it's also delicious with whole-wheat spaghetti.
Tabbouleh, Hummus & Pita Plate
This Mediterranean-inspired vegan picnic dinner features traditional fare like tabbouleh, hummus, olives and fresh fruit and vegetables. It's perfect to pack and take along or even to serve as an easy, healthy meal at home.
Prosciutto Pizza with Corn & Arugula
Prosciutto and arugula elevate this simple grilled pizza. If you have time, let the dough stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to make rolling it out easier in this 20-minute healthy pizza recipe. Thawed frozen corn works in place of fresh, just pat it dry before sprinkling it on the pizza.
In this Italian paella recipe, potatoes and other vegetables are layered with mussels and rice and baked in a casserole dish. Be sure to cover the rice completely with vegetables to ensure it cooks properly.
Hasselback Eggplant Parmesan
The coolest way to make classic eggplant parm--and easier too! Use the hasselback technique to make partial cuts into the whole eggplant every 1/4 inch or so to fill up with melty cheese, flavorful sauce and crunchy breadcrumbs.
Lemon-Garlic Sardine Fettuccine
Even sardine skeptics will enjoy this lemony pasta with crispy breadcrumbs. Substitute two 5- to 6-ounce cans chunk light tuna for the sardines if you prefer. If you are using tuna or can't find sardines packed in tomato sauce, add 2 tablespoons tomato paste in Step 4 with the lemon juice. Serve with a salad of bitter greens tossed with a lemon vinaigrette and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
Golden Beet, Green Bean & Fennel Salad with Scallops
Lemony seared scallops and a walnut vinaigrette top this healthy dinner salad. When shopping for scallops, avoid those treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP); it can make them mushy and the scallops won't brown properly. Some scallops have a small white muscle on the side; remove it before cooking.
This fresh-tasting panzanella (Italian bread-and-tomato salad) is made with shrimp, olives and plenty of herbs. You'll need olives packed in flavorful brine to make the dressing. For convenience, buy shrimp already peeled and cooked. Sometimes the best-tasting precooked shrimp is sold frozen. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes to defrost. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.