25 Classic Mediterranean Recipes
Whipped Feta with Cucumbers
The taste of the Mediterranean shines through in this airy feta spread that's served with olive oil-marinated cucumbers.
Chicken Breasts with Artichoke-Olive Sauce
This mouthwatering dish pairs well with a vibrant, medium-bodied Moscofilero.
Greek-Style Tomato Salad with Mint and Feta
A classic Greek salad has tomatoes and feta; this version by chef André Natera of Dallas's Fairmont Hotel also takes advantage of the mint and arugula that grow so well in his roof garden.
Greek Fish Stew
"On the Greek island of Kalymnos, fishermen make a stew with shellfish, whole fish, lemon, onion and water," says Andrew Zimmern. "They eat it straight from the pot with their hands—no bowls. It tastes of sweat and iodine, but it is easily one of the best soups I've ever had. I make my version with halibut, throwing in mussels at the end."
Sea Bass with Tomato and Black Olive Salsa
Sophie Dahl calls this a "good date dinner" because it's elegant yet easy. The Mediterranean-style salsa on the fish—a mix of olives, tomatoes, basil and lemon juice—would be equally delicious on its own as a salad.
Summer Bulgur and Green Bean Salad
This lovely side dish of light, fluffy bulgur studded with bits of toasted almonds and crisp green beans is a wonderful alternative to rice.
Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
The rub on this pork is Octavio Becerra’s take on za’atar, a spice blend that gets its pungency from ground sumac.
Roasted Branzino with Caper Butter
"It's almost impossible to end up with dry, overcooked fish when cooking it whole," says chef Steve Corry. "The bones protect against extreme heat, plus they add flavor and moisture." Here, Corry pan-roasts whole branzino, Mediterranean sea bass, that's stuffed simply with lemon and rosemary. He makes the easy compound butter, which melts on the fish to become a sauce, with wild Tunisian mountain capers, although any caper will work.
Chicken and Rice Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemon
We like to serve this Mediterranean-inspired salad warm, but it's also good slightly chilled. Be sure to check the seasonings, though; cold dishes often need more salt and pepper than those served hot.
Pasta with Cauliflower, Peppers and Walnut Pesto
This vegetable-loaded pasta is equally delicious warm or cold. Jerry Traunfeld created it with the Eastern Mediterranean staples of cauliflower and bell peppers, which taste great together, especially when tossed in a garlicky walnut pesto.
Za'atar Flatbreads with Cucumber-Yogurt Salad
Ana Sortun sprinkles house-made flatbreads with za’atar, the Middle Eastern blend of sesame seeds, herbs and sumac. She serves it with a salad of spinach, peas, cucumbers and lettuce, mixed with yogurt-like Lebanese lebneh. An easier method is to bake store-bought pizza dough with za’atar, and make a simpler version of the salad with Greek-style yogurt.
Spicy Lamb Shish Kebabs
Re-create the classic street-fair food with the easy recipe here.
Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks with Lemon, Dill and Feta
This classic dish goes well with a lemon-inflected, herbal Greek white.
Mussel and Chorizo Soup
At Steve Corry's Five Fifty-Five in Portland, Maine, mussels from nearby Bangs Island are almost always on the menu. "People freak out if they're not there," says Corry, who often steams the mollusks in white wine and lemon juice scented with pickled cherry peppers and garlic. For this Mediterranean-inspired soup, however, Corry serves the mussels in a brothy liquid with plenty of chorizo.
Spicy Tonnarelli with Clams
Pair with a crisp Verdicchio.
Bulgur with Tangy Artichokes
Shawn McClain sautés fresh artichokes before mixing them with bulgur. He simmers asparagus in a shallow pan of water in the oven with lemon juice, sugar and salt for 15 minutes. An easier way is to use delicious, tangy jarred artichokes in the salad and steam the asparagus for just five minutes.
Goat-Cheese-Stuffed Grape Leaves
Inspired by Turkey's stuffed grape leaves, Mehmet Gürs ingeniously wraps goat cheese in the briny leaves then quickly grills the little packages so the cheese melts.
Mussel-and-Squid Pilaf with Sweet Spices and Dill
This is one of Defne Koryürek's favorite dishes from chef-owner Semsa Denizsel at Kantin restaurant. The rice is glossy and sticky, and full of tender calamari and mussels. The addition of spices like allspice and cinnamon, plus some currants, gives the dish a slightly sweet edge.
Pot-Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Cumin
Paula Wolfert visited the kitchens of Dar Yacout, where the cooks still use charcoal fires to make dishes like lush and smoky roasted-eggplant salad.
Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Fennel and Rosemary
The Mediterranean flavors of fennel, garlic, and rosemary are perfect with chicken. The fennel and chicken are sautéed and then briefly braised in chicken broth, which becomes a tasty light sauce.
Thin Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta, and Mint
For a weeknight when speed is key, whip up this one-pot pasta. It’s inspired by Greek ingredients like whole cherry tomatoes, briny olives, salty feta cheese, and fresh mint and oregano, and makes a satisfying meal for a summer evening with very little effort.
This stunning magenta hummus is all about the beets, and, though it’s made without chickpeas, it’s flavored with tahini, garlic and spices, like traditional versions.
“Best of the Olive Bar” Pasta Salad
Roasted Feta Saganaki with Roasted Pepper and Olive Relish
Salty and creamy, this dip is perfect paired with an ice-cold beer—or glass of ouzo.
Harissa-Spiced Salmon with Israeli Couscous
Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple combines spicy harissa and sweet agave to make a delicious rub for his crisp-skinned salmon fillet.