23 Mediterranean Side Dishes That Are Healthy *and* Tasty
Most diets evoke thoughts of calorie-counting and way too many celery sticks. But the Mediterranean diet is the total opposite: It’s all about whole grains, veggies, nuts, fish, lean meat and lots of olive oil, aka our dieting dream. To round out your super-healthy meals, here are 23 Mediterranean side dishes that are healthy and delicious.
1. Zesty Chargrilled Broccolini
You could steam some veggies in the microwave and call it a day. Or you could take five minutes to give broccolini the star treatment it deserves.
2. Quick Guacamole Quinoa Salad
This is an excellent way to use up the leftover cooked quinoa that’s been lingering in your fridge.
3. Stuffed Eggplant
These guys are light and fresh enough to serve as a side, but you could make them into a meal if you wanted.
4. Minty-Fresh Zucchini Salad with Marinated Feta
The feta provides saltiness and its marinade becomes a dressing, which is convenient and makes the raw zucchini sing.
5. Keto Instant Pot Greek Cauliflower Rice
Plain cauliflower rice is just fine. But when you add a few toppings (like cherry tomatoes, olives and walnuts), it’s even better.
6. Citrus, Fennel and Avocado Salad
The minty homemade dressing is so easy to whip up, you’ll never go back to the bottled stuff.
7. Greek Wedge Salad
Skip the bacon and blue cheese dressing in favor of lighter (but no less delicious) toppings.
8. Grilled Peach and Halloumi Salad with Lemon-Pesto Dressing
Halloumi is a type of cheese that gets crispy and melty when grilled, but still keeps its shape. We’d eat it every day if we could.
9. Rainbow Vegetable Skewers
Grilled all different veggies on the same skewer leads to uneven cooking. By grouping them on separate skewers, you avoid that problem. (They’re also darn cute to look at.)
10. Yellow Tomato Gazpacho
According to our chef in residence Sarah Copeland, yellow tomatoes are sweeter and less acidic than the red ones. All the more reason to stick them in this soup.
11. Black Fig and Tomato Salad
Here’s proof that sometimes all you need is a few simple ingredients to make something delicious.
12. Pearl Couscous with Chickpeas, Eggplant and Peaches
If you look forward to peach season as much as we do, you’ll want to make this every day. The lemon tahini dressing is creamy, but not heavy—yum.
13. Citrus, Shrimp and Quinoa Salad with Feta
This 20-minute salad is actually meant as a main course, but you could divide it into smaller portions (or skip the shrimp) to make it a side.
14. 15-Minute Gazpacho with Cucumber, Red Pepper and Basil
Fast, fresh and easy is our M.O. This has less than ten ingredients and comes together in almost no time at all.
15. Broccoli Rabe and Burrata with Lemon
Did someone say burrata? Yep, it’s on your diet.
16. Zucchini & Tomato Ragù
Meet ratatouille’s chic Italian cousin. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days, so take advantage and make it ahead.
17. Sweet Corn, Tomato and Zucchini Grain Salad with Peach-Dijon Vinaigrette
Well, hello there, beautiful. (We’re talking to the salad.) You don’t have to add edible flowers, but they sure are pretty.
18. Whole Roasted Radishes
When raw, radishes are peppery and spicy, but when you roast them, they magically become tender and a little bit sweet.
19. Whole Roasted Carrots
No more splorping a bag of baby carrots into a bowl, guys. These roasted carrots are just as easy to put together and so much tastier.
20. Cauliflower with Roasted Tomatoes, Parsley and Breadcrumbs
If your tomatoes are in-season and taste delicious raw, you can totally serve them that way. But roasting will concentrate their flavor (and make ho-hum tomatoes taste amazing).
21. Kamut and Sour Cherry Meze
Meze is just the Mediterranean way of saying appetizer. And lucky for us, this grain salad—with its fresh herbs and tangy dressing—complements most main dishes.
22. Cauliflower, Olive, Pepper and Caper Salad
In Italy, it’s called insalata di rinforzo, aka a pickled salad that gets better the longer it sits. (Sign us up.)
23. Blistered Green Beans with Tomatoes, Pounded Walnuts and Raw Summer Squash
Instead of boiling green beans, blister them in a skillet with a few other seasonal vegetables. They’ll keep some of their crunchy texture and take on a little char.