The Beginner's Guide to Mediterranean Cuisines

The Beginner's Guide to Mediterranean Cuisines

If you’ve kept up with food trends over the past few years, you’ve probably heard a lot about the Mediterranean diet. With its emphasis on fish, olive oil, whole grains, fruits and veggies, the Mediterranean offers plenty of ways to try out new homemade meals.

McCormick

The truth is there isn’t just one type of Mediterranean food. Mediterranean cooking includes influences from Greek, Italian and Southern French cuisines, as well as those from Northern African countries like Morocco and Egypt, and Middle Eastern countries like Israel and Syria.

In other words, even if you think you know Mediterranean cuisine well, there are probably many meals you may never have considered before. Here’s how to stock your spice rack for Mediterranean cuisine, plus all the inspo you need to get started!

 

Mediterranean Spices

Herbs, spices and other seasonings shape the flavour profile of Mediterranean cuisines. Here’s what you need to make most Mediterranean staples.

BasilOreganoCilantroParsley and Rosemary

Leafy green herbs are a must for tasty Mediterranean cooking. You’ll use fresh herbs for sauces and salads, and dried herbs to add a powerful punch of flavour – like the rosemary in this Mediterranean Roasted Chicken and Vegetables.

CuminCoriander and Cardamom

While lots of Mediterranean food isn’t spicy, many traditional Mediterranean recipes do incorporate warming spices to provide vibrant flavour to meats, veggies and grains.

Sumac and Turmeric

Earthy spices like this pair contribute to the flavour base of many Mediterranean meals. When you use turmeric, your meals take on a gorgeous yellow hue for picture-perfect dinners.

Seasoning Blends and Sauces

Start experimenting with Mediterranean cooking and you’ll start to see some common spice blends popping up over and over.

Stock your pantry for Mediterranean meals with harissa, a North African mix of chili peppers and warming spices.

 

Get Inspired with These Mediterranean Recipes

Ready to take a culinary tour of the Mediterranean? Try one (or more!) of these delicious recipes to start!

Map Out Mediterranean Main Dishes

It’s easy to work Mediterranean entrées into your meal plans. And the most convenient place to start?

A sheet pan Greek roasted chicken and tomato recipe that comes together in just 35 minutes.

This traditional Greek comfort dish is loaded with juicy chicken and rich Mediterranean flavours. Set it and forget it in the slow cooker — and let dinner make itself.

A beautiful rustic tart studded with juicy tomatoes, briny black olives and Swiss cheese. Serve squares warm or room temperature with a fresh green salad as a light lunch.

This hearty twist on a traditional Greek salad includes nutty-tasting quinoa and peppery baby arugula. If preferred, swap out the chicken for cooked shrimp, or make it meatless by omitting the meat altogether.

Seeking vegetarian-friendly Mediterranean meals?

Look no further than this Mediterranean vegetable shakshuka – eggs simmered, sunny side up, in a vegetable sauce seasoned with Middle Eastern spices.

Or start the day with protein-packed tofu – Mediterranean style in this vegan alternative to scrambled eggs.

These meatless burgers are excellent for weeknights or anytime you’re looking for a zesty taste of the Mediterranean. Switch up the bun for pita bread or naan.

Sample Mediterranean Sides

Of course, there are still plenty more Mediterranean flavours to explore to round out your meal.

Savoury roasted potatoes are the perfect side for almost anything — try not to steal too many from the pan before they make it to the plate!

Infused with the flavours of the sunny Mediterranean, this hearty bean dish is loaded with energy and fibre and excellent served warm or cold.

This gluten-free quick bread has all the flavours of the Mediterranean! Partner with your favourite Greek dish or have a slice as a savoury snack.