The Mediterranean diet is consistently ranked as one of the healthiest dietary patterns. It emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
The Mediterranean style of eating also features plenty of seafood, moderate amounts of eggs, dairy, and poultry, and limited red meat.
While the Mediterranean diet’s main staples like seasonal produce, whole grains, and olive oil get a lot of attention, the simple side dishes in this style of eating shouldn’t be overlooked.
Mediterranean-inspired sides make it easy to round out meals with extra nutrition and flavor.
Here are some simple Mediterranean diet side dish ideas to accompany your mains:
Roasting is a Mediterranean diet-approved way to coax out vegetables’ natural sweetness. Toss eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, carrots, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower florets with a bit of olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs like rosemary or thyme before roasting. The high heat helps caramelize the natural sugars.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and lentils are Mediterranean diet pillars thanks to their fiber, protein, and iron. Cook up a pot of chickpeas, cannellini beans, French lentils or fava beans to use all week.
Pair them with grain bowls, salads, veggie sides or enjoy as is, dressed with lemon and olive oil.
Leafy Green Salad
Fresh, seasonal salad greens dressed simply are a classic Mediterranean accompaniment. Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar or lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, pepper and herbs for a quick vinaigrette.
Toss with spinach, arugula, romaine or mixed greens – whatever looks best at the farmer’s market.
Potatoes get the Mediterranean treatment with simple herbs and olive oil instead of loads of butter. Dice Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, coat with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme and paprika, and roast until crispy on the outside and fluffy inside.
Take bread to the next level by grilling slices or chunks until crispy around the edges. Drizzle grilled bread with olive oil and minced garlic or herbs for instant flavor. Grilled bread makes a perfect partner for dips, sauces and salads.
Simple sides like roasted veggies, leafy greens, beans and potatoes capture the fresh, seasonal spirit of the Mediterranean diet. Building meals around these plant-based foundations makes healthy eating effortless and delicious.