As diet plans go, the Mediterranean diet is one of the less rigid ones because it’s not a structured diet. Rather, it’s more of an eating pattern. You’re on your own in figuring out how many calories you need to lose or maintain your weight by following a diet that’s patterned after the eating habits of the people living in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean sea. However, a Mediterranean diet cookbook can help.
The diet is appealing because the people from the Mediterranean region live longer and healthier than most Americans. Experts found out that there’s less incidence of cancer and cardiovascular ailments in their populations and their diet has been highlighted as one of the major factors for this.
No wonder that the Mediterranean diet has been named as the best diet for four years in a row. People who follow this eating style consume whole, healthful foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices regularly; fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation. Processed meats and food with added sugars are only eaten during special occasions.
If you’re new to this diet, the best way to transition easily is to read a Mediterranean Diet cookbook. In general, these cookbooks tend to include meal plans along with their recipes so newbies don’t have to spend too much time looking for the right stuff to eat.
There are some though that don’t need a meal plan but are just looking for more healthy options for their meals. In which case, a Mediterranean diet cookbook is still the ideal reference book to have because its recipes are primarily plant-based and use whole foods which are healthy. You could also look at a vegetarian cookbook for more plant-based options.
In this list, I’ve gathered the best of these cookbooks that are available on Amazon. All of these feature a wide selection of recipes to choose from, some include meal plans, others are accompanied by interesting notes into the culinary history of the region. Whether you’re looking for a great read, a comprehensive cookbook, or a useful meal plan, this selection has it all.
Here are my top 10 picks for the best Mediterranean Diet cookbooks.
Best Mediterranean Diet Cookbooks
- The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners: Meal Plans, Expert Guidance, and 100 Recipes to Get You Started Paperback
- The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook: 500 Vibrant, Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Living and Eating Well Every Day (The Complete ATK Cookbook Series) Paperback
- Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food Hardcover
- The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health Hardcover – Illustrated
- Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking: Authentic recipes from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, The Middle East, North Africa Hardcover
- The Big Book of Mediterranean Diet Cooking: 200 Recipes and 3 Meal Plans for a Healthy Lifestyle Paperback
- The Mediterranean Table: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living on the Mediterranean Diet Paperback – Illustrated
- The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen: 80 Authentic, Healthy Recipes Made Quick and Easy for Everyday Cooking Paperback
- The Complete Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 1000 Easy, Flavorful recipes to embrace lifelong health
- The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two: 100 Perfectly Portioned Recipes for Healthy Eating Paperback
1. The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners: Meal Plans, Expert Guidance, and 100 Recipes to Get You Started Paperback
Written by a dietitian-nutritionist, this book not only has doable recipes and meal plans but also provides guidance on how to cook the Mediterranean way and how to stick with the diet for life.
The recipes are easy and use ingredients that are affordable and readily available in local stores. Each one has a recommended serving size that’s found in the “What to Eat and How Often to Eat It” section.
The two-week meal plans include tips for shopping for ingredients and suggestions on how to eat out, socialize, and even fast. It also has recommendations on how to create your own menu.
Readers liked this book because the recipes are accessible. One liked it because the recipes come with calorific values. Another recommended this book for making meal plans for families that have a mix of dietary needs.
2. The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook: 500 Vibrant, Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Living and Eating Well Every Day (The Complete ATK Cookbook Series) Paperback
This book gathers recipes from the entire Mediterranean group of countries and translates them into easy dishes for the home cook intent on shifting to a Mediterranean diet.
The book is structured according to the guidelines of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. Beans and Vegetables have the largest chapters, followed by Seafood, then Poultry and Meat, and finally, a short Fruits and Sweets chapter.
Recipes are laid out in the usual user-friendly ATK format to make preparation efficient. Most recipes require more than 40 minutes of prep work and use ingredients that can be found in any local store. Each one comes with nutritional info along with suggestions on how to make a variation of the dish.
Readers liked the wide range of flavorful Mediterranean-inspired recipes. Others found the recipes reliable since these have already been kitchen-tested by the editors.
3. Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food Hardcover
This cookbook is a good introduction for anyone curious about the Mediterranean style of cooking. There are more than 75 recipes here that are good for weeknight family meals but also great for slower evenings entertaining friends. A sampling of its recipe collection includes Herby Ricotta, One-Pan Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Bake and Roasted Figs with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt.
Recipes are clear and are accompanied by beautiful photos of the dish. They are categorized into Staples, Three Ingredients or Less, Gathering Dishes, Bean and Grain Dishes, Pastas, Salads and Soups, Desserts and Cocktails.
Readers like this book because it offers flexibility. One liked its approach towards presenting a dish as an “equation instead of a recipe”, which simply means that the dish can be adjusted depending on the seasonality of the ingredients.
4. The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health Hardcover – Illustrated
This is an updated edition that now features 90 new recipes plus the latest information about the nutritional benefits of a Mediterranean Diet. Overall, there are now 250 featured dishes in this cookbook.
The opening sections introduce you to the diet plan and guide you to making the change to the Mediterranean diet. Then there are discussions on the methods, materials, and ingredients in Mediterranean cooking. The rest of the book is then devoted to the recipes, how to prepare them, and where to find ingredients.
The recipes are authentic but are not beginner-level. Some samples include Lebanese Garlicky Roast Chicken and Cypriote Braised Pork with Wine, Cinnamon, and Coriander, and North African Pumpkin Soup. The cookbook also includes a special section on traditional dishes for Islamic, Jewish, and Christian holidays. There are no photos in this book but if you’re looking for a cookbook that showcases local knowledge for each recipe, this book is for you.
5. Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking: Authentic recipes from Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, The Middle East, North Africa Hardcover
This cookbook takes you on a culinary trip through some of the representative dishes of 12 Mediterranean countries. There are 130 recipes here, ranging from a simple Spanish gazpacho to the more complex Moroccan chicken bisteeya.
The book showcases each country with a discussion of their iconic foods and specialties. There’s also a section here that explains the Mediterranean diet and its benefits. It also has a glossary for culinary terms and ingredients for this style of cooking.
Recipes are written with detailed instructions and are accompanied by step-by-step color photos to explain basic techniques like making romesco sauce or filo dough. Almost all of the recipes use ingredients that are easily available either in pantries or local stores.
Readers liked its huge selection of Spanish, French, and Italian classic dishes. Another found it useful that the recipes were divided by country because it made it easy to plan a meal from the same country.
6. The Big Book of Mediterranean Diet Cooking: 200 Recipes and 3 Meal Plans for a Healthy Lifestyle Paperback
This cookbook allows you to customize your approach to the Mediterranean diet by offering three meal plans to get you started on a healthy lifestyle.
There are the usual sections on the benefits of the diet and a guide to kitchen and pantry essentials but the rest of the book is focused on the recipes.
Recipes are straightforward and use ingredients that are pantry staples or can easily be sourced from local groceries. The majority of them include a cooking, ingredient, or variation tip. There are chapters devoted to Fish and Shellfish and Poultry and Meat but the rest of the recipes are naturally vegetarian and easily adapted for vegan eaters.
Readers liked its lifestyle approach at presenting the Mediterranean diet. One said she found it convenient that the meal plans were presented first before the recipes so that she could review the meal plan before choosing the recipes.
7. The Mediterranean Table: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living on the Mediterranean Diet Paperback – Illustrated
This cookbook has more than 150 recipes that celebrate the culinary tradition of the Mediterranean diet and includes a 14-day diet meal plan.
The recipes are easy to follow but are skewed more to meat and poultry dishes than plant-based ones. Most of the ingredients are easily accessible and each recipe has its nutritional info listed.
Readers liked this book for the simplicity of its recipes and because it does not require a lot of specialized cooking gadgets. One recommended this as good cookbook for beginners or those curious enough to try a Mediterranean Diet dish.
8. The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen: 80 Authentic, Healthy Recipes Made Quick and Easy for Everyday Cooking Paperback
This cookbook is a good introduction for those looking to transition to a Mediterranean diet one dish at a time. The recipes are a mix of Mediterranean-inspired dishes and some classics with modern twists. A sampling of recipes includes One-Pot Paprika Chicken with Olives and Orzo, Red Lentil Falafel, and Stuffed Tomatoes with Lamb and Feta.
Recipes are relatively easy to follow and will take less than an hour from start to finish for home cooks with basic kitchen experience. Each one is accompanied by a color photo of the dish.
Readers liked that the recipes turned out to be delicious even if some of the ingredients were hard to source. One had no problem substituting the ingredients because the recipe was adaptable and the result turned out to be still flavorful.
9. The Complete Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 1000 Easy, Flavorful Recipes to embrace lifelong health
This cookbook seeks to provide you all the resources you need in order to transition easily to the Mediterranean diet. It includes a 365-DAY Mediterranean lifestyle program and an easy-to-follow 28-day meal plan. There’s also detailed guidance on how to shop for the right ingredients, how to cook the Mediterranean way, and how to stick with the diet for life.
Many of the recipes are written for the use of an Instant Pot. This makes it an ideal cookbook for those looking for easy and quick healthy recipes. There are some photos but these are in black and white. If you’re looking for a varied selection of recipes, this is an informative book to have.
10. The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two: 100 Perfectly Portioned Recipes for Healthy Eating Paperback
This cookbook is ideal for those who want to cut down on leftovers and food waste. Some samples of recipes include Orzo-Stuffed Tomatoes, Spicy Sausage Lentil Soup, Lemon Pesto Salmon, and Orange Olive Oil Mug Cakes.
Recipes are simple, doable, and don’t take a lot of time. They are also correctly proportioned for two. There are tips on how to substitute ingredients or adapt each dish for specific dietary tastes. Not all the recipes have photos but those that do have color pictures that show the dish.
Readers like the practicality of being able to make a dish good for two. One found the nutritional info per recipe useful, along with the conversion measurement charts and references at the end of the book.
THE COMPLETE MEDITERRANEAN COOKBOOK: 500 VIBRANT, KITCHEN-TESTED RECIPES FOR LIVING AND EATING WELL EVERY DAY edited by the America’s Test Kitchen (ATK)
This cookbook doesn’t include a diet plan but if you’re looking for easy and delicious recipes that are fool-proof and fall within the scope of a Mediterranean diet, this book is ideal for you.
The ATK format is very convenient because they present ingredients, techniques, and recipes in a way that allows newbie cooks to be confident in following them while also giving experienced cooks new ideas on how to build on their skills.
In this book, the recipes are categorized according to the components of the Mediterranean food pyramid for easy reference. Each one is accompanied by how-to photos, nutritional info, and useful tips. It also has a great index. Overall, it’s a great resource to have for its comprehensiveness and detail.