The Mediterranean diet has been consistently associated with a range of health benefits, including weight loss, improved heart health and longer life overall. At the same time, this general approach to eating is popular simply because of the flavors and ingredients that it uses. As a consequence, there are many amazing Mediterranean dishes out there and even more recipes that have been inspired by the eating approach.
Generally speaking, Mediterranean cookbooks rely heavily on whole food, particularly plant-based options. As such, the diet involves a considerable amount of fruit and vegetables.
Most of the protein comes from lean meat, including fish and chicken, while the diet also emphasizes whole grains and ingredients like olive oil. In many cases, red wine is also a well-recognized component of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle.
This combination of ingredients makes the Mediterranean diet extremely attractive to many people. So, this list highlights some of the best Mediterranean cookbooks currently available. All of these can get you started with this style of eating and can offer inspiration about new meals to cook.
Now, it is important to note that there is no single definition or version of the Mediterranean diet or of Mediterranean meals and flavors. Instead, approaches vary dramatically based on physical location, traditions and personal preferences. Likewise, some of the cookbooks on this list emphasize Mediterranean dishes and flavors, while others are mostly about the ingredients that the diet contains.
As a result, you will see significant variation across the options. Still, regardless of the interpretation, there is no shortage of great recipes on offer and all of the cookbooks here can be a valuable way to make some amazing meals.
The Mediterranean Table
Right from the beginning, The Mediterranean Table is an attractive option and it’s easy to see why this particular cookbook is popular. In it, there is a strong focus on healthy and wholesome food, along with simply enjoying the meals that you eat. This is a perspective that is sorely missing in the modern world, where so many people end up being almost afraid of food.
The recipes on offer here cover a variety of styles and they are easy to follow, regardless of your cooking experience or background. The recipes also offer information about where they come from and what dietary needs they fit under (e.g. dairy free, vegetarian or gluten free). Beyond all of this, the book also offers an introduction to the Mediterranean style of eating and what you can expect from it.
The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook
With 500 different Mediterranean recipes on offer, calling this a ‘complete’ Mediterranean cookbook doesn’t feel like much of a stretch. The book itself comes from America’s Test Kitchen, which does have a reputation for producing good recipes and high-quality books. At the same time, the book is loaded with pictures, making it interesting to look at as well as to use.
The one issue to note is that some of the recipes use relatively obscure ingredients. In some cases, these may be difficult to find in smaller cities. However, this type of pattern is common in cookbooks and eating healthy often does require some unconventional ingredients. At the same time, these types of ingredients are becoming more accessible, so many people won’t have any issues at all.
The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
I wouldn’t go as far as calling this ‘the ultimate’ cookbook for the Mediterranean diet but that doesn’t stop it from being a good cookbook overall. There is a total of 100 different recipes in the cookbook, making for a fairly decent selection. While this number is lower than many other options, it is still a decent amount and more than enough to get you started.
The author does also take the time to introduce the Mediterranean diet, its importance and key ways to cook Mediterranean food effectively. Likewise, many of the recipes offer tips or information about Mediterranean traditions. There is no shortage of images throughout either, so you do get a considerable amount of guidance.
Mediterranean Paleo Cooking
If you want Mediterranean meals on a paleo or a gluten free diet, then this cookbook is the way to go, without a doubt. For one thing, the cookbook itself is high quality and it is also well formatted. It also contains 150 different recipes, along with two meal plans and general information about the Mediterranean diet and the fusion between Mediterranean and paleo.
For that matter, the style of the book means that it might even be worth using for people who aren’t interested in paleo. After all, there are many high-quality recipes to choose from and paleo recipes do often taste good. The book also offers additional instructions for how to tailor recipes to specific diets (like low FODMAP) and even how to make some of them in the slow cooker.
Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies
The ‘for dummies’ cookbooks are an unusual style and they don’t work for everybody. Nevertheless, they can be a great way to get recipes and instruction all in one place and that’s precisely what this cookbook here offers. In particular, much of the information provided is about transitioning to a Mediterranean diet. This includes tips about exercise and meal planning. Beyond the advice aspect, the cookbook offers more than 160 different recipes.
Now, in this case, the recipes are Mediterranean-inspired. As such, many of them will contain the flavors and ingredients common in Mediterranean dishes, but they won’t all be authentic Mediterranean recipes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, as it does mean you have access to a versatile range of recipes that work particularly well for anybody transitioning to the eating approach.
With so many different Mediterranean cookbooks on offer, this one may seem unremarkable. And, in some ways that’s true, especially as many of the recipes on offer are traditional and variations on them are common in most of the cookbooks on this list. Nevertheless, this cookbook does still act as a great resource and a handy place to start on a Mediterranean food journey.
Additionally, the cookbook does have around 300 different recipes, many of which are easy for beginners. The book itself is also heavy on recipes, with relatively little time spent on introductions. This style would be perfect in many situations. After all, many people will already know what the Mediterranean diet is and why it can be worth following.
The Mediterranean Diet for Beginners
Unlike some of the other entries featured so far, this cookbook is a relatively basic option. In particular, it only contains 40 recipes, along with a meal plan and some basic tips. The recipes also cover multiple meals, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. That pattern is good for versatility but does mean that you don’t get all that many recipes in each category.
Nevertheless, this book is developed as a beginner’s guide and it does offer more guidance than many other Mediterranean cookbooks. As such, the book is a good option if you’re wanting to learn more about this style of eating and the implications. If nothing else, the book acts as an inexpensive way to figure out whether the Mediterranean style of eating is right for you.
Extra Virgin is slightly different than many of the other cookbooks here in that it is about Tuscan cooking, rather than Mediterranean. However, the style still falls under the same general umbrella and the recipes here are good if you want something that is a little bit different. The cookbook itself offers 120 different recipes and receives extremely positive reviews overall.
To make things even better, this cookbook has no shortage of images, making the cooking process that much easier. And, you may simply find that images make the book more enjoyable to use. Regardless, it is a high-quality book with many inspiring recipes.
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The Complete Mediterranean Diet
This is the second cookbook that we’ve found which considers itself to be a complete approach to Mediterranean eating. And, like the first one, this cookbook contains 500 different recipes. The recipes themselves cover most types of dishes, including meals, sides, desserts and many other options. There are also some additional guides including as part of the cookbook, which focus on other important areas, such as how to prepare food and how to eat out when on the diet.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that this is considered a complete book on the Mediterranean diet, it is mostly a cookbook. So, the emphasis is strongly on recipes and the discussion on the diet may be less than some people are hoping for.
Live to Eat
There can be no doubt that this cookbook is about quality, rather than quantity. As such, it does have fewer recipes than many of the other books on this list but the recipes that it includes are amazing. At the same time, the cookbook is visually stunning and you get a clear idea about how different meals are going to look before you get started.
The one unusual thing is that this cookbook heavily relies on a set of basic homemade recipes, including Greek yogurt and tomato sauce. This design means that you are meant to make these ingredients first and then use them in all of the recipes that the cookbook lists. That style is somewhat controversial. If you love making ingredients yourself, then the approach may work well. But, if you don’t, the recipes may simply end up feeling like too much work.
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The Mediterranean Slow Cooker Cookbook
As the name suggests, the recipes here are all about making Mediterranean-style food in your slow cooker. Now, for the most part, a slow cooker isn’t a traditional part of Mediterranean cooking. But, that doesn’t stop it from being a useful tool for making healthy dinners. In this case, the cookbook offers 101 different recipes, so there is no shortage of different ideas to choose from.
It is worth noting that the cookbook here is on the basic side. So, there is less introduction than many of the other options and there are relatively few images. As such, it isn’t the best cookbook for people who are inspired by photographs or who want lots of detail. But, if you simply want a wide range of recipes at your fingertips, this cookbook is a good choice.
Ikaria differs from most of the other cookbooks in that it is just focused on one specific Mediterranean location and the food that is associated with it. The cookbook also goes beyond recipes and considers life as a whole in this area and how the combination of food, habits and traditions can contribute to longevity.
The book itself is described as ‘part cookbook, part travelogue’, which is an accurate perspective all around. As such, there is much more information about the area that you might expect in a cookbook – but all of the topics discussed are fascinating.
Nevertheless, one thing to note is that the recipes are based on eating patterns on one particular island and many of the ingredients cannot be found elsewhere. Even the more common ingredients may be difficult to source and some are options that people may not be interested in eating, such as baby goat. Substitutions are offered but the overall style still won’t work for everybody.
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The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
Compared to many of the other options on this list, this cookbook is on the simple side. For one thing, it doesn’t offer a detailed introduction to the Mediterranean diet or why you should be following it. At the same time, there are very few images present. Instead, the book is almost entirely about the recipes.
Those recipes are attractive in their own right and certainly take advantage of Mediterranean flavors. Likewise, they mostly use common ingredients for Mediterranean cooking, although some of those may be unfamiliar to people new to the diet type. More than anything, the cookbook works well for people who are confident in the kitchen and are looking for new ideas and inspiration. In contrast, if you want a lot of guidance, this isn’t the right cookbook to choose.
The Good Life! Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
Like many cookbooks, this option offers up an Americanized version of the Mediterranean diet. So, you get many of the same styles of dishes and overall flavors, but the recipes and ingredients have been tweaked to make them easier and more appealing for our sensibilities. This style isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially as many people do find Mediterranean cooking too complex and time-consuming. Nevertheless, how well it works for you will depend on your specific needs.
Beyond this aspect, there is also a decent number of recipes to choose from, across a range of different styles. So, as long as you don’t mind slightly Americanized recipes, you’re likely to find at least some dishes that appeal to you.
This cookbook is different to most of the others in a few ways. First of all, it is a relatively simple cookbook, just offering 50 recipes and relatively few images. Additionally, the emphasis of the book is on the ketogenic diet, rather than the Mediterranean diet. The recipes here are still Mediterranean-inspired. However, the approach means that the recipes are less traditional than in many of the other cookbooks.
Overall, the cookbook isn’t the greatest and there are many better options out there. But, we do consider it one of the best options if you are specifically looking for ketogenic recipes that have Mediterranean flavors. After all, there aren’t that many cookbooks that cover this area directly and, simple or not, this book does provide a range of interesting recipes.
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The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
Cookbooks like this one may not appeal to everybody but it is still an attractive option if you’re wanting to get started with Mediterranean cooking. In particular, the book has a strong focus on ensuring that the recipes are easy to follow. Additionally, most of the insight and directions are part of the recipes themselves, so there isn’t a large amount of background information that you have to read.
There are also more than 200 recipes in this cookbook, so you end up with a well-rounded selection of different options. But, as with most of the Idiot’s Guides cookbooks, there aren’t many images present. This doesn’t stop the recipes from being good but many people will be specifically looking for images in their cookbook.
The Mediterranean Diet Plan
This option is a combination of cookbook and diet plan. Because of this, it is an interesting approach for people who like significant guidance when they start to follow a diet.
At the same time, you could just choose to rely on the recipes and ignore the meal planning component entirely. Indeed, you may be better taking this approach anyway, as the meal plans are fairly low in protein, which is a style that often leaves people unsatisfied. But, the recipes themselves seem powerful and there are many good ones on offer.
It’s All Greek to Me
The focus of this cookbook is on traditional Greek recipes that have been varied to make them easier to prepare and healthier overall. So, you are still getting many of the common Mediterranean ingredients and styles but the recipes are often more practical for a modern lifestyle.
Some of the recipes on offer are unusual and many are extremely appealing. So, for these reasons alone, the cookbook may be worth picking up. However, the style may not work well for everyone, especially as there is a surprisingly strong emphasis on the author’s story and photographs of her, rather than the food.
The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
Traditionally, the Mediterranean diet isn’t vegan, especially as it does rely on lean sources of meat. Nevertheless, the approach is heavy on plant-based food, so it’s easy to see how recipes could be tailored to create vegan alternatives. The cookbook delivers on that premise, offering a range of different recipes that would be great for many situations.
In fact, the only real limitation of the cookbook is that it is light in images. So, if you rely on images when you cook or like using them for inspiration, this cookbook isn’t going to help much. But, if you’re fine with following text-based recipes, then this cookbook is an extremely good one to choose.
The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
This cookbook takes the general ideas and approaches of a Mediterranean diet and applies them to American kitchens and traditions. As a result, you end up with some variations on Mediterranean foods but the recipes do stay true to the flavors and themes that are commonly found in Mediterranean dishes.
With this cookbook, we were very impressed with the overall flavor profiles and the way that the dishes turn out. However, there are some limitations. For one thing, the cookbook is low in images, which will make it unappealing to some people.
Additionally, many of the recipes are complex, often suggesting that you should be using imported ingredients. The end result is amazing in terms of flavor and great for anybody who loves this style of cooking. Still, the complexity would be too much for many American homes.
The Mediterranean Prescription
Cookbooks are typically about food first and health benefits second but this particular option takes the reverse approach. As such, it focuses strongly on the benefits that you can get from a Mediterranean diet and the science behind it. For that matter, there is more science in this cookbook than in most others, but it is presented in an easy-to-understand manner.
There are still many recipes on offer with part of this book, around 100 in total. Nevertheless, the overall style is going to be better in some situations than in others. In particular, the bulk of the book is about the concepts and the recipes are not well formatted and don’t have accompanying images. As a result, the book is best for those interested in the style, not for people wanting inspiring recipes.
The Vegiterranean Diet
This is another cookbook that varies the Mediterranean diet and instead offers vegan recipes that fit within the general theme and style. So, as you can probably imagine, many of the recipes here aren’t authentically Mediterranean, instead they are variations using vegan ingredients. Nevertheless, the style does work well and there’s no reason why vegans can’t enjoy the flavors of Mediterranean dishes too.
However, although the book is great for theory, it does have fewer recipes than most other Mediterranean cookbooks. As a result, the book works best for people who want to learn more about a vegan Mediterranean diet and those who need a considerable amount of guidance. If that’s not you, then another vegan Mediterranean cookbook may be a better alternative.
There are many good cookbooks on this list and no shortage of amazing recipes among them. Of these, some of the options have a strong focus on traditional Mediterranean food, while others are more about American approaches to these recipes. At the same time, some of the cookbooks heavily focus on the theory behind the Mediterranean diet, while others are simply about the recipes. With all these differences, people are going to vary considerably in which cookbooks they like the best.
But, even with that, there are still some cookbooks that are much higher quality than others. One that’s particularly worth considering is The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook. This book offers a great balance of information and recipes, with 500 different ones to choose from. The sheer number of recipes is reason enough to choose this book because it gives you lots of versatility and options.
The company behind the book also has a good reputation for cookbooks and consistently produces high-quality items. So, as a result, this cookbook truly is worth trying, especially if you are new to the Mediterranean diet.