Easy Mediterranean Recipes

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A delicious, healthy Mediterranean diet is based on recipes from the many countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea including Greece, Turkey, Israel, Spain, Italy, France, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Morocco.

International cooking doesn't have to be complicated. Many Mediterranean dishes are easy enough for beginners or experienced cooks in a hurry.

A Taste Of Greece

Transport your taste buds to sunny Greece with this cool, creamy dip and flavorful salad.

Tzatziki(Greek Yogurt Dip)

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon of vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt, strained
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh dill
  1. Mix oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper together until blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt and sour cream.
  3. Pour the oil mixture into the yogurt/sour cream mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Stir in cucumber and dill, and chill at least two hours in refrigerator.
  5. Serve with pita wedges and raw vegetables, or as a dressing on a sandwich.
Ready for Planting Finished Product

Greek Orzo Salad

  • 2cups of orzo pasta
  • 1tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1pint of grape tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • ¼ cup of chopped onion
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1½ tablespoons of lemon juice
  • ¾ cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup of chopped, pitted green olives
  • I cucumber, finely chopped
  • ½ cup of fresh, chopped mint leaves
  • Fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste
  1. Cook orzo pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat oil in skillet; add tomatoes, garlic and onion, and cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomato skins split.
  3. Drain pasta, saving ¼ cup of the cooking water.
  4. Add pasta and ¼ cup of cooking water to tomatoes.
  5. Stir in other ingredients and transfer to serving dish.

Italian Delights

Share a warm and flavorful Italian family meal with this satisfying soup and pasta combination.

Hearty Minestrone

  • About 1/3 cup of olive oil for sautéing
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4½ cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups uncooked ziti pasta
  • 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup of red wine
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in large stockpot and sauté pepper, onion, garlic and celery about five minutes, until onion is translucent and vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 25 minutes or until pasta is cooked to tenderness.

Pasta Pesto with Peas and Mushrooms

  • 8 ounces fresh spinach
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup of fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of grated Romano cheese
  • 1 pound dry bowtie pasta
  • I cup of fresh peas
  • 1 pound of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup of pine nuts
  1. Thoroughly wash spinach, chop finely and set aside.
  2. Melt four tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over low heat and cook scallions and garlic until tender.
  3. Process this mixture in a food processer with spinach, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper until it becomes a smooth, thick paste.
  4. Spoon into a bowl and stir in grated cheese with a fork.
  5. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  6. Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms and peas for about five minutes, or until tender.
  7. Drain pasta and toss with a tablespoon of butter.
  8. Add pesto, mushrooms and peas, and toss again.
  9. Top with pine nuts.

Middle Eastern Favorites

Hummus, in its endless varieties is a delicious staple throughout the Middle East. Try this easy, basic variety.

Hummus

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • ¼ cup liquid from the chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2½ tablespoons olive oil
  1. Drain chickpeas and set aside ¼ cup of the liquid.
  2. In a food processor or blender, mix all ingredients except the chickpea liquid until blended.
  3. Add the liquid and blend an additional three minutes or until mixture is smooth.
  4. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves and serve with pita wedges or chips.

Traditional Spanish Fare

Savor a little bit of Spain when you taste this sweet, smooth dessert classic.

Creamy Flan Custard

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
  • 1½ tablespoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • Whipped cream and fresh fruit, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Melt sugar over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan until sugar becomes a golden liquid.
  3. Pour hot sugar syrup into a 9-inch baking dish, coating the bottom evenly.
  4. Beat eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl.
  5. Mix in canned milk, vanilla and salt.
  6. Pour egg mixture into baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes.
  8. Cool completely and invert on a plate with edges to serve.
  9. Garnish with whipped cream or fresh fruit if desired.

With a little easy preparation, you'll enjoy a taste of the Mediterranean region, right in your own home.

Last Updated: December 28, 2011
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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