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These Mediterranean-Inspired Dishes Are a Taste Vacation

Five delicious recipes that bring the flavors of the Mediterranean close to home


spinner image Gnocchi with tomatoes and arugula on pan
Alanna Hale

If the warmer spring weather has you dreaming of a far-flung getaway to the Mediterranean Sea, these recipes from new cookbooks may help satisfy your wanderlust — at least at the table.

“The Mediterranean diet” references the way people eat in that region, where research shows many might live longer and healthier lives. While it’s healthy for everyone, this diet can be especially advantageous for those 50-plus, because of its connection with lower risk of heart disease and better overall health.

The diet’s recommended plant-based foods and the healthy fats found in nuts, olive oil, avocados and some fish may help reduce inflammation and ease joint pain, benefit cognitive function and potentially slow cognitive decline. Eating a moderate amount of cheese and yogurt, choosing poultry over red meat, and having little or no sweets and butter may promote lower cholesterol levels, better blood sugar control and reduced inflammation. Here are five recipes that feature Mediterranean flavors.

 

spinner image Egg, halloumi, spinach and tomatoes on plate
Ariel Tarr

Egg and Halloumi Breakfast Plate

Mediterranean flavors may seem glamorous, but they are often surprisingly affordable and approachable. With that in mind, registered dietitian Vanessa Perrone wrote Everyday Mediterranean, a cookbook featuring more than 90 delicious and easy-to-make recipes. Throughout, she offers practical tips for stocking your pantry with good-for-you staples and incorporating a heart-healthy diet. To help get you started, her Egg and Halloumi Breakfast Plate includes grape tomatoes and spinach, along with halloumi, a protein-packed cow’s milk cheese, which can be found in your grocery store’s specialty cheese section.

Get recipe: Egg and Halloumi Breakfast Plate

 

spinner image Pasta with clams, breadcrumbs and lemon in bowl
Joann Pai

The Pasta I Crave Every Time I’m Near the Sea

Bon Appétit and New York Times contributor Rebekah Peppler is an American living in Paris, and in her latest book, Le Sud: Recipes from Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, she brings France’s spectacular coastal cuisine to life. The book is one part travel journal — complete with swoon-worthy photos — and one part cookbook, with recipes leveraging   fresh, seasonal ingredients. For this recipe, Peppler was inspired by the French town of Menton, near the Italian border. It uses your favorite dried pasta with fresh clams, garlic and fennel, crunchy bread crumbs and marinated lemons to capture that seaside je ne sais quoi.

Get recipe: The Pasta I Crave Every Time I’m Near the Sea

 

spinner image Chicken with lemon and herbs on dish
Lauren Volo

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Herby Lemon Salsa

Born and raised in Naples, Italy, Laura Vitale felt homesick for her favorite dishes when she moved to the United States as a teenager. Now, she brings Italian cuisine to the forefront on her popular “Laura in the Kitchen” YouTube channel, and in her second cookbook, At My Italian Table: Family Recipes from My Cucina to Yours. This joyful book of 100 recipes capture the essential ethos of Italian cooking: Good food brings loved ones together. In her recipe for Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Herby Lemon Salsa, Vitale uses anchovy paste to dial up the flavor of a whole roasted chicken and potatoes. The result is a dish that would be comforting any night of the week or impressive enough to serve to company.

Get recipe: Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Herby Lemon Salsa

 

spinner image Gnocchi with tomatoes and arugula on pan
Alanna Hale

Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Burst Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

Cookbook author Carissa Stanton wants to dispel any misconceptions that seriously delicious food can’t also be truly good for you. In Seriously, So Good: Simple Recipes for a Balanced Life, she offers  100 of what she terms “flavor bomb” dishes that are designed to help home cooks feel at ease. Stanton advocates for a stress-free approach to creating nourishing meals. That philosophy is exemplified in this one-pan meal that comes together in just 30 minutes, and the easy homemade pesto makes it feel like a special occasion (even if you’re throwing it together midweek).

Get recipe: Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Burst Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

 

spinner image Hummus in bowl on table, surrounded by glasses and other food
Sidney Bensimon

Very Green Pea Hummus

Food and lifestyle photographer Sidney Bensimon honed her cooking skills while working on sailing trips all over the world. Now, she shares her considerable knowledge — and love of global flavors — in The Sea Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes for Memorable Meals on or Near the Water. She offers 65 veggie-forward and pescatarian recipes, both key elements in what makes the Mediterranean diet so healthy. Naturally, the book features beautiful photographs and engaging stories from her travels. Her recipe for Very Green Pea Hummus uses tahini, chickpeas and green peas, as well as a mix of your favorite herbs so you can customize it to your taste. Paired with your choice of chips, pita bread or crunchy veggies, it makes a fresh, flavorful snack or appetizer.

Get recipe: Very Green Pea Hummus

 

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