The 8 Best Mediterranean Cookbooks in 2021

Bringing the best of Mediterranean dining to your home kitchen

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook at Amazon

The word “complete” is in this title for a reason; this book boasts over 500 recipes inspired by the Mediterranean region.

Best for Beginners: 5-Ingredient Mediterranean Cookbook at Amazon

You don’t need dozens of ingredients to make a delicious meal, and this cookbook proves just that.

Best for Instant Pot: Mediterranean Instant Pot at Amazon

If you’re new to using an Instant Pot, the introduction section covers the basics so you’ll be set up for success.

Best Vegetarian: Vegetarian Mediterranean Cookbook at Amazon

The 125 recipes range from Panzanella Salad to Baklava—so tasty and satisfying that you won’t even miss the meat.

Best for the Coffee Table: Forest Feast Mediterranean at Amazon

Cookbooks can also be beautiful works of art worthy of showing off on your coffee table—and this is one of those books.

Best for Two: The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two at Amazon

Many cookbook recipes are meant for four to eight servings, but for households of just two, that much food can lead to far too many nights of leftovers.

Best for Weeknights: The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook at Amazon

Adopting a new diet can be a tricky learning process, but it’s a lot easier to stick to if it’s simple and less time-consuming.

Best Keto-Friendly: The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook at Amazon

With this hybrid diet, you get many of the Mediterranean diet benefits, minus the carbs.

The Mediterranean diet is known for its focus on fish, olive oil, fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts, whole grains, red wine, and minimal dairy. Luckily, there are plenty of Mediterranean cookbooks to guide both the Mediterranean-experienced and novice. The best cookbooks have the right number of recipes for your cooking frequency, include enough visuals, and feature tags that call out allergens and special diets.

Whether you’re hoping to strictly adhere to this diet, or you just want to casually begin incorporating some Mediterranean flavors into your cooking, here are some of the best Mediterranean cookbooks to get you started.

Best Overall: The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook

the-complete-mediterranean-cookbook-americas-test-kitchen
Courtesy of Walmart.
What We Like
  • Thorough collection of recipes

  • Meal planning suggestions

  • Recipe tags for quick and/or vegetarian meals

What We Don't Like
  • More recipe photos would be ideal

The word “complete” is in this title for a reason; this book boasts over 500 recipes inspired by the Mediterranean region, many of them quick enough to make as weeknight meals with accessible ingredients. The number of recipes in each chapter has been thoughtfully designed to follow the Mediterranean diet pyramid, emphasizing certain foods over others (for instance, more seafood than poultry and meat).

A helpful introduction section explains the Mediterranean diet, reviews essential pantry ingredients, and even offers meal and menu planning pairings. Nutritional information is provided for all recipes, and there are convenient recipe tags for those that take under 45 minutes and those that are vegetarian-friendly. Recipes like shakshuka, braised lamb shanks with bell peppers and harissa, and chilled yogurt and cucumber soup will expand your taste buds. There’s even a fruit-based dessert chapter.

Best for Beginners: 5-Ingredient Mediterranean Cookbook

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly meals

  • Helpful pantry section

What We Don't Like
  • More recipe photos would be ideal

You don’t need dozens of ingredients to make a delicious meal, and this cookbook proves just that. Five ingredients are all you need, which means prep time is super quick—perfect for those in a time crunch. A useful introduction section reviews the basics of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, discusses storing and shopping tips, and contains a helpful pantry section to make sure you have what you need on hand. With recipes like fig and mascarpone crostini and white pizza with prosciutto and arugula, there is something for everyone.

Best for Instant Pot: Mediterranean Instant Pot

What We Like
  • Authorized by Instant Pot

  • Nutritional information provided

  • Helpful guide, troubleshooting tips for Instant Pot

What We Don't Like
  • Recipes not tested with other pressure cooker brands

America’s Test Kitchen is at it again, this time combining the popular Mediterranean diet with the also popular Instant Pot to provide home cooks with convenient, delicious meals. For those in a time crunch, the majority of the recipes can be made in under one hour, and all 95 recipes have full nutritional information provided. If you’re new to using an Instant Pot, the introduction section covers the basics, so you’ll be set up for success. Recipes like lamb meatballs with pickled onions, couscous, and tahini, and spiced rice pilaf with pomegranate and sweet potatoes will keep you coming back to this book (and your Instant Pot) time and time again.

Best Vegetarian: Vegetarian Mediterranean Cookbook

What We Like
  • Timing provided

  • Produce and pesticide information

What We Don't Like
  • More recipe photos would be ideal

With such an emphasis on fruits and vegetables within the Mediterranean diet, it’s no surprise that this diet overlaps handily with a vegetarian diet. The introduction covers all the pantry essentials and shopping tips. The book also includes a list of the “clean 15” and “dirty dozen,” to illustrate buying produce and pesticide use. The 125 recipes range from panzanella and roasted cauliflower tagine to baklava—so tasty and satisfying that you won’t even miss the meat.

Best for the Coffee Table: Forest Feast Mediterranean

What We Like
  • Display-worthy cover and page design

  • Journal-like documentation of travels

What We Don't Like
  • Artistic fonts can be difficult to read

Cookbooks aren’t just great for their recipes; they also can be beautiful works of art worthy of showing off on your coffee table—and this is one of those books. These 100 vegetarian recipes are “filled with atmospheric images of coastal villages, charming watercolor illustrations, and mouthwatering food photography,” according to the publisher.

In addition to recipes, the author has captured travel memories and itineraries that put the dishes into context. From fried ricotta gnocchi and tortilla Española to farro-cucumber salad and avocado-chocolate mousse, there are plenty of creative, Mediterranean-inspired, veggie-forward dishes to keep you busy in the kitchen.

Best for Two: The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two

What We Like
  • Author is a registered dietitian

  • Introduction references scientific studies

What We Don't Like
  • Could use more recipe photos


Many cookbook recipes are meant for four, six, and even eight servings, but for households of just two, that much food can be unnecessary and lead to far too many nights of leftovers. That’s why we appreciate books such as this, geared specifically toward small households. An introduction section reviews the basic principles and science of the Mediterranean diet, breaking down the different types of fats and explaining the Mediterranean diet pyramid. There are 100 recipes, ranging from desserts, like lemon panna cotta with blackberries, to mains, like easy shrimp paella, and sides, like orzo stuffed tomatoes.

Best for Weeknights: The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook

What We Like
  • Authors are registered dietitians

  • Recipes tagged for allergens

  • Great for beginners

What We Don't Like
  • Could use more recipe photos

Adopting a new diet can be a tricky learning process, but it’s a lot easier to stick to if it’s simple and less time-consuming. That is where this book comes into play; these 101 recipes are designed to take less than 30 minutes to prepare. The introduction section outlines the Mediterranean diet before jumping into recipes like Mediterranean lentil sloppy joes, tahini chicken rice bowls, and honey-cherry walnut brownies.

Best Keto-Friendly: The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook

What We Like
  • Low-carb recipes

  • Scientific explanations and diagrams

What We Don't Like
  • Very specific target audience

Following one diet is challenging enough, but following two simultaneously makes it that much harder. Because the Mediterranean diet promotes carbohydrates like grains, it isn’t appealing to everyone, but with this cookbook, you can follow the Mediterranean diet minus the carbs. The thorough introduction section explains this hybrid option and dives into the science of it (complete with diagrams). These 100 recipes include tasty dishes like superfood shakshuka, almond pistachio biscotti, and chilled avocado pesto soup.

What to Look for in a Mediterranean Cookbook

Number of Recipes

Cookbooks vary in how many recipes they contain, as this is largely impacted by page count and how many photos or illustrations are included. You don’t always need to go for the book with the greatest number of recipes, of course, but you should consider how you plan to use the book and then think about the number of recipes.

If you plan to cook exclusively from this new book, purchasing a book with more recipes will give you more options and variety; this might be particularly helpful if you’re cooking for a larger family with lots of different meal preferences. On the other hand, if you plan to use the book only occasionally or for cooking for a particular family member or guest, you don’t necessarily need quite as many recipes and can opt for a smaller book. Quality is what matters, not quantity.

Visuals

If you’re a visual learner, having photos in cookbooks can be a huge help, not only through various recipe steps, but also to get a better idea of what the final dish should look like for serving purposes. If you’re an experienced cook, you may not need all the photos, but it’s certainly more fun (and motivating) to flip through a book with visuals. Before you buy a book, flip through it and see if you’re okay with the text-to-image ratio. If your priority is to purchase a larger, utilitarian, workhorse cookbook with hundreds of recipes in it, it likely will have fewer photos due to space constraints. 

Special Tags

Though a relatively minor detail, special tags at the top of recipes that call out allergens (for example, if a recipe is gluten-free), special diets (for example, if a recipe is vegan), or special conditions (for example, if it’s a one-pot or a 30-minutes-or-less recipe) can be a huge help. Whether you’re cooking for guests with special dietary needs or get home late from work and only have 30 minutes to make dinner, these tags can help you narrow down your best recipe options more quickly.

FAQs

What is the Mediterranean diet? 

According to the American Health Association, the Mediterranean diet promotes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes; includes low-fat or fat-free dairy products, fish, poultry, non-tropical vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits added sugars, sugary beverages, sodium, highly processed foods, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and fatty or processed meats.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

The Spruce Eats writer Alyssa Langer is a registered dietitian and cookbook enthusiast, collecting dozens over the years and always turning to them for inspiration, whether it’s a time-consuming weekend baking project or just a quick Monday night dinner. Having worked in the cookbook publishing world in the past, she knows what it takes to create a quality book that delivers something new and exciting to readers—particularly in an increasingly online world.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Heart Association. The Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular health. February 28, 2019.

  2. American Heart Association. What is the Mediterranean diet? Updated January 9, 2020.

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