The 10 Best Mediterranean Cookbooks of 2022

"The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook" is our top pick

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The Spruce Eats / Lecia Landis

The Spruce Eats Top Picks

"The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook" tops our list thanks to its 500-recipe collection and supplemental meal planning suggestions, recipe tags for quick or vegetarian meals, essential pantry ingredients, and more. Beginners can trust in the "5-Ingredient Mediterranean Cookbook," which includes budget-friendly and, just as the title suggests, five-ingredient meals.

The Mediterranean diet has been lauded by experts as a healthy diet plan, particularly as it relates to “prevention of cardiovascular diseases, increasing lifespan, and healthy aging,” according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The diet is known for its focus on fish, olive oil, fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts, whole grains, red wine, and minimal dairy—inspired by certain Mediterranean regions that had longer life expectancies and less chronic disease during the mid-20th century. With such promising research, many have turned to this diet to improve their health.

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

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Thorough collection of recipes

  • Meal planning suggestions

  • Recipe tags for quick and/or vegetarian meals

  • Contains 500 recipes

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

The word “complete” is in this title for a reason: The 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 including shakshuka, braised lamb shanks with bell peppers and harissa, and chilled yogurt and cucumber soup will expand your taste buds while keeping health in mind. And yes, there’s even a (fruit-centric) dessert chapter.

Price at time of publish: $36

What Our Experts Say

“There are 20+ countries in the Mediterranean region, so this diet has a wide variety of cuisines and flavors. Some popular dishes include shakshuka, hummus, Greek salad, and seafood paella.”Anne Danahy, RD, Author of “The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two: 100 Perfectly Portioned Recipes for Healthy Eating"

Best for Beginners: 5-Ingredient Mediterranean Cookbook: 101 Easy & Flavorful Recipes for Every Day

5-Ingredient Mediterranean Cookbook: 101 Easy & Flavorful Recipes for Every Day by Denise Hazime

Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly meals

  • Helpful pantry section

  • Recipes only require five ingredients

  • Vegetarian-friendly

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. With just five ingredients for each recipe, prep time is super quick—perfect for those who want to get food on the table fast. 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 such as fig and mascarpone crostini and white pizza with prosciutto and arugula, there is something for everyone.

Price at time of publish: $17

Best for Instant Pot: Mediterranean Instant Pot: Easy, Inspired Meals for Eating Well

Mediterranean Instant Pot: Easy, Inspired Meals for Eating Well by America's Test Kitchen

Amazon

What We Like
  • Authorized by Instant Pot

  • Nutritional information provided

  • Guide (with troubleshooting tips) for using Instant Pot

  • Recipes are thoughtfully organized

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 recipes can be made in under one hour, and each of the 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 including 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.

Price at time of publish: $28

What Our Experts Say

“When looking for a cookbook, look at the author's background and credentials: Are they from the Mediterranean region? Are they a health professional who has researched the diet or used it with clients? Also, do they provide tools to help you get started, like grocery lists, meal plans, and product recommendations? Finally, flip through the recipes to make sure they match up with your level of cooking skills and taste preferences.” Anne Danahy, RD, Author of “The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two: 100 Perfectly Portioned Recipes for Healthy Eating

Best Vegetarian: Vegetarian Mediterranean Cookbook: 125+ Simple, Healthy Recipes for Living Well

Vegetarian Mediterranean Cookbook: 125+ Simple, Healthy Recipes for Living Well by Sanaa Abourezk

Amazon

What We Like
  • Timing provided

  • Clean produce information

  • Contains 125+ recipes

  • Ingredients can be sourced locally

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 give a better understanding of buying produce and pesticide use. The 125 recipes range from panzanella salad and roasted cauliflower tagine to baklava—so tasty and satisfying that you won’t even miss the meat.

Price at time of publish: $17

Best for the Coffee Table: Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food

Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food by Sheela Prakash

Amazon

What We Like
  • High-quality photography

  • Three-ingredient recipes for snacks

  • Most recipes have accompanying photos

  • Written by a registered dietitian

What We Don't Like
  • Has fewer than 80 recipes

Author Sheela Prakash, RD has written what feels like a Mediterranean cookbook, textbook, coffee table book, and diary all in one. Readers say the introduction and notes on every recipe make them feel like they really get to know Prakash and her love for Mediterranean food. She writes with a personal tone, sharing bits of her time living in Italy and her approach to cooking. It's very casual and relaxed.

The book features more than 75 recipes with photos that users describe as “gorgeous” and “mouth watering.” There is a good variety of recipes that not only range in level of difficulty (a.k.a beginner-friendly) but also in terms of ingredients. The Mediterranean diet includes a lot of seafood and other lean animal proteins, but the book offers many vegetarian-friendly recipes, too.

Price at time of publish: $27

What Our Experts Say

“This is a perfect choice for someone who wants to learn to cook healthy, creative Mediterranean diet recipes,” says Anne Danahy, RD, author of “The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two: 100 Perfectly Portioned Recipes for Healthy Eating.” “The author is a registered dietitian as well as a recipe developer, so the recipes are creative and delicious as well as healthy. I love the author's emphasis on stocking your pantry with quality ingredients and why each one is integral to the Mediterranean diet.”

Best for Two: The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two: 100 Perfectly Portioned Recipes for Healthy Eating

The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Two: 100 Perfectly Portioned Recipes for Healthy Eating by Anne Danahy RDN

Amazon

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 good vs. bad fats and explaining the Mediterranean diet pyramid. There are 100 recipes, ranging from desserts including lemon panna cotta with blackberries to mains such as easy shrimp paella and sides including orzo-stuffed tomatoes.

Price at time of publish: $18

Best for Weeknights: The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 101 Easy, Flavorful Recipes for Lifelong Health

The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet

Courtesy: Amazon

What We Like
  • Authors are registered dietitians

  • Recipes tagged for allergens

  • Great for beginners

  • Dishes require just 30 minutes

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's where this book comes into play, as the 101 recipes are designed to take less than 30 minutes to prepare. The introduction section outlines the Mediterranean diet, explaining the health benefits, food pyramid, and overall principles. Recipes including Mediterranean lentil sloppy joes, tahini chicken rice bowls, and honey-cherry walnut brownies will have dinner and dessert on the table in no time, but with flavor as if you’d been cooking for hours.

Price at time of publish: $18

Best Keto-Friendly: The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: The Optimal Keto-Friendly Diet that Burns Fat, Promotes Longevity, and Prevents Chronic Disease

The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: The Optimal Keto-Friendly Diet that Burns Fat, Promotes Longevity, and Prevents Chronic Disease by Martina Slajerova

Amazon

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 hybrid diet, you get many of the Mediterranean diet benefits minus the carbs. The thorough introduction section explains this hybrid option and dives into the health science, complete with diagrams. These 100 recipes include tasty dishes such as superfood shakshuka, almond pistachio biscotti, and chilled avocado pesto soup.

Price at time of publish: $27

Best Sicilian: The Sicily Cookbook: Authentic Recipes from a Mediterranean Island

The Sicily Cookbook: Authentic Recipes from a Mediterranean Island by Cettina Vicenzino

Amazon

What We Like
  • Based on local Sicilian culture

  • Infused with cultural knowledge

  • Features local chefs

What We Don't Like
  • Some ingredients might be hard to find

The Mediterranean refers to more than 20 countries, and Italy is one of them, including the island of Sicily. This cookbook includes instructions on how to make classic Sicilian dishes, such as pasta alla Norma, Sicilian baked sausage, and Sicilian orange bread. It also includes lighter recipes that call for more plant-based ingredients, such as black lentils and artichokes.

The author isn’t afraid to share the spotlight and share more than just her beautiful recipes, as reviewers say. The book features profiles of local chefs and food developers as well as full-page photography of Sicilian architecture and breathtaking landscapes. Readers really feel like they’re taking a tour of the Mediterranean island, including all the sights and bites that attract travelers.

Price at time of publish: $30

Best for Meal Planning: The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners: Meal Plans, Expert Guidance, and 100 Recipes to Get You Started

The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners: Meal Plans, Expert Guidance, and 100 Recipes to Get You Started by Elena Paravantes, RDN

Amazon

What We Like
  • More than 100 recipes

  • Includes meal plans

  • Written by a registered dietitian

  • Recipes are simple

What We Don't Like
  • Recipes include many common food allergens


If you’re looking for someone to hold your hand as you navigate the Mediterranean diet, this book is for you. It’s a cookbook, but it also contains a 14-day meal plan and food lists to make your next two weeks a breeze. Written by a registered dietitian, the book also includes expert guidance as author Elena Paravantes, RDN shares her top shopping and cooking tips.

“This is an excellent book for anyone who is curious about the Mediterranean diet, or whose doctor recommends it,” says Danahy. “The author provides helpful background information on the diet as well as easy-to-use tools, like grocery lists and meal planning tools to make it easy for anyone to get started with this eating pattern. Recipes are authentic, but not overly complicated.”

Price at time of publish: $20

Final Verdict

Our winner, "The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook," includes 500 recipes, meal planning suggestions, and much more. The "5-Ingredient Mediterranean Cookbook," however, is both budget-friendly and great for beginners.

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 as a part of your new diet, 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

We’re adults—we don’t always need pictures in our books. But 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 you 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 in a given situation.

FAQs

What is the Mediterranean diet? 

The Mediterranean diet is a popular diet that’s proven to be particularly helpful when it comes to heart health. It's recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and World Health Organization, according to the Mayo Clinic, as a means to “promote health and prevent chronic disease.”

There is not a specific definition to this diet—it’s more of a general lifestyle and eating pattern based on Mediterranean region countries, including Greece and Italy, that were having significantly fewer deaths due to heart disease, as observed in the 1960s. Since then, studies have shown that this diet is correlated with reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease, according to Mayo Clinic. This diet emphasizes plants (lots of fruits and veggies); healthy fats (extra-virgin olive oil); whole grains (farro, anyone?); weekly portions of fish, poultry, beans, and eggs; moderate dairy; and limited red meat. Red wine is also OK in moderation.

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.

Lacey Muinos is a food and wellness writer. She’s followed a plant-based diet for more than five years and loves Mediterranean staples, including hummus, pita bread, olive oil, and legumes.

Additional reporting by
Lacey Muinos
Lacey Muinos
Lacey Muinos has written about health, wellness, food, and skincare for five years. Her work has appeared on LIVESTRONG, Insider, and Eat This Not That. 
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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. Harvard School of Public Health. Diet Review: Mediterranean Diet.

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