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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 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 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
Thorough collection of recipes
Meal planning suggestions
Recipe tags for quick and/or vegetarian meals
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 while keeping health in mind. And yes, there’s even a (fruit-centric) dessert chapter.
Best for Beginners: 5-Ingredient Mediterranean Cookbook
Helpful pantry section
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
Authorized by Instant Pot
Nutritional information provided
Helpful guide (with troubleshooting tips) for using Instant Pot
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 for those watching their calories, 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
Clean produce information
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” so you will better understand 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.
Best for Coffee Table: Forest Feast Mediterranean
Display-worthy cover and page design
Journal-like documentation of travels
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 Espanola 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
Author is a registered dietitian
Introduction references scientific studies
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 versus bad 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
Authors are registered dietitians
Recipes tagged for allergens
Great for beginners
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, explaining the health benefits, the food pyramid, and overall principles. Recipes like Mediterranean Lentil Sloppy Joes, Tahini Chicken Rice Bowls, and Honey-Cherry Walnut Brownies will have dinner on the table in no time, but with flavor as if you’d been cooking for hours.
Best Keto-Friendly: The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
Scientific explanations and diagrams
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 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 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!
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.
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.
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 is 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; rather, it’s more of a general lifestyle and eating pattern based on Mediterranean region countries, like 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 (think 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 okay in moderation.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The Spruce Eats writer Alyssa Langer is a registered dietitian and cookbook enthusiast herself, 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.