There may be unfamiliar words in the recipes included in the Mediterranean Diet that you do not understand. Uncommon words and ingredients do not have to be the reason that you skip some of the wonderful recipes from that area.
I have compiled a list of 25 common Mediterranean foods so you won’t miss out on some exceptional dishes. The list is in alphabetical order and also includes the pronunciation.
If you come across an ingredient that you do not recognize and it’s not listed here, you can always Google it.
Let’s get started:
- Arborio Rice: [ar-BOR-ee-o]
An Italian short-grain rice, named after the town of Arborio, in the Po Valley, where it is grown.
- Arugula: [ah-ROO-gah-lah]
An edible plant, commonly known as salad rocket, rucola, rucoli, rugula, colewort, roquette. Great addition to salads.
- Baba Ghannouge: [ba-ba-gha-NOOJH]
A Levantine dish of cooked eggplant (aubergine) mixed with onions, tomatoes, various seasonings. May also be called baba ghanoush, baba ghannouj or baba ghannoug).
- Bouillabaisse: [BOO-ya-basz]
A traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille.
- Bruschetta: [broo-shet-uh]
An Italian dish consisting of toasted Italian bread drenched in olive oil and served with garlic or tomatoes.
- Couscous: [COOS-coos]
A traditional Berber dish of small steamed balls of semolina, usually served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned on top. (Semolina are granules of durum wheat.)
- Dukkah: [DUE-kuh]
Ground roast nuts and spiced sprinkled on meat or used as a dip.
- Falafel: [fuh-LAH-fel]
Middle Eastern dish of spiced mashed chickpeas croquettes made with ground chick peas, seasoned with toasted sesame seeds and salt, usually served with pita bread.
- Fattoush: [Fah-TOOSH]
Middle Eastern salad dish consisting of tomatoes, cucumber, and other vegetables mixed with toasted pita bread croutons.
- Feta Cheese: [FEH-ta]
White salty Greek cheese made from goat’s milk.
- Foul Mudammes: [MOO dah mess]
Egyptian dish made from fava beans.
- Gazpacho: [gahz-PAH-cho]
Cold Spanish pureed soup made from tomatoes, cucumbers, long green peppers (not bell peppers), onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar (preferably Spanish sherry or red wine vinegar) and salt. Bread, if you insist. That’s it – served cold.
- Hummus/Hommos: [HUM-us]
Thick paste or spread made from ground chickpeas and sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic (used as a dip with vegetables and bread).
- Meze / Mezze: [MEZ-ay]
Variety of hot and cold dishes, served as an hors d’oeuvres
- Moujaddara: [moo-JUD-a-rah]
A tasty dish made from pureed lentils and spices.
- Mousakka: [MOO-sah-kah]
Moussaka is an eggplant or potato-based casserole, often including ground meat, originated in the Middle East and Greece.
- Paella: [pie-YAY-ya]
A classic and very popular dish made with seafood, sausage, and rice, originating in Valencia, Spain.
- Pasta e Fagioli: [PAH-stah ay fah-JOE-lee]
A traditional Italian soup made with “pasta and beans” plus other veggies.
- Pesto: [PESS-toe]
A sauce traditionally made with crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, and pecorino sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk), blended with olive oil typically served with pasta.
- Pita: [PEA-tah]
Arabic, Lebanese or Syrian slightly leavened flatbread made from wheat flour. They can be split open to hold a filling.
- Ratatouille: [rah-tah-T00- ee]
A vegetable dish consisting of onions, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, fried and stewed in oil and sometimes served cold.
- Tagine: [tah-JHEEN]
A North African stew of spiced meat and vegetables prepared by slow cooking in a shallow earthenware cooking dish with a tall, conical lid. Can be made with lamb, chicken, other meats, or vegan style.
- Tahini/Tahina: [tah-HEE-nee]
A Middle Eastern paste or spread made from ground sesame seeds.
- Tapenade: [tah-peh-NAHD]
A Provençal savoury paste or dip, made from black olives, capers, and anchovies. You can make your own, or buy one of the delicious varieties available at the market.
- Tzatziki: [tsah-TSEEK-kee]
A Greek side dish of yogurt with cucumber, garlic, and often mint.
That pretty much wraps it up! Most of the descriptions above were obtained just by searching for the term on Google. Wikipedia has pretty accurate descriptions, as well.
Now it’s time to create those amazing Mediterranean dishes.