Reviewed by Dietitian Jessica Ball, M.S., RD
Following a diet doesn’t necessarily have to be restrictive. With eating patterns like the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on what nourishing foods we can add to our plates to keep us feeling satisfied and nourished. That’s why this collection of side dish recipes includes a variety of vegetables alongside ingredients like olive oil, cheese and whole grains. With delicious, three-step sides like our Simple Cabbage Salad and Cucumber-Yogurt Salad, you’ll understand why the Mediterranean diet has been ranked the #1 diet in the world for six years running.
Simple Cabbage Salad
Cabbage maintains a nice crunch when it’s tossed with an easy dressing in this simple cabbage salad recipe.
Cucumber Chickpea Salad with Feta & Lemon
This cucumber chickpea salad with feta and lemon is tangy and refreshing. You can enjoy it on its own or toss it with greens for an easy lunch or dinner. We love the grassy flavor of dill, but another fresh herb like oregano, parsley or chives will work well in its place.
A refreshing accompaniment to a main course of meat or fish, this cucumber-yogurt salad also makes a tasty filling for pita bread. If the cucumbers are grated instead of chopped, this mixture can be served as a dip.
Roasted Koginut Squash
Koginut squash is a unique squash hybrid that is smooth and silky like kabocha squash with the rich, sweet flavor of a butternut.
When cauliflower is pulsed in a food processor, it magically turns into a vegetable that really resembles white rice. In this easy recipe, cauliflower rice is made into an herbed pilaf.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes
It’s easy to get creative with these roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. For a quick side dish that complements just about everything, follow the main recipe. If you want to spice things up a little, try one of the variations. Swapping a few spices and adding fresh stir-ins to coat the roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes transforms the flavor of the dish to something new, yet equally delicious.
Kalettes, a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts, cook quickly in a hot oven in this easy vegetable side dish recipe.
Snap Pea & Cherry Tomato Stir-Fry
Serve this lightly spicy, colorful vegetable side recipe with grilled shrimp or salmon. You can also use snow peas or a mix of the two.
Quick & Easy Balsamic Cabbage
This quick and easy balsamic cabbage is a savory side with just a hint of sweetness from balsamic vinegar. It pairs well with roasted pork, chicken or steak. Savoy cabbage or napa cabbage can stand in for the green cabbage. Swap the green cabbage for purple cabbage and try white balsamic vinegar for a colorful twist.
Citrus Kale Salad
Massaging the kale is well worth the effort because the process quickly softens the leaves for a tender bite. We’ve used green curly kale here, but red kale would also give this salad a lovely appearance. For an extra burst of citrus flavor, garnish each serving with additional lemon zest.
Smashing steamed carrots coated in curry powder then finishing them under the broiler lets the flavor set in and gives the carrots a light, crispy edge.
Called sea beans in the U.S., samphire is crunchy seaweed that adds brininess to dishes and can be eaten raw or cooked. Look for it in gourmet markets or fish markets or order online at melissas.com.
Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes & Burrata
For a gorgeous take on a classic caprese, make this healthy salad recipe with heirloom tomatoes in various colors, shapes and sizes. Swapping regular mozzarella for creamy burrata makes this summer salad even more special–but it’s still incredibly easy to make.
Sautéed Mushrooms with Balsamic & Parmesan
Tender cremini mushrooms soak up the tart-sweet flavor of balsamic vinegar, while nutty Parmesan cheese adds a savory note. This easy technique works well with other mushrooms too, like oyster mushrooms or shiitakes, so feel free to mix it up. Serve this big-flavored side alongside grilled steak, or make it a main dish by serving the mushrooms topped with a poached egg and a slice of grilled bread.
Freekeh Tabbouleh with Kale & Cannellini Beans
Think of this as a tabbouleh salad with staying power, thanks to the addition of protein-rich white beans. It also gains more complexity with freekeh in place of bulgur. Made from young green wheat that’s been roasted and cracked, this whole grain has a toasty, nutty flavor. You can substitute regular bulgur if you’d like.
Cucumber, Tomato & Feta Salad with Balsamic Dressing
This Greek-inspired tomato salad is packed with fresh veggies and flavor-boosting ingredients, like balsamic vinegar, Kalamata olives and crumbled feta cheese. This delicious salad takes just 15 minutes to make and while you could eat it right away, it tastes even better the longer it sits, so plan to leave at least an hour of marinating time before serving.
Read the original article on Eating Well.