Mediterranean Cuisine: Principles And Key Ingredients

Mediterranean Cuisine

Many things can and are said of the Mediterranean diet: that it is flavorful, colorful, healthy and sustainable. And they are all true just as the fact that its popularity has grown non-stop over the years due to these same reasons.

Now, what are the foundations behind this amazing cuisine? How did it come to be so well-known in spite of the fact it represents so many countries and people?

If you are into Mediterranean cuisine and want to know more or if you know nothing about it but want to change that, this is the guide you didn’t know you needed about it. Here, you will find the basic principles that structure Mediterranean cuisine along the main and most used ingredients in it. Moreover, you will find some recipe suggestions you can follow.

Mediterranean principles  

Contrary to other popular cuisines, this one doesn’t have just one country or cultural group of reference. This cuisine is the result of the different influences and exchanges it received and it describes the trends that are scattered in the regions along the Mediterranean sea. For this reason, even if you will find Mediterranean cuisine in Greece, it won’t be the same as the one in Italy or even in Spain. But they all share some common features.

The main characteristic of this cuisine is its approach. It takes a holistic approach. This means that eating is seen as an integral activity that involves the people, both cooks and consumers, and the land, the provider. Thanks to the climate and the geography, there is a wide variety of fresh ingredients that are used in Mediterranean dishes. Sustainable use of the land and nutrient-packed dishes are the ultimate goals of this cuisine.

Mediterranean ingredients  

Its holistic approach also reflects on the variety of ingredients used in each dish. Its ultimate goal is to make dishes that have a balanced variety of different food groups.

For this reason, Mediterranean cuisine doesn’t have one or two main ingredients, it has different groups of ingredients that can be easily found in its preparations. Let’s see some of them.

In most dishes, you will find vegetables and fruits, fresh ones. Whole grains and legumes are also rather common. If we had to name one, olive oil is the most common ingredient. It is used literally in every dish either as a seasoning or for cooking.

Considering the proximity to the Mediterranean sea, seafood is almost a must. In fact, it is widely more consumed than red meat which is only eaten in small amounts.

Just like rice, orzo is another element that is highly used. This is a semolina wheat pastina that can be cooked and used similar to regular rice. It goes perfect in dishes like risotto or paella as a replacement for rice. You can get a package here:

Benefits of Mediterranean diet  

Due to the fact that most ingredients are consumed fresh and that there is a wide variety of them in every dish, this cuisine has a lot of health benefits. You will find fiber and antioxidants in most dishes which are essential to feel satiated and to prevent a premature aging of, say, the skin.

In the grains and the legumes, you will find a healthy protein intake which are key for growing muscles. Moreover, the dairy products will provide you with the necessary calcium intake and seafood in general is rich in omega-3 and fatty acids as well as A and D vitamins.

All these nutrients boost your immune system and lower the risk of conditions like diabetes or heart disease. Cancer, bowel issues, high blood pressure and more can be prevented by keeping a Mediterranean diet.

Mediterranean recipe  

For a hot summer day, try an orzo salad. Mix this versatile ingredient with your favorite vegetables. Use tomatoes, basil leaves and olives. Suaté some red, yellow and green peppers together with some onions and toss it in the salad bowl. You cannot forget to pour some olive oil and, to give it an extra twist, squeeze a lemon and pour the lemon juice all over. Make this a main dish or a side dish to some baked salmon, you will love it!

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