Cuisines of the Mediterranean region are lauded around the world for their health benefits. Fortunately for those of us living outside of the region, most of these healthy eats can be recreated in our own kitchens, no matter where they originate from.
Following a Mediterranean-style diet is associated with a reduced risk of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and death by heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. The health benefits are directly tied to the cuisine’s reliance on fresh produce, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats.
By incorporating Mediterranean dishes into your diet, you can begin to reap some of these benefits too.
We rounded up the best Mediterranean-style appetizers online to make the adjustment easier.
Mediterranean orzo salad
Image source: Iowa Girl Eats
Olives, tomatoes, and herbs take center stage in this orzo salad, which would be a great alternative to pasta salad at your next gathering.
Greek meatballs with tzatziki sauce
Tzatziki is another creamy Mediterranean sauce that’s made with yogurt, cucumber, and garlic. This recipe from Recipe Runner would be great to serve on game day.
These Lebanese-style potatoes from Eating Your Mistakes are a simple and flavorful alternative to home fries or regular stovetop potatoes. The spuds are flavored with paprika, garlic, cayenne, and more.
Labneh dip with zaatar pistachio mint olive topping
Image source: Two Purple Figs
Labneh is a traditional Middle Eastern cheese dip made from strained yogurt. This recipe from Two Purple Figs is topped with mint, pomegranate seeds, and other colorful garnishes.
Tomato and basil bruschetta
Bruschetta is a trademark Italian appetizer. Served on crusty bread, flavors of fresh tomatoes and basil wake up the taste buds and whet the appetite. For best results use local, in-season tomatoes.
Lebanese lentil salad
This lentil salad from Kalyn’s Kitchen combines the flavors of garlic, cumin, mint, and parsley. Like many dishes on this list, it’s low-fat, dairy, gluten free, and vegan. One thing it’s not short on? Flavor.
Italian roasted mushrooms and veggies
Image source: Jo Cooks
Served as a side dish or appetizer, these roasted Italian vegetables are certain to be a hit. Because it’s simple to prepare and cook, this recipe from Jo Cooks would be a great addition to your next potluck.
Artichoke, tomato, and spinach flatbread
Are you having guests over this weekend? Greet them with a glass of red and flatbreads. These easy appetizers are full of flavor and healthy to boot. They’re topped with spinach, artichokes, tomatoes, and cheeses, but feel free to get creative with your toppings.
Roasted red pepper and artichoke tapenade
Tapenades are essentially pastes made of fresh ingredients. This recipe from Life, Love and Good Food would be excellent served on crusty bread or multigrain crackers.
The best homemade falafels
Why fry when you can bake? These falafels from Little Spice Jar go great in salads and wraps, or they can be enjoyed on their own with some tahini.
Caprese salad skewers
Caprese salad is an amazing summer treat that uses fresh tomatoes and basil. This version from Natasha’s Kitchen puts the salad on skewers, turning it into the perfect party appetizer.
Grilled chicken souvlaki and tzatziki sauce
Souvlaki is as Greek as it gets! This recipe from Le Crème De La Crumb pairs the skewered chicken with tzatziki — a traditional Greek sauce usually slathered onto a souvlaki or gyro pita. Ditch the carbs and use it as a dip for the meat instead.
Bruschetta with ricotta, prosciutto, and arugula
A Red Binder serves up this alternative to the traditional tomato and basil bruschetta. Instead, crusty bread slices are topped with ricotta, prosciutto, and peppery arugula. The recipe walks you through making homemade ricotta, but we won’t tell if you decide to save some time and buy it at the store.
This antipasto recipe from Dinner at the Zoo features all the traditional Italian components: olives, fresh mozzarella, peppers, and salami. Feel free to get creative, however, and add ingredients that your family will enjoy the most.
Greek zucchini fritters
Also called kolokithokeftedes, Greek zucchini fritters are much easier to make than they are to pronounce. Delicious Greek flavors like feta cheese, dill, and olive oil combine to make an appetizer you’ll have a hard time keeping stocked.