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Are you interested in starting a Mediterranean diet but are worried about the upcoming holidays ruining your plans? This Mediterranean Diet Thanksgiving Menu should help give you some ideas for dishes you can enjoy for this day of thanks.
Many of you have encouraged me to try recipes for the Mediterranean diet. Little did I know what an adventure this would be. The flavors are amazing! So, I put together a Mediterranean Diet Thanksgiving Menu for you. My Thanksgiving celebration this year is going to be so much yummier! Join me!
As I make more and more of these recipes, I will come back and link to them here so you have everything in one place. But for the time being, think of this as a great outline you can use to create your own Mediterranean-inspired Thanksgiving.
Making The Mediterranean Diet A Part Of Your Life
At the end of the day, the Mediterranean diet is a true lifestyle. It’s a way of living and eating that you have to incorporate into your life on a daily basis, and that includes the holidays. But that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the food on your holiday table. Quite the contrary. All that fresh, healthy food with delicious herbs will actually level up your holiday table. Your family will love it.
I will be adding more recipes here as I made them, so come back for more. But this is a pretty comprehensive place to start.
Mediterranean Diet-Friendly Recipes for Thanksgiving
What does a Mediterranean Diet Thanksgiving look like?
You can have most of the same stuff, just made with a few different ingredients.
You can have sweet potato casserole but topped with Mediterranean toppings (Nobody needs all those sugary marshmallows anyway, and many people don’t like them). The turkey can be slathered in Mediterranean herbs. You can still have dinner rolls if you make them 100% whole grain with no processed sugar. Side dishes should focus on vegetables and fresh produce. Cranberry sauce can be made with natural sweeteners. There’s no reason you can’t have pumpkin pie for dessert; you just need a whole-grain crust. and all-natural ingredients.
For some people, this may sound like an awful lot of change. But instead of seeing it that way, consider how much better your food will taste. Consider how fresh and wonderful each recipe will taste on your Thanksgiving plate because food with a Mediterranean flare is delicious stuff.
Tips For A Mediterranean Thanksgiving Dinner
A Mediterranean Diet Thanksgiving may require a bit more prep work, but many of the dishes can be made ahead of time.
- Plan and Prepare in Advance – Outline your menu and recipes in advance. Prepare a shopping list, gather ingredients, and consider any necessary prep work you can do ahead of time. This includes chopping vegetables, marinating meats, or making dips and sauces a day or two before Thanksgiving.
- Emphasize Fresh and Seasonal Ingredients – The Mediterranean diet prioritizes fresh and seasonal produce. To highlight flavors and nutritional value, opt for locally sourced and seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs, and whole grains.
- Incorporate Olive Oil and Herbs – Use extra virgin olive oil as your primary cooking fat and as a finishing touch in salads or drizzled over roasted vegetables. Infuse dishes with herbs such as oregano, thyme, basil, parsley, and rosemary to enhance flavors.
- Balance Your Menu – Ensure a balance of flavors, textures, and colors in your menu. Include a variety of dishes showcasing different tastes, from savory dips to refreshing salads and hearty main courses.
- Focus on Lean Proteins – Choose lean protein sources like turkey, fish, legumes, or nuts. To infuse flavors, prepare your turkey or protein with Mediterranean-inspired herbs, spices, and marinades.
- Offer Plenty OF Vegetarian Options – The Mediterranean diet includes plenty of plant-based dishes. Provide various vegetarian options like roasted vegetables, grain-based salads, stuffed peppers, or legume-based dishes to accommodate different dietary preferences.
- Keep Portions in Mind – Serve dishes in moderate portions to encourage a balanced and satisfying meal. Offer a variety of small plates or mezze-style dishes, allowing guests to sample different flavors without overeating.
- Encourage Sharing and Socializing – Create a communal dining experience by serving dishes family-style or arranging a Mediterranean mezze platter as an appetizer. This encourages sharing, conversation, and a relaxed atmosphere.
- Don’t Forget Desserts – Offer light and flavorful desserts such as fruit-based treats, baklava-inspired desserts, or citrus-infused cakes. Use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup to keep desserts in line with the Mediterranean diet.
- Enjoy and Be Thankful – Finally, embrace the spirit of gratitude and enjoyment. Thanksgiving is about sharing good food and creating cherished memories with loved ones. Enjoy the flavors, the company, and the celebration of a healthy and delicious Mediterranean-inspired feast.
Mediterranean Diet Thanksgiving Recipes
Mediterranean Diet Thanksgiving Menu – Appetizers
Put together something called a Mezze Platter. It’s the same idea as a charcuterie board, but it uses small bowls of dips, spreads, individual ingredients such as olives, and more. Here are some ideas for what to add to your Thanksgiving Mezze Platter.
Hummus – A creamy spread made from mashed chickpeas blended with tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, and often flavored with spices like cumin or paprika.
Tzatziki – A Greek sauce or dip made from strained yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, vinegar, and sometimes dill or mint.
Baba Ganoush: A smoky Middle Eastern dip made from roasted eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices like cumin.
White Bean Dip – A dip made from pureed white beans (such as cannellini beans), often combined with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs like rosemary or thyme.
Olives – Various types of olives, such as Kalamata, green, or black olives, marinated in oil or brine, offering a tangy and savory flavor.
Muhammara Dip – A Syrian dip made from roasted red peppers, walnuts, breadcrumbs, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, and spices, typically featuring a slightly sweet and spicy taste.
Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmas) – Grape leaves filled with a mixture of rice, pine nuts, and herbs like dill or mint, sometimes including ground meat, then rolled and often served cold or at room temperature.
Pita Bread or Pita Chips – Soft and fluffy Middle Eastern flatbread cut into triangles and toasted to make chips, perfect for dipping into various mezze items.
Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip – A dip made from roasted red peppers, feta cheese, olive oil, garlic, and sometimes yogurt or cream cheese, offering a tangy and savory taste.
Feta Cheese – A brined cheese made from sheep’s or goat’s milk, characterized by its crumbly texture and tangy flavor.
Roasted Vegetables – Various vegetables like eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, or cherry tomatoes roasted with olive oil, herbs, and spices until tender and flavorful.
Labneh – A strained yogurt cheese similar to Greek yogurt but even thicker, often served drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs or spices.
Marinated Artichokes – Artichoke hearts marinated in oil or vinegar along with herbs and spices, offering a tangy and slightly earthy flavor.
Spanakopita – A Greek pastry made with layers of crispy phyllo dough filled with spinach, feta cheese, onions, and herbs, typically baked until golden brown.
Couscous Salad – A salad made with couscous (small pasta granules), mixed with vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs, and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, offering a light and refreshing taste.
Mediterranean Diet Soup and Salad Ideas
Lentil Soup: A hearty soup made with lentils, vegetables, and spices.
Avgolemono Soup: A Greek soup made with chicken, rice, or orzo in a lemony broth thickened with eggs.
Tomato Basil Soup: A simple and flavorful soup made with ripe tomatoes, basil, and garlic.
Greek Salad – A refreshing combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and feta cheese dressed with olive oil and oregano.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad – A nutrient-rich salad made with quinoa, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and a lemon-herb dressing.
Fattoush Salad – A Lebanese salad featuring mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, toasted pita chips, and a tangy sumac dressing.
Mediterranean Diet Thanksgiving Menu – Bread Recipes
Flatbread – Traditional Middle Eastern or Mediterranean flatbreads like lavash, naan, or focaccia.
Pita Bread – Soft, round, and pocketed bread used for scooping up dips or filling with ingredients to make sandwiches.
Whole Grain Bread – Nutritious and hearty, offering a different texture and flavor to complement the spreads and dips.
Herb Focaccia – A flavorful Italian bread topped with herbs, olive oil, and sometimes other ingredients like olives or roasted garlic.
Olive Bread – Bread infused with chopped or whole olives, contributing a salty and briny taste to the meal.
Rye Bread – Dense and slightly tangy, rye bread can provide a robust contrast to the flavors of the mezze platter.
Mediterranean Diet Thanksgiving Menu – Side Dishes
Lemon Garlic Roasted Potatoes – Potatoes cut into chunks or wedges, seasoned with a mixture of minced garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roasted in the oven until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. This dish offers a zesty and aromatic flavor with a delightful contrast between the crispiness and softness of the potatoes.
Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables – A mix of assorted vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and possibly others, tossed in olive oil, garlic, herbs like oregano or thyme, salt, and pepper, then roasted until caramelized and tender. This dish showcases the natural sweetness of the vegetables while incorporating Mediterranean flavors from the herbs and olive oil.
Greek-Style Green Beans – Green beans cooked with flavors typical in Greek cuisine, often sautéed with garlic, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, and seasonings like oregano or dill. Sometimes, they might be stewed in a tomato-based sauce until the beans are tender, resulting in a savory and herb-infused dish.
Mediterranean Diet Thanksgiving Menu – Main Course
Herb-Infused Mediterranean Turkey Breast – A turkey breast prepared with Mediterranean herbs and flavors such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, garlic, lemon zest, and olive oil. The turkey breast is typically marinated or rubbed with a mixture of these herbs and spices, enhancing its flavor profile with aromatic Mediterranean notes. It might be roasted or grilled until tender and juicy, offering a fragrant and herbaceous taste.
Mediterranean Stuffed Butternut Squash – Butternut squash hollowed out and filled with a stuffing that often includes Mediterranean ingredients such as quinoa or rice, chickpeas, spinach or kale, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, pine nuts, and a blend of herbs like parsley, oregano, or thyme. The stuffed squash is baked until the squash is tender and the filling is cooked through, resulting in a flavorful and wholesome dish that combines various textures and savory flavors.
Mediterranean-Style Sweet Potato Casserole – A sweet potato casserole prepared with Mediterranean-inspired ingredients and seasonings. It might include mashed sweet potatoes seasoned with olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, a touch of honey or maple syrup for sweetness, and herbs like thyme or rosemary. The dish might also incorporate toppings such as toasted nuts (like almonds or walnuts), breadcrumbs, or crumbled feta cheese, adding a crunchy or creamy texture to the casserole. The combination of sweet and savory flavors characterizes this comforting and flavorful dish.
Mediterranean Diet-Friendly Desserts
Baklava-Inspired Dessert: A dessert reminiscent of traditional baklava, typically comprising layers of phyllo pastry or filo dough brushed with butter or oil, interspersed with a filling of chopped nuts, commonly walnuts, pistachios, or almonds, and sweetened with honey or syrup. The layers are baked until golden and crispy, then soaked in honey or syrup infused with flavors like cinnamon, cloves, or orange blossom water. The dessert is rich, sweet, and nutty, with a delightful crunch from the pastry layers. (Recipe coming soon.)
Orange and Almond Cake: A moist and flavorful cake made with ground almonds or almond flour, eggs, and sweetener, and often flavored with fresh orange zest and juice. Sometimes, it includes a syrup made from orange juice and sweetener that’s poured over the cake after baking, enhancing the citrusy flavor. This cake tends to have a dense and moist texture, showcasing the nutty richness of almonds and the bright, tangy sweetness of oranges.
Cocktails and Mocktails
Mediterranean Sangria – Red or white wine mixed with fresh citrus fruits, slices of apples, and a splash of brandy or orange liqueur. You can also make a Sangria mocktail.
Herbal Infused Water – Water infused with Mediterranean herbs like mint, rosemary, or basil, along with slices of lemon or cucumber, for a refreshing, non-alcoholic option.
Ideas For What To Do With Mediterranean Thanksgiving Leftovers
Mediterranean Turkey and Hummus Wrap: Use leftover Mediterranean herb-infused turkey breast slices, hummus, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and a drizzle of tzatziki sauce wrapped in warmed pita bread or lavash. This wrap combines the leftover turkey with Mediterranean flavors and condiments for a quick and flavorful meal.
Leftover Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad: Combine leftover Mediterranean roasted vegetables with cooked couscous, chopped fresh herbs like parsley and mint, crumbled feta cheese, and a simple vinaigrette made of olive oil, lemon juice, and a touch of honey. Toss everything together to create a refreshing and satisfying salad.
Mediterranean Stuffed Butternut Squash Soup: Puree leftover stuffed butternut squash with some vegetable or chicken broth until smooth. Heat the mixture in a pot, adjusting the consistency with additional broth if needed. Season with Mediterranean spices like cumin, coriander, and a touch of cinnamon. Serve as a hearty and flavorful soup garnished with a dollop of Greek yogurt and chopped fresh herbs.
Mediterranean Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers: Use leftover Mediterranean herb-infused turkey mixed with cooked quinoa, chopped roasted vegetables, and a bit of tomato sauce. Stuff the mixture into hollowed-out bell peppers, sprinkle with feta cheese and bake until the peppers are tender. This creates a wholesome and tasty stuffed pepper dish.
Sweet Potato and Feta Frittata: Combine leftover Mediterranean-style sweet potato casserole with beaten eggs, crumbled feta cheese, and chopped spinach or kale. Pour the mixture into a skillet and cook until the eggs are set. Slice into wedges and serve as a flavorful frittata for a delicious brunch or light meal.