4 Surprisingly Rich Mediterranean Recipes That Burn Fat (2024)

Photo courtesy of HarperCollins

Want to lose weight by eating rich foods, snacking on bread, and still enjoying coffee and wine? Of course you do. It’s the dieter’s dream—or rather, it was your dream.Now, you can have your bread and wine—and actually savor both without guilt.

That’s the promise made by the new book The Greek Diet (HarperCollins), written by Prevention’s own food and nutrition director Sarah Toland and acclaimed Greek chef Maria Loi. The science-driven approach uses a traditional or ancient Greek diet supported by the Mediterranean Triad—olive oil, (whole) wheat, and wine—to help trigger significant and sustainable weight loss by giving your body the fat-burning nutrients it needs; think healthy fats from olive oil and seafood, stomach-filling fiber and B vitamins from beans, whole grains, and nuts, metabolism-boosting caffeine from coffee and tea, and protein and probiotics from creamy Greek yogurt. And don't forget the antioxidants in wine that help burn fat.

Best of all, there’s no calorie- or carb-counting, and no elimination of major food groups that can leave you hungry, irritable, and vulnerable to overeating (hello Paleo diet). Quite the opposite, The Greek Diet encourages you to enjoy 12 different “pleasure-factor" pillar foods, including wine, all on a daily basis, and to cook as often as possible, which can help increase your satisfaction in the food you eat.

The book also includes more than 100 mouthwatering recipes, including these 4 that can get you started on a path to effective—and far more enjoyable—weight loss.

Mediterranean Chicken Stew (pictured above)
SERVINGS: 8 to 10

1 Tbsp tomato paste
4 c chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
1 whole chicken (3 lb), cut into 8 pieces
3 med eggplants, diced into 1-inch cubes
2 green bell peppers, roughly chopped
2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 med tomatoes, diced
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, stemmed and chopped
½ c olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Greek yogurt, for serving

1. PREHEAT the oven to 375˚F.
2. DISSOLVE the tomato paste in the chicken stock in a medium bowl.
3. COMBINE the chicken, eggplant, bell peppers, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste on a large baking pan.
4. POUR the tomato paste mixture over the baking pan. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and golden, another 30 minutes.
5. SERVE with Greek yogurt.

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Roka Salad with Fig-Balsamic Dressing

4 Surprisingly Rich Mediterranean Recipes That Burn Fat (1)

Photo courtesy of HarperCollins


10-oz bag prewashed arugula
3 dried figs, finely chopped
2 Tbsp (1 oz) shaved Kefalograviera cheese or Pecorino Romano cheese
1-2 Tbsp (or 1 oz) chopped almonds
Fig-Balsamic Dressing

COMBINE the arugula, figs, shaved cheese, and almonds in a large serving bowl. Toss with a small amount of dressing until coated. Serve immediately.

Fig-Balsamic Dressing
¼ c fig-infusedbalsamic vinegar or regular balsamic vinegar
1 tsp stoneground or Dijon mustard
2 dried figs, minced
¼ c extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. COMBINE the balsamic vinegar, mustard, figs, and ¼ cup water in a food processor or blender. Blend for 30 seconds or until ingredients are well incorporated.
2. SLOWLY add the olive oil in a thin stream while food processor or blender is running. Blend until the dressing is emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. TRANSFER to an airtight container, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Cook’s note: If you prefer a sweeter dressing, add a little more minced fig. If you like a spicier dressing, stir in a little additional mustard and black pepper.

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Kritharaki Me Manitaria (Mushroom Risotto)

4 Surprisingly Rich Mediterranean Recipes That Burn Fat (2)

Photo courtesy of HarperCollins

SERVINGS: 8 to 10

1 onion, very finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 c grated tomato (grated on the large holes of a box grater)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lb white button mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 c red wine
2 c vegetable stock or water
1-lb package Loi Kritharaki Orzo Pasta (or other whole-grain pasta)
Freshly grated pecorino cheese, for garnish
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

1. COOK the onion until golden and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes, in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, sprinkling it lightly with salt as it cooks. Add the tomato and garlic and continue to cook until well combined.
2. ADD the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are nicely browned, about 10 minutes. The liquid they release as they cook will be used later to coat the pasta. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, and add the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
3. POUR in the wine and add 2 cups of stock. Continue to cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by one-third. There should be enough liquid in the skillet to comfortably hold all the orzo, about 1 cup. If not, add a little extra water or stock as needed.
4. PREHEAT a small sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, until it turns golden brown and develops a nutty aroma, less than 5 minutes.
5. ADD the orzo to the skillet with the mushroom mixture and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, about 5 to 10 minutes. If the orzo has absorbed all of the liquid but isn’t quite done, add another ¼ or ½ cup of stock to the skillet. Taste the sauce, and add salt and pepper as needed.
6. REMOVE the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. To serve, ladle the pasta into large bowls, sprinkle with pecorino and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

MORE:7 Desserts So Delicious You'd Never Know They're Packed With Veggies

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

4 Surprisingly Rich Mediterranean Recipes That Burn Fat (3)

Photo courtesy of HarperCollins


1 c extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the cake pan
2 c cake flour (not self-rising)
3 Tbsp grated lemon zest
4 eggs, separated, plus 1 egg yolk
¾ c + 1½ Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt

1. PREHEAT the oven to 350˚F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with a little olive oil. Cut a round of parchment paper to fit the pan, place it on the bottom of the pan, and coat it liberally with some olive oil.
2. WHISK together the flour and lemon zest in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. BEAT the 5 egg yolks and ½ cup of the sugar in a medium bowl, with an electric mixer or an egg beater, on high speed until the mixture is thick and pale, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium-low and slowly add the 1 cup olive oil and the lemon juice, mixing them until just combined. The batter might look as if it has separated, but that’s OK! Using a wooden spoon, mix in the flour mixture just until combined. You don’t need the electric mixer for this step.
4. BEAT the 4 egg whites, in a separate bowl, with the salt at medium to high speed until foamy. Continue to beat as you slowly add the ¼ cup sugar, and keep beating until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. FOLD (carefully) about one-third of the beaten egg whites into the batter and then gently but thoroughly fold in the rest of the egg whites.
6. TRANSFER the batter to the prepared cake pan and gently rap the pan against a hard surface to release any air bubbles that may have formed during the mixing process. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining 1½ tablespoons sugar.
7. BAKE the cake for about 45 minutes, or until it has risen, is a beautiful shade of gold, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, with no traces of uncooked batter.
8. COOL the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and release the springform sides. Let the cake cool and rest for another hour. Flip the cake over onto a plate. Remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment paper.

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4 Surprisingly Rich Mediterranean Recipes That Burn Fat (2024)


What is the Mediterranean secret to lose belly fat? ›

The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle that emphasizes the consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, olive oil, fish, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. This diet can be adapted for fat loss by reducing portion sizes and eating fewer higher-calorie, nutrient-poor foods.

What is the fastest way to lose weight on the Mediterranean diet? ›

If you want to lose weight following a Mediterranean diet here are my 5 tips that work.
  1. Eat your main meal early in the day. ...
  2. Eat vegetables as a main course cooked in olive oil. ...
  3. You should drink water mostly and sometimes tea, coffee and wine (for adults) ...
  4. Consume the right amount of olive oil. ...
  5. Move.
Jan 17, 2024

What is the Mediterranean diet for fat? ›

Mediterranean-style diets emphasize healthy fats and healthy carbs. Saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol are the bad guys. Good fats are monounsaturated (found in olive oil, for example) and polyunsaturated (found in such foods as fish, canola oil, and walnuts).

What are the 2 most recognized ingredients in Mediterranean diet? ›

Key ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine include olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein-rich legumes, fish and whole grains with moderate amounts of wine and red meat.

How many pounds can you lose each week with Mediterranean diet? ›

This seven-day Mediterranean diet plan helps you practice those habits with help from good-for-you foods and delicious Mediterranean diet-inspired ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for a full week of healthy eating. At 1,200 calories you're on track to lose a healthy 1 to 2 pounds per week.

What are 3 cons of the Mediterranean diet? ›

There may be health concerns with this eating style for some people, including:
  • You may gain weight from eating fats in olive oil and nuts.
  • You may have lower levels of iron. ...
  • You may have calcium loss from eating fewer dairy products.
Jul 30, 2022

Can I eat eggs on the Mediterranean diet? ›

The foundation of the Mediterranean diet is plant foods. That means meals are built around vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans and whole grains. Moderate amounts of dairy, poultry and eggs are part of the Mediterranean diet, as is seafood.

What are the best carbs for the Mediterranean diet? ›

The carbohydrates in Mediterranean-style diets tend to come from unrefined, fiber-rich sources like whole wheat and beans. These diets are also rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish, with only modest amounts of meat and cheese.

What is the best bread for the Mediterranean diet? ›

Is sourdough bread allowed on the Mediterranean diet? Any bread that is made from whole wheat, whole grains, sprouts, and sourdough is recommended while on a Mediterranean diet. You will want to avoid bread made from refined grains, such as white bread if you are following this diet.

What rice is good for Mediterranean diet? ›

Having different types of rice can be confusing as to whether all are allowed on the Mediterranean diet. Worry not because you can consume any type of rice, while on the diet, be it white, brown, or basmati rice. Still, whole grain rice is preferable, as it contains more fiber and various micronutritious.

How many eggs per week on Mediterranean diet? ›

Egg yolks. Egg yolks have saturated fats that can raise your cholesterol. Most healthy people can eat up to four to six egg yolks per week while following a Mediterranean diet, but to get some of the benefits of eggs without the negatives, stick to egg whites whenever you can.

How many eggs should you eat on a Mediterranean diet? ›

Based on their high cholesterol content, the Mediterranean Diet Foundation recommends to consume up to 4 eggs per week, as a healthy alternative to fish or meat [7], and the same amount (2–4 eggs per week) was indicated in the latest Italian dietary guidelines [8].

What should be eaten every meal on the Mediterranean diet? ›

The Mediterranean diet puts a higher focus on plant foods than many other diets. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are main ingredients in meals and snacks. Meals may include small portions of fish, meat, or eggs. People often cook with olive oil and add herbs and spices for flavor.

What is the magic of the Mediterranean diet? ›

Yet in clinical trials, people who followed the Mediterranean diet had lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who followed a low-fat diet.

What is the best diet to get rid of belly fat? ›

Focusing on plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choosing lean sources of protein, such as fish and low-fat dairy products. Limiting processed meats, as well as the saturated fat that's found in meat and high-fat dairy products, such as cheese and butter.

What is the best vinegar for the Mediterranean diet? ›

Red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar are featured prominently in the Mediterranean diet, a much-publicized way of eating with many health benefits. Red wine vinegar contributes to the healthful nature of the diet in a few important ways.

What is the Mediterranean secret? ›

With its focus on the consumption of unprocessed seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and healthy fats, the diet is modeled after the nutritional lifestyle of those living on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.


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