Kitchen Pantry Essentials to Have Before Trying the Mediterranean Diet

For many years, the Mediterranean Diet has been one of the healthiest diets in the world. You can rest assured in knowing that it’s not one of those fad diets that are here today and gone tomorrow… Why is this particular diet one that’s stood the tests of time? Because of its many health benefits, for one, and because of its sustainability.

The history behind the Mediterranean Diet is based on the traditions and eating patterns of the people living in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It wasn’t until the 1960s when researchers discovered the health benefits of their eating patterns and thus called it the Mediterranean Diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, the diet has many health benefits but it’s profoundly known for its cardiovascular benefits.  

The ironic aspect of the Mediterranean Diet is that it was never a diet to the people living in those countries… it was a way of life. In fact, the Greek meaning of the word “diet” means “way of life.” So don’t think of the Mediterranean Diet as a “diet”… think of it as adopting a new way of eating.

In adopting this new way of eating, you’re going to have to adopt some new essentials for your kitchen pantry as well. From various herbs and spices to keeping a stockpile of canned goods, your kitchen pantry will look totally different when you start the Mediterranean Diet. Before starting this diet, make sure you have these staples in your pantry.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Extra-virgin olive oil has so many uses in the kitchen already and with the Mediterranean Diet, its applications are infinite. If you look at recipes for the Mediterranean Diet, almost every single recipe will call for extra-virgin olive oil. Why? Not only for its flavor but also for its health benefits. Research shows that extra-virgin olive oil can lower your risk of heart disease and lower your risk of death from heart disease. From finishing oils for salads to coatings for your meats, extra-virgin olive oil is a kitchen staple your pantry can’t live without.

Canned Beans

Canned beans are a staple that should be in any household anyway because they’re so delicious and filling but with the Mediterranean Diet, canned beans are the staples that bring most Mediterranean dishes to life. Some canned beans that are required in most Mediterranean meals include:

Chickpeas

Lentils

Fava beans

Lentils

For example, chickpeas are the main ingredient for any meal that involves falafel. The great thing about learning how to make falafel is that it’s super easy and you can make several batches of it and freeze the rest. You can just pull some out of the freezer as you need them.

Canned Fish

When people hear “canned fish” their noses seem to turn up for some reason. Canned fish is not only affordable but it’s also a delicious and very important staple to have for tons of Mediterranean dishes. Types of canned fish that you’ll need include:

Tuna

Sardines

Salmon

Anchovies

Clams

It’s the Omega-3s that helps give the Mediterranean Diet its good reputation of being such a healthy diet to start. You can create various tuna or salmon salads and find a new-found love for sardines. Don’t let packaging deter you from a life-changing and delicious way of life.

Dried Fruit

How many times have you seen dried fruits in the grocery store and kept walking right past it without a thought or notion to even try it? People do it all the time not even realizing how delicious and healthy it is. They are staples that enhance several Mediterranean recipes. If you’re not sure which dried fruits to add to your pantry, try starting out with these:

Cranberries

Figs 

Raisins

Apricots

Blueberries

Olives

If you’re like most people, when you think of Mediterranean food, the first thing you think of is more than likely going to be olives. The great thing about olives is that they’re a kitchen staple that can be used at any time of the year. Some people can eat them straight out of the jar, others prefer them in their martinis but when it comes to Mediterranean dishes, you can incorporate them in just about anything! Check out some great olive recipes for spring and summer!

Herbs and Spices

Okay, so no kitchen pantry is complete without seasonings but when you’re transforming your pantry into a Mediterranean one, you’re going to need LOTS of herbs and spices. The ones you can’t do without include:

Oregano, cumin, and basil

Bay leaves, crushed red pepper, and black pepper

Curry powder, garlic powder, and dill

Ginger, rosemary, and paprika

Sage, saffron, turmeric, and thyme

There are, of course, other herbs that are not on this list that other recipes may call for but you can get those as you need them but for the Mediterranean pantry basics, these are the herbs and spices you’ll need for several dishes.

Nuts and Seeds (Raw or Roasted)

Nuts and Seeds are also some of those staples that add to the Mediterranean Diet’s good reputation. Whether you choose pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, or pine nuts, adding various nuts and seeds to different recipes just add that finishing touch to complete your meal.

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