Mediterranean diet lunch ideas for the summer
Known all over the world, the Mediterranean diet is not properly a “diet”, but more the eating lifestyle of people living in countries near the Mediterranean Sea, such as Italy, Spain and Greece. Based on a high consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, nuts, fish and unsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, this diet is famous for its health benefits and effortless recipes to stay fit with almost no restrictions. That’s why it is perfect especially during those hot summer days, when everyone wants to stay away from the stoves and tries get in shape! If you are looking for easy-to-do recipes, this is the moment to discover some Mediterranean diet lunch ideas: starting from quick dishes such as caprese salad or ham and melon, passing through seafood dishes like fregola with clams and finishing with plant-bases recipes like vegetarian pasta salad and Italian vegetable pies.
Caprese salad: a hymn to the Italian flag
Its name derives from Capri, its colors recall the Italian flag and it’s a perfect easy-to-go dish…it's the caprese salad! Prepared by simply putting together in a plate mozzarella, fresh basil and chopped tomatoes, this salad is the perfect summer dish if you are in a hurry but don’t want to give up on flavors and diet. The main character of this tricolor flag is, with no doubts, mozzarella: loved and enjoyed both by adults and children and known throughout the world for its soft and tangy flavor and for all its different shapes and textures. The finish touch to guarnish caprese salad? Add a few drops of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to enhance all the flavors. If you are a pasta lover and cannot renounce to carbs, we suggest instead creating an amazing caprese pasta salad just by seasoning your pasta with these genuine products.
Ham and melon: the partners in crime
If the true joy of a dish lies in its simplicity, we suggest you an unusual yet easy and refreshing appetizer that only takes two ingredients: we are talking about ham and melon ! We know that this may sounds a weird combination and that usually meat and fruit don’t go together that well, but there’s something about this dish that works amazing. Using a sweet melon such as the cantaloupe and a salty ham such as the Parma one, you'll create a unique contrast of flavors: the sweeter the melon, the better it will mitigate the saltiness of ham. Among our Mediterranean diet lunch ideas, this dish is the most versatile one: you can serve it as a starter for a summer lunch, as a part of a fancy aperitivo or as an easy-to-go snack for a picnic or a beach day.
Fregola with clams: the Sardinian pasta
Fregola is a very particular pasta shape from Sardinia that is similar to cous cous and consists in little balls of durum wheat traditionally made by hand in a terracotta bowl called “scivedda”. Sardinians usually pair fregola with clams or "arselle" as they call them in their dialect. If you can’t find these particular types of clams, don’t worry, you can substitute them with striped venus clams, wedge clams or littlenecks and the dish will still be delicious. The final result will be a colorful and savory dish, perfect for your summer lunches. If you want to go the extra mile, grate some bottarga, the salted and cured fish roe from Sardinia, to add a refined touch to the dish. The Mediterraean diet lifestyle also means sharing food and drinks with family and friends so let's debunk a myth: sharing a glass of wine with your beloveds once in a while is completely fine. Therefore, don’t forget to pair the fregola with clams with a glass of white wine!
Italian vegetables pies: an explosion of colors
Even though some of the most renowned Italian traditional dishes are rich and heavy, believe it or not, Italian diet abounds in any kind of vegetables, seeds and legumes and thus boasts a lot of vegetarian dishes! Italian vegetables pies are one of these, perfect to create light and healthy summer lunches, they basically consist in puff pastry filled with any types of vegetables, eggs and cheese. The secret to create the perfect pie, lies in the combinations of the ingredients inside. Here are some of our favorite matches: spinach and ricotta pie for a family lunch, artichoke and béchamel for a fancy dinner, zucchini and scamorza cheese pie for an aperitivo with a view and lastly, sundried tomatoes and basil pesto for a quick snack on the beach.
Vegetarian pasta salads: the quick to go
Italians don’t renounce to pasta even during those hot summer days. How? They eat it cold! If you are looking for Mediterranean diet lunch ideas, pasta salads are easy to make, tasty and are the perfect dish for those hot summer days. To stay light, choose simple ingredients, avoid heavy condiments and prefer instead vegetarian pasta salads such as the pesto pasta from Liguria or the Sicilian one. Both the pesto sauces share basil within the ingredients, but if pesto from Liguria is mainly made with basil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese, Sicilian pesto is a "red version" made with tomatoes, almonds and basil. These are just some pasta salads ideas, but the beauty of Mediterranean diet is that you really have no boundaries, you can mix and match your favorite ingredients to create unique recipes to be eaten everywhere.