The Secret Ingredients You Need for the Mediterranean Diet

Discover the secret weapon for a successful Mediterranean diet.

Mediterranean Diet secretPhoto: Shutterstock

This is What Your Mediterranean Diet is Missing

From its heart-healthy benefits to possibly reducing the risk of certain cancers, the Mediterranean diet is one of the most delicious ways to eat your way to good health. And while many of the benefits found in this diet are due to the fact it emphasizes fruit, fresh vegetables, legumes and lean proteins like seafood and poultry, there’s another reason why eating the Mediterranean way is so healthy.

We’ll let you in on the Mediterranean diet’s zero-salt, zero-calorie, zero-fat secret: It’s all about the herbs and spices. (Check out these 10 healing herbs and spices.)

The Most Popular Mediterranean Herbs and Spices

The Mediterranean includes Turkey, Egypt and parts of northwest Africa, along with Spain, southern France, Italy and Greece. That’s a lot of different cuisines to take inspiration from! Many of the herbs and other seasonings that crop up here are familiar to us. We’ve all sprinkled a bit of fresh thyme over a roast or added chopped basil as the finishing touch on a grilled pizza. (Speaking of which, these crazy pizza toppings are worth trying out!) There are a variety of herbs used across the different Mediterranean cuisines.

Here are some of the most popular:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Bay leaf
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Borage

Don’t forget about herb mixes like herbes de Provence and bouquet garni which are used in dishes across the south of France.

For flavourful spices used to season dishes across the Mediterranean, you’ll want to check out the following:

  • Saffron
  • Paprika
  • Sumac
  • Cumin
  • Za’atar
  • Pepper
  • Fennel
  • Cinnamon

This is by no means a complete list, but something to get you started.

Stocking these herbs and spices in your pantry is a great way to ramp up the flavour in your cooking without having to rely on salt, butter and heavy sauces. (Psst—here’s the secret ingredient that will pack your dinner with flavour.) They’re perfect for creating quick and healthy dinners to please the whole family.

What’s more, many of them are brimming with antioxidants and have other health-boosting properties. Who could say no to that?

Next, find out which groceries are worth buying organic.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home