Easy Gluten-Free Mediterranean Recipes

The Mediterranean diet often is recommended to reduce heart disease risk while lowering total cholesterol and maintaining HDL levels. It also has been found to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. This diet includes a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, fish, nuts, and other monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. Healthful seasonings and spices include garlic, onions, oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary, citrus, and more.

The variety of whole foods in the Mediterranean diet easily adapts to a gluten-free lifestyle, as shown in the following recipes that you can share with your clients and patients who may have celiac disease, or nonceliac wheat sensitivities.

Recipes are adapted from The Gluten-Free Hassle-Free Cookbook.

White Bean Salad
Serves 4
Simple, healthful, and delicious—served hot or cold

¼ cup sundried tomatoes
1 15-oz can small white beans, drained and rinsed
4 green onions, sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
2 T sliced black olives
2 T reduced-fat feta cheese
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp honey
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
3 T olive oil
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce


  1. Soak tomatoes in hot water until softened. Drain and chop.
  2. Place tomatoes, beans, onions, basil, olives, and feta cheese in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk together lemon juice, honey, garlic powder, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil in small bowl. Pour over beans and dressing mixture and stir gently to mix.
  4. Place lettuce on serving dish. Top with beans mixture and serve.

Tip: This salad can be served warm. Just heat the beans and dressing mixture on stovetop or in microwave, then serve over lettuce.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 249; Total fat: 12 g; Cholesterol: 3 mg; Sodium: 230 mg; Total carbohydrate: 29 g; Dietary fiber: 7 g; Protein: 9 g

Basil Bruschetta
Serves 12

1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3 cups chopped tomato
1 small red onion (chopped fine)
2 T chopped fresh basil
2 T olive oil
1 to 2 T chopped fresh garlic
1 lime, juiced
2 T capers
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper


  1. Combine all other ingredients in an attractive bowl and refrigerate at least 1 hour (best if kept overnight). Serve with gluten-free whole grain crackers.

Tip: Clients can make bruschetta with many different ingredients and according to taste. It’s basically a finely chopped salad of tomatoes with other veggie and herbs served with crisp bread.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 36; Total fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 250 mg; Total carbohydrate: 4 g; Protein: 1 g

Cheesy Polenta Toasts With Roasted Mushrooms and Spinach
Serves 8
Polenta triangles make a perfect base for these flavorful veggies.

3 cups (24 oz) water
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup dry polenta (corn grits, such as Bob’s Red Mill)
4 T olive oil, divided
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
10 oz baby portabella mushrooms, stems removed, cut in half
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 cloves (1 T) minced garlic
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 6-oz bag baby spinach leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ cup shredded Asiago cheese
2 T chopped fresh parsley


  1. Prepare polenta: Bring 3 cups water and salt to boil in medium saucepan. Gradually add polenta, stirring constantly with whisk. Reduce heat to low, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 T olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Spoon polenta into a 9 X 9-inch square baking pan and chill for 2 hours or until firm.
  3. Roast mushrooms: Preheat oven to 400° F. Place mushrooms in a medium bowl and drizzle with 1 T olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss together and place on baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes until mushrooms are tender. Set aside.
  4. Heat 1 T olive oil in large nonstick skillet. Add spinach and cook 1 to 2 minutes until spinach is slightly wilted. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Invert polenta onto cutting board. Cut into eight squares. Cut each square in half diagonally to form triangle. Heat 1 T olive oil in large nonstick skillet. Add polenta to pan and cook 5 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Sprinkle with Asiago cheese, and garnish with chopped parsley. Cover pan to let cheese melt.
  6. Serve polenta triangles with mushrooms and spinach.

Tip: Use instant polenta to simplify this recipe and reduce preparation time.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 181; Total fat: 10 g; Cholesterol: 8 mg; Sodium: 325 mg; Total carbohydrate: 17 g; Dietary fiber: 2 g; Protein: 5 g; Calcium: 99 mg

Rosemarie’s Caponata
Serves 24
Delicious, savory gluten-free dip that all will love.

1½ cups olive oil, divided
3 large eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup thinly sliced celery hearts
2 T chopped celery leaves
1 can anchovy fillets chopped, with oil
¾ cup pitted and chopped Sicilian green olives
½ cup capers, drained and rinsed
1 28-oz can plum tomatoes, hand crushed
½ cup red wine vinegar
1½ T sugar
Fresh basil leaves, chopped, to taste (can substitute dried)
Hot pepper flakes, to taste
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper (or to taste)


  1. In a 12-inch skillet, brown the eggplant on all sides in ¼ cup olive oil in batches (reserve olive oil after cooking). Add extra oil as needed. Drain eggplant on paper towels and set aside.
  2. Heat another ¼ to ½ cup olive oil on medium-high heat and sauté the onion, garlic, celery, and celery leaves for 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the anchovy fillets (these will melt).
  3. Add remaining ingredients and the drained eggplant. Combine gently but thoroughly and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasonings.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Tip: You can substitute red wine vinegar with balsamic if you wish. If you’re on a low-fat diet, you can substitute low-sodium broth in place of some of the oil.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 147; Total fat: 14 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 254 mg; Total carbohydrate: 5 g; Dietary fiber: 2 g; Protein: 1 g

Oven Crispy Flounder
Serves 4
Crispy, flaky, and delicious.

2 T olive oil, divided
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup seasoned gluten-free bread crumbs
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 lb flounder fillets
1 lemon, sliced thin
2 T chopped parsley (optional)


  1. Turn oven on broil.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and drizzle lightly with about ½ T olive oil.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together egg and egg white.
  4. In another medium-sized bowl, mix together bread crumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and black pepper.
  5. Dip fish in egg mixture and then into bread crumb mixture, thoroughly coating fish on both sides.
  6. Place fish on baking sheet. Drizzle tops of fish with remaining olive oil.
  7. Place under broiler for about 3 to 5 minutes until golden, carefully turn fish, and broil other side until golden.
  8. Serve with sliced lemon and chopped parsley, if desired.
  9. Can serve with gluten-free tartar sauce, or gluten-free cocktail sauce.

Tip: This recipe works with most fish, as well as turkey, chicken, or pork cutlets. If desired, grated Parmesan or Romano cheese can be added to the breading mixture.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 297; Total fat: 13 g; Cholesterol: 100 mg; Sodium: 561 mg; Total carbohydrate: 26 mg; Dietary fiber: 3 g; Protein: 26 g

— Marlisa Brown, MS, RD, CDE, CDN, is an award-winning dietitian, chef, and public speaker. She’s president of Total Wellness, a private nutrition consulting company specializing in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, gluten-free diets, culinary programs, corporate wellness, and medical nutrition therapies, in Bayshore, New York, and is author of Gluten-Free Hassle-Free and Easy Gluten-Free. Marlisa blogs at and

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