What to Do With Ingredients That Are About to Go Bad

In the past week alone, grocery shopping has become enormously complicated. Maybe you aren’t able to leave home right now, or the nearest supermarket is all but stripped clean, or your go-to online delivery service has no available slots. In any case, …

In the past week alone, grocery shopping has become enormously complicated. Maybe you aren’t able to leave home right now, or the nearest supermarket is all but stripped clean, or your go-to online delivery service has no available slots. In any case, the food that’s already in your fridge is precious. Today, we’ll break down how to make the most of it.


First Things First

The good news is, “almost everything freezes well,” according to Marion Cunningham in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. This goes for raw foods and prepared meals. That said, there are some foods that don’t hold up well. Here’s Cunningham’s don’t-freeze list:

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Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make th…

Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.


I remember when my parents decided to buy a stand-alone freezer. They rolled the enormous ice box into our garage, and my sister and I promptly began listing all of the ice cream flavors we wanted to stuff inside. My parents had other ideas. The new freezer was to be a savory-food-only zone—a place to stash my mom’s big batches of crawfish étouffée and gumbo, my dad’s steaks and stews. No more cramming containers into our fridge’s little drawer. It marked a new era, an Ice Age of freezer-friendly meals to pull out and thaw on busy weeknights.

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28 Day Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

Here’s a monthly Mediterranean diet meal plan! It’s got lots of recipes and inspiration, planning ideas, and a meal planning calendar download. Need healthy food to cook this month? We’ve got answers. Here at A Couple Cooks, Alex and I have spent years honing our method for how to eat healthy meals every day, not just here and there. We made it our MO, wrote a cookbook called Pretty Simple Cooking, and have devoted our careers to helping connect people to healthy recipes. But how to do you do it…every day? Here’s our new 28 day Mediterranean diet meal plan, designed to do exactly that! The goal of this plan is to help you make a sustainable practice of cooking and eating healthy food at home. In the process, we hope you’ll become inspired and find a handful of recipes you’ll make again and again. (If you like: Subscribe to our newsletter for new weekly recipes.) Is this Mediterranean diet meal plan right for you? This Mediterranean diet meal plan is right for you if you eat a variety of foods but want to focus on veggies. This meal plan includes fish, shellfish, vegetarian, and plant based / vegan recipes. If […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s a monthly Mediterranean diet meal plan! It’s got lots of recipes and inspiration, planning ideas, and a meal planning calendar download.

Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

Need healthy food to cook this month? We’ve got answers. Here at A Couple Cooks, Alex and I have spent years honing our method for how to eat healthy meals every day, not just here and there. We made it our MO, wrote a cookbook called Pretty Simple Cooking, and have devoted our careers to helping connect people to healthy recipes. But how to do you do it…every day?

Here’s our new 28 day Mediterranean diet meal plan, designed to do exactly that! The goal of this plan is to help you make a sustainable practice of cooking and eating healthy food at home. In the process, we hope you’ll become inspired and find a handful of recipes you’ll make again and again. (If you like: Subscribe to our newsletter for new weekly recipes.)

Is this Mediterranean diet meal plan right for you?

This Mediterranean diet meal plan is right for you if you eat a variety of foods but want to focus on veggies. This meal plan includes fish, shellfish, vegetarian, and plant based / vegan recipes. If you eat exclusively vegetarian or vegan, choose from one of the following meal plan options:

If you have a very specific diet or health condition, consult a medical professional to understand whether these recipes are right for you.

What makes our Mediterranean diet meal plan different?

One problem with standard meal planning calendars and weekly meal plans is that they offer no flexibility. Many meal plans call for cooking something new every day of the week. They’re overwhelming with the amount of food prep! Many also don’t account for your schedule: what if Monday nights I have a weekly meeting where I eat dinner? Or this Friday night I’m going out with friends?

Here’s what makes our Mediterranean diet meal plan different:

  • It focuses on dinner ideas. Dinner is the main meal where Alex and I cook and get the majority of our nutrients for the day. Our approach is this: Go big on dinner. Go super simple on breakfast and lunch. At the bottom of the meal plan you’ll find lists of healthy breakfast ideas, snack ideas, and lunch ideas.
  • The approach: Pick 3. Each week, we offer 3 healthy dinner ideas. You can make them on any day that week! This encourages you to customize the ideas based on your schedule and particular tastes, and to eat up leftovers.
  • Repeat your favorites! Offering only 3 dinner ideas encourages you to make dinner ideas you liked from previous weeks.

What if this meal plan doesn’t work for me?

It’s possible this meal plan might not work for you – and that’s ok! This meal plan might provide too much flexibility for you. There might not be enough options. Or, you might not like the style of these recipes. This meal plan is not for everyone, but it’s an outline of how Alex and I cook on a weekly basis.

Run out of dinner recipes? We’ve got hundreds! Here are some places to browse:

Download: Mediterranean diet meal plan spreadsheet

To make our Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan tangible, we’ve created a downloadable meal planning calendar for you! It’s our Meal Plan spreadsheet, where you can copy in your meal planning ideas for each week. Simply download the spreadsheet and then copy in the links to the recipes for each week below. Here’s the download!

Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

Before you start: here’s how to use our Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan!

  • Pick at least 3 dinner ideas. Alex and I don’t cook every night! We make enough for leftovers and eat them throughout the week, sometimes re-purposing them in new ways. For this meal plan, pick 3 days that you want to cook dinners. Fill in the other days with eating leftovers, “clean out the fridge” meals, or allowing for meals out. If you need more healthy dinner ideas for that week: pick another one of our other Dinner Recipes, or our 28 Day Healthy Meal Plan and 28 Day Pescatarian Meal Plan.
  • Fill in breakfast, lunch, and snacks ideas. We like to keep breakfast, lunches, and snacks SUPER simple. If possible, things that don’t use recipes are great: like carrots and hummus, English muffins with peanut butter, yogurt with fruit. Doing this, we save our cooking energy for dinner.
  • Copy the links into your Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan spreadsheet. Using a spreadsheet makes things much more tangible than just using a list! Once you’ve taken stock of what nights you’ll have time to cook, fill in your dinner ideas accordingly. We suggest filling out the meal plan on the weekend (Sundays seem to be good for many people).
  • Read the meal prep planning notes. Below each week of healthy dinner ideas, we’ve included some meal prep planning notes to help with ways to make ahead or prep in advance.

Dinner Ideas Week 1

*Pick at least 3 dinners to cook at home and copy them into your Meal Plan spreadsheet on the days for Week 1! On days you’re not cooking, use up leftovers or do “clean out the fridge” meals, and allow for meals out.

  1. Salmon with Capers (30 minutes) + Pesto Quinoa
  2. Mediterranean Couscous Bowls (30 minutes)
  3. Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo (25 minutes) + Easy Arugula Salad
  4. Quick Garlicky Shrimp Couscous (15 minutes)
  5. Leftovers from above*

*Meal Prep Plan Notes

  • Salmon: If using frozen salmon, make sure to refrigerate the night before. It’s an easy recipe so not much can be made in advance. (The caper butter could be, but you’ll have to re-melt it anyway.) You can make the quinoa in advance and refrigerate: wait to mix it with the pesto until the day of serving.
  • Couscous Bowls: You can make the tahini sauce and chickpeas in advance and refrigerate until serving. You could make the couscous in advance, but it cooks so fast it works the day of. For gluten-free, substitute quinoa or rice. You could make a big pot of quinoa and use it in the Salmon, Couscous Bowls, and Shrimp Couscous. Of you’re serving with couscous, you could make extra if you’re planning to make the shrimp.
  • Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo: Make the sauce in advance and refrigerate until serving. Reheat and serve with fresh cooked pasta for a quick and easy meal. Make the salad while the pasta boils.
  • Shrimp & Couscous: This one is lightening fast. If you’re using frozen shrimp, throw it in the refrigerator the night before. If you have leftover couscous or quinoa from the above meals, it will be even faster.
Salmon with capers
Salmon with Capers is a simple preparation with big flavor.

Dinner Ideas Week 2

*Pick at least 3 dinners to cook at home and copy them into your Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan spreadsheet on the days for Week 2! On days you’re not cooking, use up leftovers or do “clean out the fridge” meals, and allow for meals out.

  1. Easy Sheet Pan Dinner (45 minutes)
  2. Lentil Sloppy Joes (30 minutes)
  3. Nicoise Salad (40 minutes)
  4. Make again! 1 or 2 favorite dinner ideas from Week 1
  5. Leftovers from above*

Meal Plan Prep Notes

  • Sheet Pan Dinner: Chop the veggies in advance, then just pop them in the oven the day of serving. Or, you can roast them in advance and just reheat in a 350 degree oven until heated through, about 10 to 15 minutes. You also can make the rice or quinoa in advance and reheat prior to serving.
  • Lentil Sloppy Joes: Cook the lentils in advance, then make the sauce the day of. Even better, make the entire filling in advance (it tastes better as it sits). If you’re serving with Pickled onions, make those in advance too.
  • Nicoise Salad: This classic French salad has lots of components, but they can all be made ahead! Make the hard boiled eggs, beans, potatoes, and lemon vinaigrette in advance and refrigerate until serving. Make sure to let the dressing come to room temp before serving.
Nicoise salad
The classic French Nicoise Salad is 100% Mediterranean diet.

Dinner Ideas Week 3

*Pick at least 3 dinners to cook at home and copy them into your Meal Plan spreadsheet on the days for Week 4! On days you’re not cooking, use up leftovers or do “clean out the fridge” meals, and allow for meals out.

  1. Shrimp Marinara (30 minutes) + Arugula Beet Salad
  2. Best Damn Lentil Soup or Curry Lentil Soup (45 minutes)
  3. Best Chickpea Burgers (40 minutes)
  4. Make again! 1 or 2 favorite dinner ideas from Week 1 or 2
  5. Leftovers from above*

Meal Plan Prep Notes

  • Shrimp Marinara: If you’re using frozen shrimp, throw it in the refrigerator the night before. You can use purchased marinara sauce or make the Easy Marinara in advance. For the arugula salad, use store-bought boiled beets for easiest prep.
  • Lentil Soup: You could make the entire soup in advance and refrigerate: it saves well. (Leftovers also freeze well.) Or you could chop the veggies in advance to speed up prep.
  • Chickpea Burgers: These save well! Make the entire burger in advance and refrigerate or freeze until serving. Consider making a double batch. You can also make the shiitake bacon in advance. For gluten-free, serve without the bun or on a salad with tahini sauce drizzle.
Chickpea burgers
These Best Chickpea Burgers are super satisfying.

Healthy Dinner Ideas Week 4

*Pick at least 3 dinners to cook at home and copy them into your Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan spreadsheet on the days for Week 4! On days you’re not cooking, use up leftovers or do “clean out the fridge” meals, and allow for meals out.

  1. Lemon Dill Salmon (20 minutes) + BEST Steamed Broccoli
  2. Easy Chickpea Curry (20 minutes) + Basmati Rice
  3. Tuscan Soup with White Beans (30 minutes) + crusty bread
  4. Make again! 1 or 2 favorite dinner ideas from Week 1, 2 or 3
  5. Leftovers from above*

Meal Plan Prep Notes

  • Salmon: If using frozen salmon, make sure to refrigerate the night before. You can make the lemon dill sauce in advance and refrigerate. The broccoli comes together quickly and you can make it while the salmon bakes.
  • Curry: This one is quick to put together, but you could chop the veggies in advance and refrigerate. Make the Basmati Rice in advance. To reheat: place in a pan with a splash of water and simmer until it’s heated through and moist.
  • Tuscan Soup: This soup is pretty quick to whip up, but you could chop the vegetables in advance and refrigerate to save a few minutes on prep.
Easy Chickpea Curry
Easy Chickpea Curry is quick and full of flavor.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas Weeks 1-4

Here are lots of simple ideas for healthy Mediterranean diet breakfasts! Pick any of these to eat throughout the week and copy them into your Meal Plan spreadsheet. We’ve offered quite a bit of options to account for your breakfast tastes and style. Do repeats as much as you’d like!

PB&J oatmeal toppings
Best Oatmeal with peanut butter is a breakfast that sticks!

Healthy Snack Ideas Weeks 1-4

Pick any of these to eat throughout the week and copy them into your Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan spreadsheet.

Stuffed dates
Easy Stuffed Dates are a filling snack

Healthy Lunch Ideas Weeks 1-4

Lunches can be hard, especially if you’re eating at your desk! Again, our philosophy for lunches is: keep them very simple, without a recipe if possible. Pick any of these to eat throughout the week and copy them into your Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan spreadsheet.

Simple chickpea salad
Simple Chickpea Salad takes just 5 minutes and is perfect for desk lunches.

Did you like this Mediterranean diet meal plan?

We’d love to hear your feedback on this Mediterranean diet meal plan: let us know in the comments below (or click the heart below). And let us know if you have any questions!

For more recipes like these: try our cookbook, Pretty Simple Cooking!

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

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