Farmersgirl Kitchen

The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook

Greek Cypriot Greengrocer's Salad from The Ultimate Mediterranean Salad Cookbook

The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Amy Riolo is not so much a diet cook book as a way of life, unleashing the power of one of the world’s healthiest diets. It integrates the latest research and clinical findings with 100 delicious, authentic, easy recipes and Mediterranean lifestyle tips while dispelling any myths and misinformation. Gluten free variations of recipes are also included.

About the Author
AMY RIOLO is an award-winning author, chef, television personality, cuisine and culture expertand educator. She is a Culinary Advisor for The Mediterranean Food Alliance and her work hasappeared in numerous print media including USA Today, Cooking Light, The Washington Post, TheWall Street Journal and Amy’s most recent book, The Mediterranean DiabetesCookbook, won the 2011 Nautilus Book Award. She also won the World Gourmand Award for
“Best Arab Cuisine Book” in the United States for her book Nile Style: Egyptian Cuisine and Culture(Hippocrene Books). She is also the author of a noted culinary/cultural blog

The Review
Introduction and Welcome to the Mediterranean Diet
As I said this isn’t just a recipe book, Amy Riolo gives a comprehensive introduction to the principles of the Mediterranean diet. with the science behind the diet and how the lifestyle is as important as the actual food. Using the Mediterranean Pyramid as a guide, Amy gets to the core of the Mediterranean lifestyle, and explains what is eaten, when to eat it, and why. Each recipe in The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook contains a cultural tip from the Mediterranean region.
Fun historical facts, legend, and lore, as well as nutritional information accompany each recipe.

Each recipe chapter begins with a useful introductory essay on the appropriate foodstuffs. Here are a few of my favourite recipes by chapter:

Plant Based Foods – the foundation of the Mediterranean diet
Wholegrains: Gooey Mediterranean-Style Cornbread which contains sundried tomatoes and mozzarella; North African Spice-Dusted Sweet Potatoes; Libyan Lamb Couscous and Turkish Eggplant and Herbed Rice Pilaf.
Fruits: Apricot and Orange Blossom Pudding with Pistachios; Roasted Plums with Basil-Yogurt Cream.
Vegetables: Quick Italian Pickles; Provencal Bistro Carrot Salad; Lebanese Fattoush
Legumes and Nuts: Herb Infused Falafel Pomegranate, Roasted Red Pepper, and Walnut Dip and Moroccan Harira Soup
Olive Oil: Kale and Almond Pesto Sauce, Olive Oil cured Eggplant; Provencal Herb Tapenade and Sweet Olive Oil, Cherry and Almond Cake

Fish and Seafood – the bounty of the Mediterranean sea
Sicilian Swordfish Bundles; Citrus Marinated Salmon with Fennel Cream and Sizzling Rosemary Shrimp over Polenta.

Dairy and Poultry – Farm fresh flavors
Dairy: Herb Marinated Mozzarella, Cypriot Greengrocer’s Salad with Feta (see recipe below);
Poultry: Chicken Skillet-Style Shwarma with Tahini Sauce; Jerusalem-Style Chicken with Rice, Golden Raisins, and Pine Nuts.

Meat and Sweets – Mediterranean Indulgences
Southern Italian Goat and Herb Stew; Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb and Corsican-Style, Almond-Stuffed Figs in Chocolate Sauce, Sweet Carrot and Cardamom Torte.

Mediterranean Cooking Basics covers everything you need to know about how to choose and cook the staples of the Mediterranean diet such as beans, polenta and stock.

The Mediterranean Pantry is an alphabetical list of ingredients used in the book with information about what it is, where it comes from and how it is used in cooking.

Who is it for? This is an ideal book for anyone who wants to eat a healthy diet and is looking for information and recipes to help them achieve and sustain a healthful way of life.  It’s also for anyone who loves good food, never mind whether it’s healthy, as there are lots of really mouthwatering recipes.

Lots of good healthy recipes, plenty for vegetarians and vegans too.  I loved the comprehensive introductory chapter information and the Mediterranean Traditions with each recipe.

The only thing I would say is that the book doesn’t stay open very well, so you need a book stand or have to bend back the spine, which would break it (I simply can’t bear to do that!).

The Verdict
This would be a useful book to have in your collection if you would like to understand more about eating well.  The recipes are easily achievable, although I have to say that they are more attractive to eat in the summer when we have a chance of at least some more Mediterranean weather, than in the cold days of winter when comfort food is more attractive.

The Recipe

serves 6

1 head Romaine lettuce, washed, dried and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 baby (Persian) cucumber, or 1/3 English cucumber, slice thinly on the diagonal
1/4 lb (115g) feta, cubed or crumbled
1/4 cup Greek Olives, pitted
1 yellow onion, sliced into rings
1 small green bell pepper, cut into rings
3 tablespoons (45ml) red wine vinegar or lemon juice
unrefined sea salt or salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil (preferably unfiltered)

Place the lettuce in a large salad bowl.  add the tomatoes and cucumber, and toss to combine.
Scatter the feta, olives, onion and pepper over the top in an attractive pattern.  Pour wine vinegar or lemon juice into a small bowl.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking vigorously.  Once the dressing is emulsified, pour it over the salad and serve immediately.

The Ultimate Mediterranean  Diet Cookbook
by Amy Riolo
Published by Fair Winds Press
RRP £14.99 Paperback

I have one copy of The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook to GIVEAWAY – CLOSED

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  1. Steph
    August 1, 2015

    I would love to visit Sicily and eat all their food

    • JaniceFGK100
      August 2, 2015

      I haven't been there Steph, but would love to go too.

  2. Deon
    August 1, 2015

    Great review as ever Janice. Very informative- not sure about the kale pesto tho? Seems more American than Mediterranean to me! I totally agree that it's easier to follow such a diet in the summer when most of the ingredients are available as opposed to the depths of winter when you want a slow cooked meal.

    • JaniceFGK100
      August 2, 2015

      Thanks Deon, I see Amy has replied to you below. I was not all that struck with kale, and had only had it in broth, but some of the newer cultivars are not as tough or so strong tasting and really very good!

  3. Nayna Kanabar
    August 2, 2015

    I like the sound that this book has lots of vegetarian and vegan recipes. Nice review/

    • JaniceFGK100
      August 2, 2015

      Thanks Nayna, there are a high proportion of vegetarian and vegan recipes, plant foods are top of the Mediterranean Diet food chain.

  4. Tracey Peach
    August 2, 2015

    I don't fancy going abroad but I would love to cook more Mediterranean dishes xxx

  5. sallyc06
    August 2, 2015

    Italy,such friendly people and they love their food, just like me!!

  6. Mark Davies
    August 2, 2015

    Wow – so many wonderful countries, hope to goto Greece soon!

    • JaniceFGK100
      August 2, 2015

      I've never been to Greece, Mark but love their food

  7. Kirsti Peters
    August 2, 2015

    Italy as it's array of regional cuisines are vast.

  8. Anonymous
    August 2, 2015

    I would love to try Croatia

    • JaniceFGK100
      August 2, 2015

      One of my son's went there this year, he loved it.

  9. Tracy K Nixon
    August 2, 2015

    Italy – I have never been and love Italian food!

    • JaniceFGK100
      August 2, 2015

      I've managed to go twice Tracy and have not been disappointed

  10. Amy Riolo
    August 2, 2015

    Thank you all for the kind comments and for your great review, Janet! It is true that the Kale Pesto recipe is not traditional nor the original basil pesto recipe (which I have used in other books and videos), I felt that it was important to include because it is an easy, delicious, nutritional power house of a recipe that people can make when they want to boost their vitamin intake and basil is no longer in season. Enjoy with pleasure and health, and happy Sunday to all!

    • JaniceFGK100
      August 2, 2015

      Thank you for commenting Amy, it's really appreciated. As you can see there is lots of interest in your eating plan and the healthy recipes.

  11. Darrell Perry
    August 2, 2015

    All my friends are returning from the Greek isles, so i will have to say there 🙂

    • JaniceFGK100
      August 2, 2015

      I'm sure your friends will have some tips for you to get the best from Greek food.

  12. maxineflossy
    August 2, 2015

    I've never got round to going to Spain – I really want to visit Barcelona (and eat lots of tapas!)

    • JaniceFGK100
      August 2, 2015

      Oh that sounds good, love tapas

  13. Kate | The Veg Space
    August 2, 2015

    Great review – looks like an excellent book and that's a lovely recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Kim Neville
    August 2, 2015

    Italy as italian food is my favourite

  15. Kaci Soderstrom
    August 2, 2015

    Hmm.. I wouldn't want to go abroad, but the recipes look good!

  16. Deb Harris
    August 3, 2015

    I would love to go to Italy. The country is so beautiful & the food is wonderful. Thanks for such a great giveaway.

  17. Ruth Harwood
    August 3, 2015

    Malta – my parents have just been and it's lovely 🙂

  18. Isis1981uk
    August 3, 2015

    Italy, I've never been there & there's so much history!

  19. Kathryn MacKinnon
    August 3, 2015

    Italy. I've been three times but never as a gluten free eater. They are way ahead when it comes to gluten free pasta etc so I'd love that!

  20. Paula Readings
    August 3, 2015

    Italy for me.

  21. Heidi Roberts
    August 3, 2015

    I love this book too, just got a copy to review too.

  22. Karen Walder
    August 3, 2015

    I would really like to visit Italy…..hopefully that will happen next year!

  23. chromiumman
    August 6, 2015

    Greece, as I've never been before

  24. Jan
    August 6, 2015

    Greece, Croatia, Morocco, Lebanon, Israel, Libya, Cyprus…can I leave today?

  25. Helen Adams
    August 9, 2015

    Italy, especially the Tuscany area

  26. mummy24
    August 9, 2015

    Definitely Italy!


  27. jane davis
    August 9, 2015

    Greece because the food there always looks yummy

  28. ben
    August 9, 2015


  29. wjanice121
    August 9, 2015

    Rome, the City of love

  30. Sharon Hopkinson
    August 9, 2015


  31. Anna Gleave
    August 9, 2015

    Italy and Venice in partiular – beautiful place

  32. Richard Randall
    August 9, 2015

    I've not been to Morocco and would love to try their food.

  33. Anonymous
    August 9, 2015

    I'd love to visit Italy, especially Rome

  34. Louise A
    August 9, 2015


  35. Anonymous
    August 9, 2015

    without a doubt italy

  36. Sarah Hunt
    August 9, 2015

    I would like to go to Greece as I love Greek food!

  37. Ms Gilly Clara
    August 9, 2015

    I would love to go to Italy – especially their lakes.

  38. Alex Cracknell
    August 9, 2015

    Italy, I'd love to visit Naples and Venice and enjoy the history and great food!

  39. Fiona Mallard
    August 9, 2015

    I'd love to visit Italy, I've been to most of the others

  40. Stacey Carnell
    August 9, 2015

    I have always wanted to go to Italy! Hoping to go next year <3

  41. Emily Knight
    August 9, 2015

    I'd love to go back to Turkey – have only visited certain coastal areas, and I'd love to see Istanbul!

  42. kj19
    August 9, 2015

    Italy.. I been before would love to go back

  43. weir shane
    August 9, 2015

    I would love to visit sweden and taste their cusisines – leanne w

  44. caroline walliss
    August 9, 2015

    Croatia seems like an amazing place and we are going this month.x

  45. Caroline
    August 9, 2015

    We eat lots of Mediterranean food and love it, I've been lucky enough to visit a few but would love to go to Corsica. Corsica belongs to France so it sounds a bit odd that the Mediterranean country I'd love to visit would be France!

  46. Kat Lucas
    August 10, 2015

    I have always wanted to go to Italy

  47. Milly Youngman
    August 10, 2015

    I'd love to go to Italy – Rome in particular – and I'd make sure I didn't spend the whole time just eating pizza!!

  48. Linda
    August 14, 2015


  49. Julie M
    August 15, 2015

    I would love to travel Italy and try all the cuisine and wine of course 🙂

  50. Beth Gurney
    August 16, 2015

    Greece or Italy!
    Elizabeth Gurney x

  51. Dani Claydon
    August 17, 2015

    Definitely Italy, never had the chance to visit!

  52. Tammy Tudor
    August 18, 2015

    It has to be beautiful Italy

  53. Kelly Smith
    August 23, 2015

    Italy, it's always been my dream to go!

  54. Alison
    August 25, 2015

    I want to go back to Italy

  55. Anonymous
    August 25, 2015


  56. Katie Witherington
    August 25, 2015

    Italy, spent time living in Rome but never got to explore the country as much as I would have liked to, would love to go back and travel around the South of the Country

  57. Becky Evans
    August 25, 2015

    Greece, my husband has been and he says its beautiful, I would love to go one day!

  58. Anda
    August 26, 2015

    Italy, it's been on my bucket list for years.

  59. Anonymous
    August 26, 2015

    I would love to return to Greece.As a vegetarian I loved the abundance and flavours of all the meat-free dishes.

  60. Diana S
    August 26, 2015

    Would love to visit Italy 🙂

  61. Daniel Todd
    August 26, 2015

    Amazing prize I would love to visit Italy for the food

  62. sassyesque
    August 26, 2015

    It would need to be Italy.

  63. sheridarby
    August 26, 2015

    Greece and some of the Greek islands

  64. Jade H
    August 27, 2015

    I'd like to visit Greece

  65. Jason Nutt
    August 27, 2015

    I would like to visit cyprus

  66. Victoria Prince
    August 27, 2015

    I'd love to visit Gibraltar, mostly for the flora and fauna 🙂

  67. Natalie Crossan
    August 27, 2015

    I'd love to visit Italy, I love Italian hospitality and especially the food x

  68. Susan
    August 27, 2015

    I'd love to visit Italy

  69. Kiran Parry
    August 27, 2015

    I would like to visit Italy

  70. Mrs Broomfield
    August 28, 2015

    I love Italy and Spain having visited both, but I'd love to go to Greece – all that feta cheese and stuffed vine leaves! Mmmm

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