21 Day Mediterranean Diet Challenge Day #12

*For those who are new here, please note that you can click here and check the previous days. Also, this challenge is not a strict diet plan but a series of mini-challenges to establish healthy Mediterranean diet habits. I do include links and suggestions for recipes, if you want a menu plan you can go here for a 5-day mix and match plan. For a longer comprehensive 14-day plan along with 100 recipes you can consider my new book.

Hello everybody!! It’s Friday and almost the end of week 2 of our challenge. Today I want to focus on herbs. I find they are a bit overlooked in terms of health benefits, but they are in fact an important aspect of the Mediterranean diet.

Drinking Herbs

Herbs are used in cooking, but drinking them is a significant part of the Mediterranean Diet. This is an age-old practice which studies have shown can contribute to the longevity seen in these areas. Analysis of these herbal teas shows that they are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial  properties. The  key here is that herbal tea is consumed every day not only when you are feeling under the weather. These teas also offer relief from coughs, sore throat, stomach aches and also count towards your hydration needs.

They are consumed usually twice a day. I suggest midmorning and afternoon or evening. I  generally consume them plain without sweeteners, and sometimes with a bit of honey when I have a sore throat.

Mediterranean Herbal Teas

  • Mountain  Tea (also known as sideritis or ironwart)
  • Chamomile
  • Linden
  • Sage
  • Oregano

Cooking with herbs

Herbs are everywhere in the Mediterranean diet and are used generously! They are  added in meat dishes, vegetables, dips, soups and of course salads. They are a source of antioxidants and when combined with other ingredients such as olive oil, legumes and vegetables there is a nutritional interaction that increases their antioxidant activity even more.

Mediterranean Herbs for Cooking

  • Parsley: Very versatile, can be added almost everywhere; in stews,  meats, soups, pasta and grains
  • Basil: A key ingredient in pasta sauce, pairs  perfectly with tomatoes, used for pesto, in salads, as a topping on toasts and pizza. Can accompany lemonade and watermelon.
  • Oregano (Dry): One of the most popular herbs, pairs well with olive oil, lemon, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken, red meats.
  • Mint: Used in almost all ground meat recipes and in savory pies. Pairs well with feta.
  • Dill: Pairs well with yogurt (used in tzatziki), savory pies filled with greens- pites, spinach, lemon, lettuce and seafood.

Make a conscious  effort to include more  herbs in your diet.  Here are a few recipes that showcase herbs.

Today’s Challenge: Drink 2 Herbal Teas

Herbal Mediterranean Recipes

Zucchini Patties with Feta and Herbs

Greek zucchini patties with feta

These unbelievable delicious traditional Greek zucchini patties are made with plenty of herbs and feta and are so easy to make.

Cool Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

Cucumber salad with tzatziki

This is the easiest and most refreshing cucumber salad you will ever make. A tzatziki style dressing gives it that extra punch.

Quick and Easy Stuffed Mushrooms

Greek style stuffed mushrooms

Juicy stuffed mushrooms with a herbal, crunchy, mediterranean inspired filling.

Greek Island Parsley-Garlic Dip

This super-easy, flavorful parsley recipe is perfect as a dip or as a sauce for pasta and meat.

Greek Style Herb Roasted Olives

roasted olives

Get a burst of olive flavor with these simple- to- make appetizers.

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  • Reply Mila November 10, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    How many cups and of what size would you say is okay? I’ve read you shouldn’t drink more than 3 because of the tannins, but I like tea so much. I love you site! I’m working through the recipes with my husband and they are excellent! The switch to olive oil as our only fat has been fantastic. Thank you for everything you do!

  • Reply Helene January 17, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    Where can I purchase these teas?

  • Reply Alison January 16, 2021 at 9:32 am

    In the pictures I see full herbs, rather than tea bags. Is that best? Is herbal tea in a bag just as useful? Also, can you describe the taste of linden and mountain tea? I am completely unfamiliar with those.
    Loving your website and cooking my way through your book! Thank you!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN January 16, 2021 at 1:55 pm

      Thank you Alison! Full herbs are better as they are not in powder form, which provides a higher quality flavor. Mountain tea has an earthy/flowery mild flavor while linden has a light floral aroma.

  • Reply Joanna January 15, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    I love Mountain herb tea – and order it special to jeep it in stock at home. Have you ever made tea with Olive leaves? I do this as well- its quite yummy- no sweetener used. I often mix the two, plus recently added some Linden and Sage to the mix because of covid and respiratory issues. Linden always helps my husband’s bronchial infections.

    Enjoying this challenge- thanks!

  • Reply Karen C Appleberry January 15, 2021 at 5:04 pm


    Would you comment, please, on the type of mint used for Greek recipes? It usually just says “mint,” but peppermint and spearmint, to me, taste significantly different. What kind is most often used in Greece? Does it really matter? Thank you!


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