Welcome to Olive Tomato

If you want to be inspired to lead a happier, healthier lifestyle and learn more about the Real Mediterranean Diet and are looking for tried and trusted information, you’re at the right place. OliveTomato the most credible and trusted source for the Mediterranean Diet. Join me as I present the nutritional value of the Mediterranean Diet, provide recipes, guidance, cooking tips, the latest news and research, and easy ways to incorporate Greek and Mediterranean diet to your lifestyle.


The Mediterranean diet was virtually unknown in the U.S. a few decades ago and today it has become one of the most popular diets worldwide. Mediterranean diet experts and books are popping up everywhere with many descriptions and recipes that resembled very little to the food my mother, aunts and grandmothers cooked in Greece. There was and is plenty of misinformation about the diet.

Don’t settle for generic advice, get the information about the Mediterranean Diet from those who know.

As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with 20 years experience, writer and mother of two, of Greek heritage, I have more than just a professional interest in the Mediterranean Diet, its preservation and promotion. As a Greek, I have been following the Mediterranean Diet my whole life, and have firsthand experience. However, having spent half my life in the U.S., I am proof that you can follow this diet from anywhere in the world.

With that in mind, I felt that it was time to clear up misconceptions and misunderstandings that have been circulating for years. Here I provide true, easy to follow information and make the diet relevant today and applicable to the modern way of life without sacrificing its true nature.

What you can expect from me is:

  • Authentic Greek and Mediterranean recipes, not westernized versions 
  • Mediterranean lifestyle advice based on lifelong experiences
  • Nutritionist approved recipes that follow the principles of the Mediterranean Diet
  • Credible and scientifically sound information about the Mediterranean diet 
  • Guidance on how to follow a real Mediterranean diet based on the prototype of the Mediterranean Diet



“Thank you so much for making my family healthier! Thank you so much for making simple greek food so accessible! You are doing a truly important work by giving people the culinary tools they need to become healthier. You accompanied a profound change in my lifestyle and for this, you have all my gratitude. In a way, you have become a part of my family: when I talk about Elena, my wife knows it is you I am refering to.” -SL
“I adore your recipes and website. I have so many favorites… You have been such an important presence in my life since my family cholesterol gene kicked in two years ago and I delved into real Mediterranean cooking.” -C
“Thank you for your marvelous website. Using your basic advice, I have completely changed our way of eating at home. I find your approach so do-able..not heaps of complicated recipes just a sort of lifestyle template to follow.” -GD
“Our doctor suggested keeping it simple and to switch to a Mediterranean diet. He ended up having a triple heart bypass last August but his amazing recovery was due to the fact he had lost 60 pounds in the 8 months leading to his operation simply by following the Mediterranean diet and your manifesto which was placed on our fridge.” -KB
“I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog and how informative it has been for me. I have tried a lot of eating plans, but this is by far the best.  I have lost 25 pounds and never feel deprived.  It is also very easy to eat on this plan even if your are on a budget.” -CS




My story starts off in a Chicago suburb, where my mom would spend hours on end in the kitchen cooking Greek and only Greek food. At school while the other kids had bologna and cheese sandwiches, we had pastichio (a Greek type of lasagna), she never made toll house chocolate chip cookies like my best friends mom, instead we had to eat melomakarona, Greek honey and walnut cookies. And when our mother did decide to cook an American recipe, she’d always manage to sneak in that ubiquitous “Greek element”, hamburger patties with a sprinkle of oregano and lemon, cookies with olive oil… you get the picture. Thanks to mom, I basically was raised on the Mediterranean Diet even though we lived so far away from Greece, that was at the heart of this healthy way of eating.

As a child my life included yearly 3 month trips to Greece where I spent time with my grandparents, relatives and friends experiencing the Greek lifestyle and the Greek diet at it natural environment. When I was 11 I moved to Greece, and even then (the 80’s), most Greeks were eating meals with seasonal produce, a little bit of meat, and children were not eating junk food with the exception of an occasional ice cream in the summer. Returning back to the U.S. I started my studies in nutrition.



Elena Paravantes olive oil

Elena Paravantes is an award winning Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist and Writer specializing in the Mediterranean Diet. She has been active in the field of food and nutrition for 20 years as a clinical dietitian, food and nutrition consultant, writer, teacher and lecturer, both in the U.S. and in Greece. Elena firmly believes in the wide-ranging health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and is committed to educating the public about the wholesome food plan she grew up with through her writing, teaching and lecturing.

Elena developed the Food and Nutrition sections for the Greek editions of Men’s Health and Prevention as Food & Nutrition Editor, establishing them with her work for over 8 years. She is a former professor of nutrition at the American College of Greece and the Health Editor for Olive Oil Times. Elena provides consulting services on the

Presenting at the Mediterranean Roundtable in New York City

Greek/Mediterranean diet and food for companies, writes for several U.S. and Greek media outlets and blogs for Huffington Post. Her interviews and articles have been published in many publications including CNNPrevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, US News and World Report, Shape, Fitness, Parade, Chowhound, Salon, Oldways, Fox News, Today’s Dietitian, Food and Nutrition Magazine and NPR. As well as Greek publications such as Vima, Eleftherotypia, Vimagazino, VimaGourmet, Athinorama, Iatronet and Madame Figaro. She is the lead author of the chapter on Greek Culture for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics publication Cultural Competency for Nutrition Professionals

Elena has collaborated with a number of organizations including Loyola University, Yale University, University of Missouri, University, Louisiana State University, American College of Greece, Pierce College, Aramark, Mediterranean Diet Roundtable, American University of Madaba-Jordan, Celestyal Cruises, Lambraki Research Foundation.

Presenting at Yale University with Charalampos Economou, Debbie Humphries and Tassos Kyriakides

An active member in the international nutrition community, Elena is a former President of the American Overseas Dietetic Association, and has been on the Board of Directors for over 4 years. She is the official representative of the American Dietetic Association in Greece. She is a member of the Hellenic Dietetic Associations, the Union of Nutritionists and Dietitians of Greece and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (former American Dietetic Association), The International Association of Culinary Professionals, Food and Culinary Professionals Practice group and Slow Food International. She has been awarded the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year award and Recognized Country Representative of the Year award by the American Overseas Dietetic Association. Elena is the former Greek delegate for the European Federation of the Association of Dietitians (EFAD), and Media Representative for the American Overseas Dietetic Association.

Elena earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics and her Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a Registered Dietitian by the U.S. Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)

Elena lives with her husband and her two sons, and divides her time between Chicago and Athens.

To view her complete CV visit here.

I invite you to try my tips and recipes, read the articles and stories, stay up to date on the science behind the Mediterranean Diet, and of course, leave comments and suggestions.


Copyright Policy

© Olive Tomato and Elena Paravantes. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  • Reply Averil March 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Hi Elena,
    I love the site and all your recipes so far have been an absolute hit.

    I would love to learn how to make rusks (it is not an easy recipe to find online), they are not something I can easily find to buy either online or in the shops. Also would be extremely interested in learning more about Lent and fasting the traditional Greek way.

    Thank you so much for the wonderful resources that you provide. It is a privilege to have access to this quality information.

  • Reply Eleni Zabeli February 5, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    because the “new” Greeks try to adopt the American diet and all the junk food instead to eat the Mediterranean diet

  • Reply Bianca December 2, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Hi Elana,

    I have love your recipes, they are so easy to do, tasty and healthy. Do you think you would ever do an e-book or cookbook with all your recipes in? It would be great to have a hard copy to cook from and I am sure it would sell really well.

  • Reply Jaio November 6, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Qui se ressemble s’assemble say french people (Those who are similar they are well together:-) Thank you for sharing your recipes. It’s very well done with pictures and “lyrics”:-) Is time to remove bad habits and go back to natural food. I think that the ideal way to survive in the future will be to have a garden and to grow everything we can. GMOs are coming everywhere and big Pharma corruption will be difficult to avoid. Last year, European commission publish on the same day an astonishing declaration saying that Cinnamon can be dangerous and Aspartame is without danger!
    Greetings from an Italian in Spain:-)

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN November 19, 2016 at 7:30 am

      Thanks Jaio, Wish we could all have a garden and grow everything we need

  • Reply Renee Beam October 3, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Elena,
    We are about to wrap up our 6th season sailing around the Greek Islands. Your blog has become my go to reference for recipes. I would really like to know where I can get a copy of your Mediterranean Manifesto Poster for my kitchen in Auckland New Zealand. It is brilliant and I want to be reminded of our Greek practices every day. Thanks Renee

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN October 7, 2016 at 5:54 am

      Hi Renee,

      Thank you for sharing! We are in the process of getting the poster ready for ordering. I’ll be announcing soon.

  • Reply Jeff September 7, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Do you have a cookbook and if so where can I get it. Thank you, Jeff.

  • Reply phillip vasels July 31, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Hello Elena
    I too am a Greek from Chicago, which is life defining. I love your site and wisdom. στην Ελλάδα!

  • Reply Judy Matusky July 28, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Love your website! Stumbled upon it looking for a recipe for Dakos salad we had in Crete. I’m also a registered dietitian so I love your tips. I would like to link to your website via my cooking blog. I think my readers would find your information helpful.

  • Reply Ishkarah May 31, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Hello Elena,
    Where might I find the “greek food pyramid” and a place to get started?

  • Reply Anne Niesenbaum December 31, 2015 at 12:31 am

    Your recipe for Briami says to make it in a pot, then describes baking it in a pan. Which do you recommend?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN December 31, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Anne, In the post I mention that it can also be cooked in a pot but the recipe posted here is for roasted Briami as can be seen n the directions. Stewing in a pot requires a different technique.

  • Reply Christella Leventis December 21, 2015 at 5:25 am

    Hi Elena,
    I love all your recipes.. They are healthy and delicious..
    I was wondering if you have a recipe for greek cabbage rolls.. I know is a common dish around this time of the year.. I would love to make them for my family this year.

  • Reply Ioannis September 23, 2015 at 12:51 am

    Elena, you are championing Med Diet and in particular the Greek Diet and for this I personally thank you. Hopefully our new generation will embrace a healthy,tasty and well balanced culinary experience…Perhaps some Traditional Cretan recipe’s from you soon???

  • Reply Trine Ekenes August 7, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Is it free to subskribe???

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN August 7, 2015 at 8:47 am

      Hi Trine. Yes, it is free. Just add your email under subscribe. You will receive an email to confirm your subscription.

  • Reply Cathy July 6, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Trying to activate my subscription but it is not clickable.

  • Reply Nancy May 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Hello, Do you have a recipe for a bean dish called Fasolia (not sure if I am spelling that correctly). It has beans, onions, tomatoes and spices. Thank you.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN May 16, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Hi Nancy,
      Yes, there are several bean recipes on the blog.Just search “beans” and several will come up.

    1 2 3 4 8

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.