The following post was written by Heinen’s partner Alex Miles.
Home to the some of the most popular destinations (i.e. Greece, Italy, France, Croatia, etc.), the Mediterranean region is known for many things. There’s rich history, beautiful art and architecture, picturesque beaches, and fascinating culture. In our humble opinion, Mediterranean foods are the biggest draw, enchanting people – and palates – from all over the world.
While a trip to Mediterranean islands and coastal towns is the best way to explore all of the delicious cuisine, the next best thing is to try them at home. That’s why we’re putting the spotlight on Mediterranean wines and foods all summer long. As our experts curate a selection of French, Italian and Greek wines, they also recommend a variety of delicious and nutritious foods to round out your Mediterranean-inspired experience.
Enjoying Mediterranean at Home
For decades, Mediterranean foods have been recommended by chefs and health experts. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Mediterranean diet as the best one to try in 2019, 2020, 2021 AND 2022. Longer lives, lower risks of heart disease or diabetes and healthier brains and bodies during aging are just a few of the benefits ascribed to this time-tested eating lifestyle.
Whether you’re looking to add more of these foods into your own daily diet or simply want to pair them alongside our excellent wines, we’ve rounded up a host of Mediterranean items to incorporate into your summer meal plans.
1.Terranean Herbs and Spices (Za’atar Pita Chips, Za’atar Condiment Spread and Za’atar Seasoning)
Launched by Lebanese-American Tina Chamoun, Terranean Herbs and Spices offers authentic, filler-free za’atar products similar to the ones that can be found in her parent’s hometown in Lebanon. Za’atar is packed with healthy ingredients such as sesame seeds, hymol (an essential oil), caravacrol, etc. and is also an excellent source of vitamins C, K and mineral iron.
A recent favorite of Heinen’s customers is the new freshly-made Za’atar Pita Chips. The perfect mix of salty and savory, these vegan pita chips are twice baked and tossed in a delicious Middle Eastern wild thyme blend. You can crunch into them alone or enjoy alongside other Mediterranean foods such as hummus or baba ghannoush. Another bestseller is the versatile Za-atar Condiment Spread, which can be rubbed onto meats and roasted veggies, spread onto your favorite pita bread or added to homemade dips for some tangy flavor.
2. Divina (Olives, Peppers and Spreads)
A brand that takes pride in being part of your most memorable meals, Divina delivers the foods that Mediterranean dreams are made of – olives, roasted peppers and tapenade. The company honors the centuries-old method, from Grove to Table™, that involves harvesting, sorting, curing and packaging their foods in ways that preserve authentic, bold flavors and clean ingredients.
Of the 20+ Divina products available at Heinen’s, we can’t get enough of their organic Roasted Red Peppers, which can be layered into a hearty lasagna or paired with goat cheese. The mouthwatering Divina Kalamata Spread is another crowd pleaser. This tapenade can be spooned over vegetables, scooped with some salty pita chips or mixed into healthy Greek yogurt.
Finally, we can’t forget about Divina Castelvetrano Olives – one of the world’s most sought-after olive varietals. Native to Sicily, these olives exude a beautiful, emerald-green color and sweet flavor, making them the perfect centerpiece for your Mediterranean cheese board or cocktail bar.
3. Esti (Hummus, Dips and Spreads)
If you love plant-based living, Esti vegan and gluten-free products need a prime spot in your fridge. The fresh spices and vegetables mixed into the brand’s hummus, dips, yogurts and spreads give you a taste of Greece from the comfort of your home.
If you’re hungry for a healthy snack, try any one of their hummus varieties, including Lemon, Caramelized Onion, Pesto and Roasted Garlic. We also love digging into their Tzatziki, a delicious cucumber dip originating from the Greek island of Crete, or their egg-plant based Baba Ghanoush.
4. Aladdin’s Pita Bread
A local Cleveland brand with restaurants as well as in-store products, Aladdin’s is committed to providing customers with authentic Mediterranean dining experiences that align with dietary preferences and requirements. And no Mediterranean lifestyle is complete without pita bread.
Aladdin’s serves up diverse pita bread options at Heinen’s stores. There’s Naan Pita Bread, which can be eaten alone or used to make healthy pizzas and sandwiches, Spinach Garlic & Pesto Wraps, Tomato Basil Wraps, Vegetable Flat Wraps and more. If you’re interested in even healthier pita bread options, you can wrap your meats or veggies around Aladdin’s Multi-Grain Flat Wraps, Mini Low Carb Wheat Wrap or 100% Whole Wheat Wraps. There’s no shortage of options – or deliciousness – when it comes to Aladdin’s pita breads.
5. Heinen’s Jarred Roasted Peppers
Our customers love Mediterranean-style roasted peppers so much that we’ve jarred our own. Grown and crafted in Italy without preservatives, artificial flavors or synthetic colors, our Roasted Peppers can be incorporated into pasta dishes, served on the side of meats and cheeses, and wrapped into freshly baked pita bread. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can enjoy them straight out of the jar! They’re simply irresistible.
6. Heinen’s Capers
If you’ve tried capers, you can attest that there’s nothing quite like them. These pea-sized buds, which come from Capparis spinosa plants grown in the Mediterranean region, offer a unique pickled and salty taste. Surprisingly, capers give you healthy nutrients, too, including copper, fiber and small amounts of protein.
Our tart, briny Organic Non-Pareil Capers can be added to any dish that calls for a salty flavor, such as seafood, meats or a pan sauce. With no artificial flavors, synthetic colors or artificial preservatives, they’re the best value on organic capers you’ll find anywhere. Some common Mediterranean recipes to add capers to include pasta puttanesca, tuna salad, baked salmon and chicken piccata.
7. Heinen’s Olive Oil
Loaded with healthy fats, vitamins and several antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, olive oil – especially extra virgin – may be the heart of the Mediterranean lifestyle. Not only does it offer several health benefits, but it adds rich flavor to almost every dish, Mediterranean or not.
Heinen’s Olive Oil, some of which is sourced directly from Greece and Italy, is free of preservatives, artificial flavors and synthetic colors. It can be drizzled on a yummy Greek salad, added to a pan for sautéed vegetables, stirred into pastas or dipped into for breads. Trust us when we say that no Mediterranean-inspired snack or dish is complete without this essential ingredient.