When we think about Mediterranean food we think of fresh ingredients from vegetables to seafood, olive oil, legumes, and whole grains that create colorful dishes packed with bold flavors.

Twenty countries make up the Mediterranean from the stunning and romantic Greek islands to the dry regions of northern Africa like Morroco and Egypt. All of these nations have created Mediterranean dishes that are unique, but all share some of the same fresh and crave-worthy ingredients grown in the Mediterranean area.

The Mediterranean is known to have some of the world's healthiest cuisines including delightful salads made with olives, tomatoes and feta, light dips and spreads like hummus and tabouli, and seafood dishes like Spain's authentic paella and fresh-caught octopus.

Here we've listed 10 delicious examples of Mediterranean foods that will make your mouth water.

10 Spanakopita Is A Delicious Greek Pie You'll Want To Learn How To Make Back Home

Spanakopita or "spinach pie" is an authentic Greek pastry made of crispy and flakey layers of phyllo dough that is filled with spinach and feta cheese. It is a comforting meal and has been eaten by the Greeks since ancient times. You can find many Greek restaurants (even some with a view!) serving up spinach pie as a starter, but people can't get enough of it!

9 You Can't Go Wrong With Authentic Italian Pizza

While travelers can find pizza everywhere in Italy, two cities that are famous for it are Rome and Naples. Roman pizza tends to be thin and crispy, while Neapolitan pizza is thicker and heavier. Either way, getting a chance to take a bite out of authentic pizza straight from Italy would be on any traveler's bucket list.

8 Hummus Is The Perfect Appetizer

Hummus is extremely popular in the Middle East and the Mediterranean with countries like Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria making their own variations of it. You can find so many types of hummus at the grocery store, but these store-bought versions are not quite the same as making it at home, usually using canola oil and not olive oil. Try making this simple dip at home with olive oil and see the difference.

7 For A Taste Of Spain, Try A Vibrant Dish Of Paella

Paella is a traditional rice dish from Spain that is packed with flavor. Cooked in a Paella pan, you'll find fresh seafood including shrimp and mussels, Spanish saffron, and Spanish round rice in one dish that is simply delicious. There are many variations of this dish if you aren't a fan of seafood, too.

6 A Greek Gyro Will Have You Drooling

Greek gyros are mouth-watering, made with warm pita bread and filled with gyro meat, like pork, lamb or chicken, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and topped with a tasty lemon-garlic Tzatziki sauce. Some gyros are even finished with french fries for an extra delight!

5 Dare Yourself To Try A Refreshing Octopus Salad

Nations that are near the Mediterranean Sea are lucky to have some of the best and freshest seafood in the world. Eating octopus is common in Mediterranean nations like Greece and Croatia where the octopus is simply grilled and topped with lemon juice or added in a salad. So the next time you find yourself in these nations, take a plunge and try some fresh octopus!

4 Spiced Moroccan Meatballs (Kefta Tagine) Is A Mediterranean Favorite

This Moroccan comfort dish is made with savory spiced ground meat served as meatballs as small as cherries or marbles with tomato sauce and served with fresh bread. This dish is usually cooked in a traditional clay or ceramic tagine where the ingredients are cooked low and slow and you end up with a dish that is jam-packed with flavor.

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3 Avgolemono Soup Is A Comforting Meal

Avgolemono soup is a hearty dish that feels comforting and homey, but it is no ordinary chicken soup. This Greek dish is a broth thickened with an egg and lemon mixture with shredded chicken, rice, and vegetables. It is a terrific remedy if you have a cold or are feeling under the weather.

Related: Travelers In Europe Always Forget These Underrated Countries (But They Shouldn't)

2 Ratatouille Is A Classic French Stew

Ratatouille is a famous French dish made up of stewed vegetables that originated in Nice, France. The dish is usually served with fish, but on its own, it is filling and thick, made up of eggplant, zucchini, sweet peppers, and ripe summer tomatoes. This colorful dish can take some time to make, but the results are well worth it.

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1 If You're Looking For A Hearty And Healthy Meal, Go For A Falafel

Falelfel's originated in Egypt and is deep-fried balls or patties made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Herbs and spices are added to the chickpeas to create a delicious flavor that's loved in the Mediterranean. This dish is a great option if you're looking for a vegan meal.

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