Previous studies have reported an association between a more pro-inflammatory diet profile and various chronic metabolic diseases. The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) was used to assess the inflammatory potential of nutrients and foods in the context of a dietary pattern. We prospectively examined the association between the DII and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD: myocardial infarction, stroke or cardiovascular death) in the PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) study including 7216 high-risk participants. The DII was computed based on a validated 137-item food frequency questionnaire. Multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals of CVD risk were computed across quartiles of the DII where the lowest (most anti-inflammatory) quartile is the referent. Risk increased across the quartiles (i.e., with increasing inflammatory potential): HR(quartile2) = 1.42 (95%CI = 0.97-2.09); HR(quartile3) = 1.85 (1.27-2.71); and HR(quartile4) = 1.73 (1.15-2.60). When fit as continuous the multiple-adjusted hazard ratio for each additional standard deviation of the DII was 1.22 (1.06-1.40). Our results provide direct prospective evidence that a pro-inflammatory diet is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular clinical events.