Greek food recipes

Greek food is known the world over as some of the healthiest and most delicious there is.

Most of the dishes are quite simple and made from love and passion rather than complicated techniques using fancy equipment. The ingredients are generally locally grown and made and fresh in-season with little imported, frozen or processed content.

We’ve put together a round up of some of the most popular Greek dishes found in the tavernas of Greece as well as a continual selection of recipes for you to try at home.

Enjoy and Kali Orexi!

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Recipes

cheese and spinach pie
Yield: 8 pieces

Spanakopita ( Cheese and Spinach Pie)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

In Greece, many people still make their own Filo pastry from flour, salt, water, and olive oil but there are very good commercially produced packets readily available in supermarkets and that is what is used in this recipe.

It is common to find a whole pie cut up into pieces, small individual wrapped triangular ( or rectangle) pies, or a circular pie made up of one long rolled casing. In this recipe, we do the standard whole pie.

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo chopped spinach
  • 4 sliced leeks
  • 10 Springs Onions sliced
  • 1 bunch finely chopped dill
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped spearmint or mint
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 350 grams crumbled or grated Feta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp cooked rice
  • 1 packet filo pastry
  • salt
  • pepper
  • nutmeg

Instructions

  1. clean, wash and chop the spinach
  2. boil the leeks and spring onions in salted boiling water for 5 minutes
  3. drain well
  4. heat the oil and saute the onions and leeks
  5. add the spinach, dill, mint, cheese, rice, and eggs and mix well over heat for 2 minutes
  6. place one layer of pastry in a pie dish or on a baking tray
  7. spread the filling across
  8. cover with another layer of pastry
  9. brush with oil and scour serving pieces in the pastry - this makes it easier to cut and gets rid of the steam when cooking
  10. bake for about an hour at 200 degrees

Notes

an egg wash can be used to brush the pastry instead of oil

some versions of Spanikopita have a variety of local cheeses added including goats cheese and Pecorino

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 417mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 10g
Yemista (Stuffed peppers and tomatoes)
Yield: 4-6

Yemista (Stuffed peppers and tomatoes)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A classic dish using summer vegetables stuffed with a rice mixture and baked in the oven. Usually made with tomatoes and peppers ( capsicum) but also eggplant and zucchini. Leave the meat out for a perfect vegetarian/vegan option.

Usually served at room temperature rather than straight out of the oven and even better the day after they are made.

Ingredients

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 4 large red peppers ( with flat bottoms preferably)
  • 1/2 cup lean mince
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice or cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 potatoes cut in wedges
  • 1/3 cup toasted breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Cut the tops off the peppers and tomatoes about 1-2 cms from the top
  3. remove the pulp from the tomatoes and peppers
  4. chop the onion
  5. finely chop the garlic and saute with onion in a pan
  6. add the mince and brown off
  7. add the pulp from the tomatoes and the other herbs and spices
  8. add the tomato paste
  9. fill the vegetables with the mixture and replace the tops
  10. surround the vegetables with the potato wedges
  11. drizzle generously with oil
  12. finish with salt and pepper and sprinkle with breadcrumbs
  13. bake in the oven for 1 hour

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 527Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 209mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 10gSugar: 15gProtein: 17g
Souzoukakia (Greek Meatballs)
Yield: feeds 6

Souzoukakia (Greek Meatballs)

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Delicious meatballs in a rich tomatoe sauce, originally from Smyrna ( now Izmir) in Turkey, hence the inclusion of Cumin.

I don't worry too much about measurements with this recipe. Add or leave extra herbs and spices enjoy with chips/fries, flatbread or John's favourite, Risoni pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo ground mince ( beef, pork or a combination)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 slices of stale bread
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • chopped parsley
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 1 large finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Cumin

Instructions

  1. Soak bread ( without crusts) in milk for around 10 minutes
  2. Mix together the mince, herbs, spices, bread, and eggs
  3. Shape the mixture into oblong meatballs and fry gently in oil until golden brown
  4. For the sauce, mix saute the onion and garlic in oil
  5. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, more cumin and salt and pepper In a saucepan
  6. Add the wine and gently simmer for around 20 minutes until it has thickened somewhat
  7. Add the sauce to the pan of cooked meatballs

Notes

If the mixture seems too dry add some breadcrumbs before cooking

I often also add chopped mint to the meatballs mixture

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 457Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 259mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 38g
Horiatiki ( Greek Salad )
Yield: 4 people

Horiatiki ( Greek Salad )

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Probably the best known Greek dish of all. Loved across the globe and full of goodness.

Ingredients

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 250gms Feta cheese
  • 1 small red onion
  • 100gms Kalamata Olives
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp baby capers
  • 1 stalk mint
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Instructions

Chop tomatoes and cucumber in chunks.

Slice onion thinly

Drain or pit olives

Toss these ingredients in a salad bowl

Place slab of cheese on top

To make dressing: mix oil and oregano

Pour dressing over salad ingredient and throw on capers and herds

Finish with a crack of pepper and a heavy pinch of salt

Notes

There are variations of this salad all over Greece and it often has to do with what's on hand at the time.

Some people add capsicum/peppers, others use local Goat's cheese (Mizithra), some don't add capers, etc....

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 82Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 126mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g
greek pastry
Yield: 6 large individual pastries

Bougatsa

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

These pastries are found in bakeries and home kitchens throughout Greece and are often eaten at breakfast time or with coffee.

They are thought to have originated in Macedonia where the idea had come from Constantinople ( Istanbul ).

They can be made with different fillings which meant they offered versatility and flexibility to working families and are quite quick and easy to make. Like many Greek dishes, different regions make their own versions.

These ones are filled with the popular semolina custard while others can be made with a sweet cheese filling, which is very similar to Tyropita ( cheese pies).

These are also made with Filo pastry which is common today but sometimes puff pastry may be used.

Ingredients

  • 500 gms filo pastry sheets
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 5 cups of milk
  • 200 gms of butter
  • 1 cup of fine semoline
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • Icing sugar and cinnamon for garnish

Instructions

  1. If you are using bought, frozen Filo remember to thaw it well in advance, usually overnight in the fridge!
  2. Simmer milk on low until warm
  3. Add butter, semolina, and sugar.
  4. Stir under fully mixed and thickened.
  5. Remove from heat and add in beaten eggs and vanilla.
  6. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally.
  7. Cut the Filo sheets in half and brush 5 sheets with melted butter. Add a further sheet folded in an envelope to the middle at the bottom of the 5 sheets ( for extra strength) and spoon custard mixture onto it.
  8. Fold into envelopes by folding in the outsides and then rolling up.
  9. Place on a greased and papered pan and bake for 30 minutes at 200 degrees Celcius.
  10. Dust with icing sugar and cinnamon and served when still warm if possible.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1224Total Fat: 83gSaturated Fat: 51gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 344mgSodium: 955mgCarbohydrates: 104gFiber: 2gSugar: 67gProtein: 19g
Slow cooked lamb and lemon potatoes
Yield: serves 6-8

Slow cooked lamb and lemon potatoes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes

This dish is synonymous with Greece especially at Easter when each family cooks it to break the fast after Lent. On that occasion, however, a whole lamb is cooked on an outdoor spit. In Greece, this may be the only time lamb is eaten during the year due to its cost, which in many areas makes it a special occasion meal.

It's really a very simple dish to make. The key is time.

Ingredients

  • 1 x 3.4kg/7lb leg of lamb
  • 4 fresh garlic cloves
  • 1 large lemon
  • dried oregano
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 large potatoes or 6 medium ones
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees
  2. Cut garlic into slivers
  3. Cut slits in the lamb and insert the garlic
  4. Squeeze half the lemon juice and half the chicken stock over the lamb
  5. Drizzle with olive oil - around 1/4 a cup
  6. Sprinkle liberally with oregano, salt, and pepper
  7. Cover tightly with foil or apply lid to a dutch oven and cook in the oven for 6 hours still on 150
  8. Peel the potatoes and cut into wedges
  9. After around 6 hours place the potatoes under the lamb and add the remaining lemon and chicken stock
  10. Recover and cook for a further hour or to taste

Notes

Whilst I've used a leg of lamb in this recipe my family generally prefers shoulder which has more fat and doesn't tend to dry out as leg can. Ask your butcher to debone it for you and stuff the cavity with garlic and the lemon leftovers

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1592Total Fat: 90gSaturated Fat: 37gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 45gCholesterol: 493mgSodium: 427mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 142g
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