11 Authentic Recipes That Will Transport You to Greece
Head to the Mediterranean with these delicious, authentic Greek recipes. These recipes are full of fresh vegetables and feature plenty of seafood that will make it feel like you're on the Grecian coast. Recipes like Zucchini Patties with Herbs & Feta (Kolokythokeftedes) and Shrimp Saganaki are healthy and tasty.
Zucchini Patties with Herbs & Feta (Kolokythokeftedes)
Greeks nibble on these popular zucchini patties as a meze in tavernas while waiting for their main courses to arrive.
Shrimp top a delicious saute of fennel, scallions and feta in this version of saganaki. A saganaki is a shallow, two-handled skillet that is one of the most traditional cooking vessels in Greece. Saganaki is also the fried cheese, made in the pan, that is one of Greece's most famous appetizers.
Mashed Legumes with Onion, Capers & Radicchio (Sympetherio)
Radicchio, capers and onions brighten up this mashed lentil dish. Sympetheros means "father of one's son- or daughter-in-law," probably implying the "marrying" of different legumes in one dish. It's a meze served all over Greece. This recipe is inspired by the version Dimitris Mavrakis serves at his restaurant Kritamon in Archanes, near the spectacular Knossos archaeological site on Crete.
Braised Greens with Lemon & Fennel (Yahnera)
These healthy braised greens are a flavorful side to add to your plate. If you prefer, instead of the croutons, you can add potatoes to the pan with the leeks, onions and fennel and cook for about 10 minutes before adding the greens.
Barley Rusks (Dakos)
Malted barley grain is mainly used to brew beer and whiskey but is used here to give the barley rusks a sweet, nutty flavor. Look for it at home-brew stores or order it online, along with malted barley flour. Top these crunchy toasts with tomatoes, olive oil and feta, or serve them alongside dips like taramosalata and tzatziki. For breakfast, do as Cretans do and crumble them in a bowl and top with yogurt, fruit, nuts and seeds.
Butternut Squash Pilaf
Grated butternut squash adds color and nutrients to this brown rice pilaf. This is a riff on a traditional Greek dish that calls for Greek pilaf rice and pumpkin; here we've substituted instant brown rice and butternut squash.
Bulgur Pilaf with Eggplant, Pepper & Tomatoes (Hondros me Melitzanes)
On Crete, this pilaf is often made with xynohondros, or cracked wheat simmered in soured goat's milk. A sprinkling of feta pays homage to that flavor.
Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip
This roasted eggplant and feta dip gets a kick from a fresh chile pepper and cayenne pepper. There are countless variations on this classic Greek dip. Out-of-season eggplant or eggplant that has been heavily watered often has an abundance of seeds, which make the vegetable bitter. Be sure to taste the dip before you serve it; if it's a touch bitter, you can remedy that with a little sugar. Serve with toasted pita crisps or as a sandwich spread.
Greek Fava with Grilled Squid
Fava is the Greek word for bean puree, almost exclusively made with yellow split peas--here it's served with grilled squid, but the simplest and most traditional is raw onion, olive oil and lemon juice; in Santorini it is topped with stewed capers and onions, a combination referred to as "married" fava in Greek. For a vegetarian topping, try a combination of arugula and caramelized onions.
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Ouzo-Poached Figs
This tangy yogurt cheesecake is topped with ouzo-poached figs inspired by sikomaida, a traditional delicacy from Corfu made with dried figs macerated and kneaded with ouzo and pepper, which are formed into disks and dried in chestnut leaves. It's also delicious with seasonal fruits, fresh or dried and poached, or with whole preserves.
Greek Spaghetti (Makaronia me Kima)
The meat sauce in this healthy pasta recipe is a Greek take on a red chili. This recipe calls for ground lamb but you could easily use ground beef or ground turkey instead.