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Cinnamon Cookies

traditional Greek cinnamon cookies

These traditional Greek cinnamon cookies are golden brown circles of perfection. Just a bit crunchy with the subtle taste of cinnamon and oranges, each bite will have you wanting another!

So simple to whip up, Greek cinnamon cookies are my coffee’s best friend and I make them often. ‘Often’ because you can also mix up the dough ahead and bake your cookies within a week OR freeze portioned dough Continue Reading →

Almond Cookies

golden, gluten free, Greek almond cookies

These beauties are as delicious as they are lovely and gluten free too! When wheat flour was less available, nut flours were used instead in both sweet and savory recipes.  Nut flours have a long and tasty history in traditional Greek food culture and this cookie recipe is a wonderful example of baking with almond flour. Greek almond cookies are authentically sweetened with honey, easily substituted with agave nectar if you prefer, and lightly spiced with cardamom – just made for a cup of coffee or tea. You will LOVE these!

On our Dad’s island of Chios, Greek almond cookies were often flavored with an almond flavored syrup called soumatha  (σουμάδα) and I’ve learned Greek Cypriots also have this tradition. Soumatha is also used to preserve cherries, a local fruit tree on Chios and more well known in Continue Reading →

Chickpeas with Orzo

traditional Greek chickpeas and orzo

This dish is a favorite of our mom’s side of the family. Every one of the six siblings enjoyed it and made it regularly and now you can too 🙂

Chickpeas and orzo is a very traditional Greek meal, very filling and very delicately flavored. The secret to it’s creamy, ‘buttery’ goodness is to cook the orzo and canned chickpeas right into the dish, not separately and then added in to the rest of the ingredients as you might find in other variations of this recipe.  By ‘stewing’ both the orzo and the chickpeas together with the veggies and broth as the dish cooks you get plump, perfect orzo and tender, meaty chickpeas. You can’t beat it! Continue Reading →

Chocolate Date Nut Bites

chocolate date nut bites

chocolate date nut bites

This recipe came from my Yiayia’s leftover date/nut baklava filling to which she added a spoon or two of carob powder for us kids as we hovered over her mixing bowl. Don’t laugh but I was eating a Kit Organics bar one day when in a rush to eat something not totally terrible for me and had the most wild tastebuds-deja vu that I had eaten this before.  The taste memory was foggy at first and then it came flooding back over me –  individual spoons of that incredible date nut baklava filling. Well, ladies and gents, here it is for you all in bite form – addictively positively wonderful in every way. Continue Reading →

Pasta Flora – Traditional Greek Jam Tart

pasta floraPasta flora? No, The Greek Vegan hasn’t gone Italian – pasta flora is a delightful traditional jam tart and one of the most delicious, authentic sweet treats of Greece! A light, cookie-like crust with jam filling, this positively lovely dessert is found in Greek bakeries all over the world and can be on your table in less than an hour using ingredients in in your kitchen right now. Ready? Set? Go!! Continue Reading →

Lefki Fasolada (White Bean Soup)

a beautiful bowl of traditional Greek bean soup - lefki fusillade

a beautiful bowl of traditional Greek bean soup – lefki fasolada

Fasolada, or white bean soup, is a HUGELY popular – and authentically vegan – dish in Greece and throughout the Greek diaspora. Creamy white beans, sweet carrots, delicate celery and bright parsley in a light, delicious broth – it’s just the perfect comfort food and there’s never a single bean left behind!

Lefki fasolada (λευκή φασολάδα) is the variation featured here, traditionally made without tomato. For me, the soup tastes sweeter and really, more flavorful when the tomato is absent. The veggies and herbs are really allowed to shine and shine they do. The prep for lefki fasolada couldn’t be simpler and with just a handful of ingredients probably in your fridge right now, this rustic, peasant dish will show you exactly how simply perfect a simple soup can be. Continue Reading →

Apple Spoon Sweet

apple spoon sweet

traditional apple spoon sweet / milo glyko

Apple glyko or spoon sweet is one of the most delicate and flavorful of spoon sweets in Greek cooking. Something about vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks with tart sweet apples just works – and works really well! These authentic preserves are simple to make, a fantastic treat to eat and ready in just 30 minutes.

Bonus for this authentic recipe: apples are easy to find most everywhere and certainly easier to find in the US than quinces or sour cherries, two of the most traditional spoon sweets. The apples most often used in Greece for this dish are small, tart apples called firikia. Not having access to firikia here in the Northeast US, I most often use jonagold or granny smith apples.  A nice tart apple with just a bit of sweetness is ideal so feel free to use whichever local varieties fit that bill!  Continue Reading →

Kolokithokeftedes / Squash Fritters

traditional Greek squash fritters / kolokithokeftedes

traditional Greek squash fritters / kolokithokeftedes

Kolokithokeftedes are light and crispy and so jam packed with flavor, these traditional fried squash patties that will have your tastebuds singing happy happy songs!

Zucchini squash, onions, potatoes, carrots, lemon zest and a sprinkle of nutmeg come together in the most delightful combination. The whole lovely veggie mix is bound together with a go-to ingredient Greek cooks have been using for hundreds of years and that is just now catching on in the US, can you guess what it is??   Continue Reading →

Traditional Greek Marzipan / Amigthalota

Amigthalota are the traditional Greek version of marzipan. These delicate almond sweets are often served at weddings and baptisms with their perfect pear shapes and snowy cover of powdered sugar – as beautiful as they are delicious!

Five ingredients and twenty minutes are all you need to whip up a batch of your own. Almond extract and rose water give the marzipan center the most wonderful fragrance and a whole clove tops each pearl white pear making this an aromatic as well as incredibly tasty treat. One bite through the just ever so lightly crisp outside into the dense, chewy, almondy amazing center and you’ll be hooked – they’re just that good! Continue Reading →

Sfakian Sweet Rusks

Sfakian Sweet Rusks – paximadia

My aunt would make this sweet bread (artos) for Great Vespers services when we were young. Five loaves would go to church and one small loaf stayed at home for us.  She would slice up the small home loaf and toast the slices in the oven until dried through and super crunchy.  Then we’d slather them with Merenda (Greek hazelnut spread similar to Nutella) and very happily munch through every slice!

You can enjoy these sweet rusks today, store bought and straight from Greece, or make your own – a wonderful rainy Saturday recipe! These sweet rusks are delicious on their own with a hot cup of coffee or topped with your favorite jam or Greek honey and the perfect afternoon snack. Traditionally from region of Sfakia on the island of Crete but enjoyed throughout Greece and the Greek diaspora, you will fall in love with this authentic, simple Continue Reading →

Halva Pudding

individual halva puddings with chopped pistachios and dried apricots

Halva is a delicious, traditional dessert made in a many different variations across Greece and throughout the Middle East. To be honest, halva is wonderful in all forms and flavors. We’ve shared our favorite family recipe below. Fine ground semolina flour, chopped nuts and sweet syrup make this the perfect pudding with it’s charmingly delicate texture flavored with aromatic cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. A very special way to end any meal!

The recipe is a simple one, using only a handful of ingredients, and is a dish that’s fun for children to help with too. You can mold it into all kinds of shapes using individual molds or even a large bundt or fluted cake pan. Halva pudding is quick to set up and can be dressed in an endless number of ways. I love topping halva with chopped pistachios and dried apricots or you can sprinkle a little cinnamon or powdered sugar over the top. Its easy to make this dish to suit your particular tastes – you can even drizzle melted chocolate over the top!

Continue Reading →

Grilled Bread / λαδοβρεχτό

warm grilled bread with olive oil, sea salt and Greek oregano

warm grilled bread with olive oil, sea salt and Greek oregano

Grilled bread  or λαδοβρεχτό is probably one of the most wonderful and simplest ways to enjoy a loaf of good bread. I make it right on the grill in summer and early fall and use a grill pan on the stovetop when its too cold to grill. Nice, thick slices are my favorite and just the thing to soak up the few but delicious flavors here. They also hold up well piled high with endless topping options (see list below!)

While the bread is still warm, preferably right off of the heat, generously brush each piece with good Greek olive oil and sprinkle with a coarse sea salt and crushed dried Greek oregano. Could it be any easier? Enjoy just as is, as a side to your favorite soup/stew or topped with Continue Reading →

Roasted Grapes

Roasted red grapes with coarse black pepper, brandy, olive oil, sea salt and thyme

Roasted red grapes with coarse black pepper, brandy, olive oil, sea salt and thyme

An insanely good snack on their own and a beautiful topping to a platter of steaming rice pilaf or salads – roasted grapes aim to please! Grape season in Greece comes all at once and hot and heavy, grapes are everywhere in August. Traditionally the first harvest of grapes was blessed on the feast of the Holy Transfiguration and from there the race was on to find ways to enjoy and preserve this native abundance.

Roasted red grapes – simply a handful of ingredients and a quick blast of hot oven – are one very lovely and very delicious such way. I found this dish on my mother’s island of Evvia. In front of me at lunch was a steaming platter of rice pilaf topped with this huge, gorgeous, bright pink and purple mound of sticky sweet savory red grapes. I was mesmerized! Around me people started, quickly so as not to be noticed, picking off a roasted grape or two from the platter. Our host stirred them into the pilaf right before serving and the entire Continue Reading →

Melitzanosalata / Eggplant Dip

melitzanosalata drizzled with olive oil on grilled bread

melitzanosalata drizzled with olive oil on grilled bread

There couldn’t be a simpler or more delicious way to eat eggplant!  Not a fan of eggplant?  Melitzanosalata will knock your sox off and have you waiting for eggplant season to roll around next! This very traditional Greek summer dish is authentically vegan and is so incredibly flavorful you will be so surprised by how few ingredients you’ll need and how easy it is to make.

A couple of medium eggplants, an open flame (a grill ideally but a broiler will do!), roasted garlic cloves, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper – thats it! Slather this yummy goodness over grilled bread, scoop it up with homemade pita chips or put as a side to just about any dish and you will not be disappointed, I Continue Reading →

Marathopites / Fennel Pies

marathopites / fennel frond pies

marathopites / fennel frond pies

Fresh wild greens, aromatic fresh herbs and olive oil all wrapped in a simple dough = handheld heaven! Pites (or singular, pita) are a general word to describe hand held pies of all sorts. The variety of fillings is endless, many many of which are traditionally meat/dairy free. This particular pita, marathopita, comes from the island of Crete where wild fennel runs, well, wild!

The perfect lunch, snack or even breakfast and very child friendly – marathopites (μαραθόπιτες) use only the leaves or frilly fronds that grow on thin stalks above the fennel bulb. Here in the Northeast US its often difficult to find fennel bulbs with a beautiful bushy bunch of fronds attached as they’re usually trimmed for supermarket shelves.  They can, truth be told, get a bit unruly. Then comes July at the farmers market and fennel is at every stall, displayed in all her leafy glory. This is the time to make, eat and freeze for non-fennel seasons, marathopites! Continue Reading →

Apricot and Almond Cake

apricot almond cake

apricot almond cake

The sunshiny sweetness of fresh apricots is baked into every bite of this amazing cake! Just the thing with coffee or tea, its another wonderful recipe that incorporates the tradition of Greek baked fruits.   This light, delicious cake showcases fresh apricots that are baked to sticky sweet golden perfection. You’ll end up eating quite a few fresh or baked apricots just on their own Continue Reading →

Grilled Corn Salad

grilled corn salad with bell peppers, red onion and fresh dill

grilled corn salad with bell peppers, red onion and fresh dill

Street vendors sell grilled corn everywhere in Greece during the summer. Crazy salty and steamed inside their husks, you wouldn’t believe how good they taste. This recipe uses grilled corn in a quick, easy, amazing summer salad – just over half an hour and you can be tucking into a bowl!

So good for lunch or dinner, this simple, delicious recipe uses oven-grilled corn cooks up perfectly every time and cooking corn this way also makes Continue Reading →

Roasted Potatoes

Greek roasted potatoes with lemon, garlic, rosemary and oregano

Greek roasted potatoes with lemon, garlic, rosemary and oregano

Crispy golden brown outside, light, fluffy, lemony inside you’ll love this authentic roasted potato recipe – and you’ll never believe how simple it is to make.  Enjoy these warm from the oven or just at room temperature, there’s just no wrong way to eat them!

Greek vegan amazingly flavorful and filling, roasted oven potatoes are a fantastic choice for any meal and are absolutely as delicious the next day for lunch.  Lemons, garlic, big baking potatoes, Greek oregano, fresh rosemary and of course, olive oil – ordinary ingredients that make an extraordinary dish. You’re only an hour away from amazing!

Continue Reading →

Spanakopita

traditional, authentically vegan Greek spanakopita

Spanakopita or spinach pie is probably one of the best-known of all traditional Greek dishes and hands down one of the most delicious. Its traditionally made without cheese so, bonus, authentically vegan too!

A handful of simple ingredients – fresh dill, mint, peppery chopped scallions, gorgeous green leafy spinach and you’re good to go. Wrap it all up in flaky fillo dough and you’ve got one of the easiest and most delightful foods in all of Greek cooking. This recipe will have spanakopita on your table in under an hour. Give it a try, you’ll Continue Reading →

Fried Squash

golden fried squash

golden fried squash

Crispy, golden outside – tender, meaty inside, fried squash is so simple and so delicious you’ll never look at zucchini without drooling again! These make an amazing meal all on their own or pop them into a piece of pita bread with a little tahini lemon sauce and you have the perfect sandwich. You’ll find so many Continue Reading →

Baklava for Beginners

baklava for beginners

baklava for beginners

This amazing baklava recipe is for all of you who’ve written in asking for a beginner’s guide to baklava. Anyone, regardless of their Greek cooking experience, can make these perfectly every time – no unwieldy sheets of filo, an infinitely scalable recipe, just a few flavor packed ingredients and all ready in just 30 minutes or less – win, win, win, win (you get the idea!)

The oh-so-delicious authentic filling is one my Yiayia (and her mom before her) used when they wanted to make a special treat for someone during fasting periods of the year.  Warmed tahini is used in place of melted butter to bind the nut filling and is just the perfect complement to the traditional flavors of cinnamon and toasted walnuts. A bit of lemon zest and a squeeze of Continue Reading →

Chickpeas and Rice / Pεβίθια και Pύζι

traditional Greek chickpeas and rice

Creamy chickpeas, garlicky light tomato sauce and a pinch of smoky sweet cinnamon make this simple, traditional dish divine. A handful of ingredients, 35 min to prep/cook and you have a hearty, healthy, incredibly flavorful meal on the table. This dish is also perfect to take for lunch as its just as yummy at room temperature. A true one-pot-wonder, chickpeas and rice will become Continue Reading →

Cabbage Soup / λαχανόσουπα

cabbage soup / λαχανόσουπα

cabbage soup / λαχανόσουπα

This is one of the most satisfying vegetable soups you will ever have.  Cabbage soup is a traditional winter dish in Greece, though I  enjoy it year round! The cabbage is sweet, the dill and thyme so flavorful, and the chopped zucchini, carrots and potatoes make it a complete meal in a bowl.

The trick is to first sauté all the vegetables, including the cabbage, before adding the water to your soup.  This gives you a much more intensely flavored, layered, robust finished dish. This is a one-pot-wonder and so simple to prepare you’ll be Continue Reading →

Apple Cake / Milopita

light, moist, traditional Greek vegan apple cake!

Milopita (Μηλόπιτα) or apple cake is traditionally enjoyed for breakfast in Greece. So moist, chock full of sweet, juicy apples and spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, milopita is a delicate breakfast or dessert that will become a fast favorite in your house!

This simple to bake recipe is a great way to use up apples that might be a little too bruised or old to eat on their own. And you can choose to mix in chopped walnuts or golden raisins for an apple cake with even more Continue Reading →

Koulourakia / Wine Cookies

koulourakia / wine cookies

These cookies will never last more than a few minutes in any cookie jar. They’re crunchy outside, soft inside and the perfect partner to coffee or tea. Our Yiayia, my father’s mom, started her day with these almost every morning. I can still see her at the kitchen table as we came down the stairs for breakfast, dipping a koulouraki into her coffee cup. I can see her there as if it were yesterday.

Koulourakia are simple and quick to bake up and so much fun to make!  The dough rolls out easily into a variety of shapes and it’s a job even little hands can do well. Cardamom, cinnamon and orange zest make these cookies so aromatic and full of flavor, they’ll become your favorites in no time! Mix up a big batch and refrigerate Continue Reading →

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