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Rice with Fithe and Vegetables (Ρύζι με φιδέ και λαχανικά)

'fancy' rice

‘fancy’ rice

A simple and delicious, traditional way to dress up rice. When we were little we called it “fancy rice” because the broken bits of tiny thin noodles and bits of beautiful orange carrots just seemed to make it special. It’s a meal in itself or a lovely side dish and perfect served hot from the stove or room temp for lunch.

This recipe uses authentic fithe noodles. These are very ,very thin pasta noodles dried in the shape of small nests. You can find authentic fithe noodles at Greek and Middle Eastern markets and a good Greek brand is Misko. Goya also makes a good option (fideos/fide noodles) that you can often find in larger grocery stores in the International foods aisle. If you can’t find the real thing, try substituting angel hair  or vermicelli Continue Reading →

Finikia / Melomacarona

finikia are traditional Christmas cookies

finikia are traditional Christmas cookies

These sweet, crumbly, so tasty treats are made traditionally at Christmas time in Greece but, truth be told,  I make them all year round.  It’s so quick and easy to whip up a batch, finikia may just become your go-to Greek vegan cookie!

A few simple ingredients are all you need and they’re all things you probably have in the kitchen right now. Bonus, the dough keeps refrigerated for up to two weeks in case you want to bake a quick panful when friends drop in. The syrup can be made with either honey or agave nectar and is authentically flavored with cinnamon stick and orange peel.  Sprinkle with Continue Reading →

Hosafi (Apricot Compote)

Hosafi is a sweet, delicious treat brought to mainland Greece by refugees from Pontos in what is now Turkey. The flavors of cinnamon, cloves and cardamom seeds together with peachy, juicy apricots are an amazing combination.

This dish was often made in winter as a way to use dried fruits like apricots and raisins that were harvested in summer and hosafi is still a popular New Year’s treat today for Greeks hailing from Cappadocia.  Summer sun in every Continue Reading →

Bobota / μπομπότα (Cornbread)

bobota with orange syrup

bobota with orange syrup

A rustic village so-tasty cornbread, bobota is amazingly versatile in both preparation and presentation. I’ve included a  number of traditional variations in this recipe so you can easily make it your own. It’s the perfect breakfast, dessert or just anytime snack!

When making this recipe for myself, I like to bake in a loaf pan and cut it into long biscotti or paximadi type slices and toast them in the oven to have with coffee. For company or to serve as desert, I cook it in a 8×8 inch brownie pan, cut into 3x3inch squares and dust with powdered sugar. My mom and her mother both bake it in a round pan, cut like you would a pie and soak it in sweet syrup. Any way you choose, this Continue Reading →

Peach Barley

peach barley with chopped pecans

peach barley with chopped pecans

This delicious dish hails from the peach orchards of northern Greece. Growing up, we often had a bowl for lunch on hot summer days. It was cool from the fridge, full of sweet peaches and honeyed chewy barley  – almost like eating desert and always a treat!

One taste and you’ll see what an amazing flavor combination peaches and barley make in this authentic Macedonian village dish. A touch of honey (or agave), a bit of orange juice, a dash of cardamom, a few sprigs of fresh mint and a pinch of cinnamon make this simple recipe so delightful Continue Reading →

Savory Onion Pancakes / Kremidotiganites

savory onion tiganites

savory onion tiganites

Savory pancakes are a staple in Greek cooking. A light batter with assorted vegetable fillings make these delicious, traditional tiganites (fritters) a satisfying meal or a delicious, nutritious quick snack.

Sweet white onions and a bit of fresh mint are the perfect filling for these tiganites and I’ll let you in on a secret that will really pump up the flavors- sweat your onions before adding them to the batter.  Sweating, not frying or sautéing, the onions makes them soft and sweet. The savory tastes Continue Reading →

Pita Chips

pita chips with humus and Boukovo chili oil

pita chips with humus and Boukovo chili oil

Once you taste these, you will never buy a store brand bag of pita chips again! They’re  quick and easy to make and are packed with spicy, salty taste-bud popping good Greek flavors.

Perfect for dips of fava  or humus, I have to admit eating them just as they are – seriously addictive stuff! This is a great recipe to make with children too. Try Continue Reading →

Bourekia with Potato and Leek

potato and leek bourekia

potato and leek bourekia

Bourekia (μπουρέκια) are traditional handheld pies and can be baked or fried and filled with all sorts of sweet or savory fillings. Popular vegan fillings for bourekia include mushrooms, spinach, caramelized onions and this recipe for potatoes with leeks.  The most well known type of bourekia in Greece are not vegan and made with Ansari, a sweet soft cheese, as a base with other fillings but you won’t miss the cheese in Continue Reading →

Manestra

manestra new coverManestra is a very traditional hearty, rich soup enjoyed all over Greece.  It’s the perfect meal on a cold winter day.  Manestra warms you with the flavors of summer sun tomatoes and fills you with buttery plump orzo. Just to warn you, it’s completely addictive so be sure to use your bottomless bowls for this dish.

This one-pot-wonder is so simple to make, you’ll be so surprised by how flavorful and satisfying it is.  With only 5 ingredients, the quality of your tomatoes, Greek oregano and Continue Reading →

Lahanorizo (Cabbage and Rice)

lahanorizo, the unstuffed stuffed cabbage

lahanorizo, the unstuffed stuffed cabbage

Think of this dish as unstuffed stuffed cabbage.  So simple to make, lahanorizo (Λαχανόρυζο) is a traditional recipe of sweet, tender cabbage, fresh dill and thyme. It’s a quick, delicious meal right  from the stove and leftovers are just as good a day or two later.

Served warm, lahanorizo is hearty and perfect for a winter’s night.  A dish at room temperature (or even right from the fridge!) and sprinkled with a bit of fresh lemon juice is just the thing for a hot summer afternoon.   Tasty, healthy, Continue Reading →

Traditional Greek Fava

creamy, velvety traditional Greek fava

creamy, velvety traditional Greek fava

 Breaking news for all you Greek vegans – hummus is not Greek! No matter how many Greek restaurants in the US  feature hummus on their menus, I am here to tell you it is almost NEVER served in restaurants or homes in Greece. Instead, authentic Greek restaurants and families enjoy a traditional, so delicious spread made from yellow split peas called fava (not to be confused with fava the bean).

Think of fava as hummus on steroids, both in taste and nutrition. Fava can be served smooth or chunky depending on your taste. It has a bit of a peppery bite from Continue Reading →

Quick Kritsinia (Sesame Bread Sticks)

kritsinia sesame bread sticks

You’ll find these crunchy sesame bread sticks wherever you go in Greece. With dozens of varieties to suit every taste, some are sweet, some savory and made with everything from honey and cinnamon to zucchini. Kritsinia are delicious with coffee for breakfast or snack and are a perfect side to any lunch or dinner.

This recipe makes about 2 1/2 dozen and uses store made bread dough. Sea salt, olive oil and sesame seeds dress up the basic dough and give you a positively addictive Continue Reading →

Wheat Berry Pudding / Varvara

wheat berry pudding

I’ve always eaten this dish for breakfast. We jokingly called it Greek oatmeal and it’s still one of my favorites today! Then one day a few years back, I came across it served as dessert in a little village on the island of Chios. The clouds parted, the sun shone, angels sang – I could enjoy this sweet, creamy, nutty pudding any time of day, hooray!

Served warm from the stove with golden raisins mixed in, wheat berry pudding is a fantastic way to start the day. Served at room temp as dessert, appetizer or even lunch with your favorite fruits and nuts Continue Reading →

Barley Salad

Barley Salad

Light, lemony and so satisfying with layers of textures and flavors, this will be your favorite way to enjoy barley!

I’ve always loved this dish but never as much as when I found it on the chalkboard menu outside a little restaurant in the town of Edipsos on the island of Evvia. A heaping scoop of barley salad sitting in a big piece of sweet red watermelon – brilliant! The combination of tastes is just so perfect together. Ever since, when Continue Reading →

Oven Baked Apples (μήλα ψητά στο φούρνο)

oven baked apples with almonds and golden raisins

oven baked apples with almonds and golden raisins

Oven baked apples are one of the simplest, most naturally delicious dishes you’ll ever come across. We often ate this dish for breakfast as children. Now I enjoy baked apples more as a dessert sprinkled with cinnamon. Whenever you serve them, these baked apples will be gobbled up as soon as they hit the table!

This dish is a specialty of northern Greece with its beautiful orchards and you’ll find many different versions in Greek Continue Reading →

Roasted Fava Beans

Favas are the un-bean bean. Roasted in a hot oven or on the grill, fava beans taste like – tiny little baked potatoes! Kid you not, the creamy texture and taste of a roasted fava bean will fool you every time. I’ve grown up eating fava beans in soups and spreads but never had them roasted until I tried them in Greece one summer.

whole roasted fava beans

In the summertime, you’ll find outdoor grills selling corn on the cob everywhere in Greece. One afternoon I noticed a bunch of long green pods on the grill. I asked about them and was told they were favas. The pods were slippery with olive oil and covered in salt which I found odd as I wasn’t going to eat the shell. As I shucked a few pods and popped the beans into my mouth, it made sense. Continue Reading →

Glazed Roasted Beets with Rice

My Yiayia Mary loved beets. Her grandchildren did not. So she always made us beets lightly glazed with honey and garlic. For years I thought that this was a variation of her own instead of a village recipe as Yiayia told us. To my complete surprise one summer in Greece, I found this dish on the menu of a small beach side cafe in Kalamata!

glazed beets with rice pilaf

The glaze is light and not sticky sweet. Equal parts honey and orange juice, crushed garlic cloves add just the right bridge between the earthy beets and sweet syrup. By allowing the roasted beets to simmer in the glaze, the flavors come Continue Reading →

Squash Pitas

perfect golden color

squash pita

I couldn’t wait to find this pie in my lunchbox!  In Greece, pitas or pies can come in all shapes and sizes and can be filled with so many tasty things.  This recipe calls for orange squash and rice – a delicious, nutritious way to eat Greek vegan on the go.

These are made with a batter dough and can be baked in muffin pans for single serving portions or Continue Reading →

Toasted Chickpeas (Stragalia/Στραγάλια)

stragalia / traditional toasted chickpeas

Stragalia were one of my favorite snacks growing up and a particular favorite of my great grandmother Stella. All toasted and crunchy, salty and savory with sweet golden raisins and boukovo chili flakes – I still eat these traditional toasted chickpeas by the handful!

Stragalia (στραγάλια)  are a delicious, very healthy, totally addictive snack that are so simple to make and a fantastic on-the-go option for work or school too!  With coriander and fennel seeds, fresh ground black pepper, salt and garlic, this recipe is the perfect combination of traditional Greek spices. The secret to getting crunchy, nutty good bites every time? A very hot Continue Reading →

Mint Tea

The garden is filled with mint already – time for fresh mint tea! In Greece, mint tea is usually used as a folk remedy for stomach aches. Certainly that’s how I knew it growing up. I think it’s too good to save only for times when you’re under the weather and I brew it up year round.

fresh mint tea

For an authentic experience, have your tea in a small glass the way it’s served in many places throughout Greece. You can add sugar, honey or lemon. I happen to like Continue Reading →

Loukoumi (Turkish Delight)

Loukoumi is a jelly like candy traditionally flavored with rose or mastic- rose is my favorite flavor! Originally a Turkish confection, it’s been adopted by Greeks as their own. You can find varieties with mixed nuts, almonds or pistachios but I’ve always been told those are more Turkish recipes than Greek.

Rose Loukoumi

You’ll find loukoumi everywhere in Greece where it’s offered to guests as a sweet treat. And loukoumi is SUPER sweet – basically 99.9% sugar dusted in powdered sugar – and usually served with a glass of water on the side. Don’t forget Continue Reading →

Horiatiko Greek Salad

Greek chopped salad in kouloura

This is a traditional, horiatiko or village, chopped Greek salad. A fail-proof recipe, the fresher your veggies are here, the more delicious your salad will be. I think of it as a very farmers market friendly dish!

So quick and easy, you’ll find yourself making this salad all the time. I’ve listed out the ingredients by number of each vegetable with corresponding cup measurements so you can easily scale this recipe to Continue Reading →

Pasteli / Sesame Candy

traditional sesame pasteli

Pasteli or sesame candy is the Greek version of a power bar. Incredibly good and incredibly good for you, these chewy, crunchy bites are the perfect treat. Pasteli are delicious on their own and are especially nice with a cup of Greek coffee or even chamomile tea.

In addition to the traditional recipe below, I’ve also added a honey-free version in deference to those who do not eat honey or may be allergic. I think you’ll find that, whichever option you choose, you will fall in love with pasteli!

And if you’re adventurous, you can try a number of different variations of nut and seed combinations and make this healthy snack uniquely your own.  Just keep the amounts of dry ingredients the Continue Reading →

Greek Ketchup

crazy flavorful Greek ketchup

crazy flavorful Greek ketchup

Better than ANY ketchup you’ve ever tasted, this “Greek ketchup” is completely sugar and corn syrup free and honestly puts all other to shame. Seriously!

I first tasted this in the small town of New Prokopion on the island of Evia. It was January, rainy and a chilly 50 degrees when we tucked into a neighborhood tavern for a bite. I ordered fried potatoes which came to the table with a small dish of what I assumed to be regular, old ketchup. Wrong!! This was better

Continue Reading →

Lentil Soup (Φακές )

one beautiful bowl of beans

A folk saying goes “Fasolatha pou trefi tin Ellada”, loosely translated “The whole of Greece is brought up on bean soup”. One taste of this amazing lentil soup recipe you’ll know why!

A traditional and delicious favorite, lentil soup or Φακές is simple to make and quick to assemble. This recipe gives you the option to rough chop your vegetables and herbs, bringing your prep time down to around 15 minutes with the soup itself taking about 30-40 minutes to cook. Your cooking time will depend on Continue Reading →

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