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Stuffed Grape Leaves / Dolmades

Traditionally Greek, authentically vegan, everyone’s favorite – dolmades!

Dolmades, or stuffed grape leaves, are one of the most iconic of Greek dishes. I can eat them for breakfast lunch and dinner!

Thing is, we’ve always had a bit of a running debate about the name in my family. My mom’s side of the family calls them dolmades as do most Greeks. My dad’s side, with his dad hailing from Smyrna, use the more Turkish name of Continue Reading →

Fava Bean Spread

gorgeous, chunky, filling, fantastic fava bean spread on toast!

The avocado toast trend’s got nothing on this traditional amazingly tasty, incredibly simple Greek power breakfast: 5 minutes, 5 ingredients, one bowl, and done!

KouKOfava (κουκόφαβα) or fava bean spread originally hails from the island of Crete and is a positively delicious, incredibly nutritious and absolutely beautiful spread made from fava or broad beans. Each bite of fava bean spread comes with a natural boost of B vitamins, plant protein, minerals, anti oxidants and fiber.  I absolutely LOVE it on everything but most especially, on toasted multigrain bread drizzled in olive oil. Koukofava – the breakfast Continue Reading →

Lalagia / Λαλάγγια

lalagia - traditional donuts of the Peleponnese

lalagia – traditional donuts of the Peleponnese

Lalagia (Λαλάγγια) are the donuts of the Peloponnese! You can grab a bag of these ridiculously addictive authentic fried dough snacks in probably every bakery in all of Messinia and in many Greek markets in the US/Canada too. Whether you enjoy them as a savory or sweet treat, warm from the stove or days later, you’ll soon understand why they’re so popular!

What sets lalagia apart from other Greek fried dough  like loukoumades or fried bread (ladopsomo/tiganopsimo) is that the recipe uses olive oil in the dough.  Adding this one ingredient makes all the difference and produces the most wonderfully light, crunchy sticks  that can be formed into all sorts of shapes.  Lalagia are traditionally a Christmas-eve treat and children are often told the rather odd shapes scare off any evil spirits working up mischief on the night before

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Baklava Saragli

saragli (rolled) baklava

saragli (rolled) baklava

Saragli (accent on last syllable) or rolled baklava is a style of baklava that come from the Greeks of Constantinople. This recipe calls for the traditional Greek walnut filling but feel free to use the chopped nuts of your choice. You will go NUTS over these 🙂 🙂

Super simple to roll – a half inch diameter wooden or metal dowel is perfect for rolling your saragli. Just be careful not to roll too tightly as a light touch works best here. And try scoring your rolls on a diagonal, that way the cut pieces have a little more visual interest when plated as above. If you cut each roll approx 4 times you’ll get 4 perfect pieces and 2 end pieces. Growing up, the end pieces always went to us kids because they’re not quite as pretty but no worries – they’re every bit as tasty!
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Skordalia

traditional skordalia with beautiful beet salad

traditional skordalia with beautiful beet salad

Skordalia is one of the most traditional dishes in all of Greece. It’s so so simple to make with a just few everyday ingredients and remarkably delicious – if you haven’t already, this one is a must-try!

Often described as Greek garlic mashed potatoes, traditional skordalia is much more than that. Creamy, ‘buttery’ potato goodness with the pop of mashed raw garlic folded in – it’s indescribable really. And skordalia is in no way overwhelmingly garlicky, just almost peppery with that bite of raw garlic coming through the velvety potato.

Have only 1 russet potato and a few cloves of garlic in the house? Then you’re about 15 minutes away from crazy amazing skordalia! Spread it on EVERYTHING or pair it with it’s bestie, a simple beet salad / pantzaria salata. However you choose to enjoy it, you’ll love every 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 →

Pomegranates

a ruby, ripe pomegranate

a ruby, ripe pomegranate

Pomegranates are so unique and so sweet/tart delicious – I just love them! Cracking one open, its always a bit of a wonderful surprise to discover the gorgeous glistening ruby red seeds hiding just beneath their hard, leathery skin.

For many people, the pleasure of enjoying these beauties is tempered by the often times messy affair that peeling and seeding a pomegranate can be. I’m here to tell you, there’s no need to fear – The Greek Vegan is here! This post will quickly tell you how to know when a pomegranate is ripe and show you the quickest/cleanest way to peel and seed this fantastic fruit. You can do it, I promise!, and you’ll never be intimidated by a 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!

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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 →

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 →

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 →

Fried Giant Beans

fried giant beans

fried giant beans

Buttery, creamy inside, crispy, salty outside – you will never look at an unassuming lima bean the same way again.  The layers of flavors and textures make fried giant lima beans absolutely addictive!

The secret to making these meaty morsels so tasty? Just add your spices to the  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 →

Chickpea Fritters (Revithokeftedes)

revithokeftedes or chickpea fritters

revithokeftedes or chickpea fritters

So satisfying, crispy, ‘meaty’ and aromatic with so many ways to enjoy these traditional chickpea fritters you’ll find them well worth the bit of extra effort. Revithokeftedes are perfect with a side of horiatiko chopped salad or wrapped up in pita bread with tahini lemon sauce and sliced tomatoes – chickpea fritters are a winner every time!

This scrumptious recipe takes about 4 hours total to make and because its often difficult to carve out that much time in the kitchen, I often make it in stages.  The most labor intensive (and my favorite!) part is getting the skins off the chickpea and I’ll share my speedy technique so you can 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 →

Hortopita (Wild Greens Pie)

hortopita / wild greens pie

hortopita / wild greens pie

Hortopita or Wild Greens Pie is traditionally made in the spring when wild greens are young and tender. In the US, we have access to a variety of greens year round so you can enjoy this hearty, nutritious meal any time.

My yiayia’s favorite combination of greens for this pita, and what I use today, include dandelion greens, mustard greens and spinach. Add scallions, dill and parsley and the aromas of a Greek hillside will fill your kitchen. The flavors balance well so you taste the perfect 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 →

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 →

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