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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 →

Stuffed Tomatoes

traditional Greek stuffed tomatoes

traditional Greek stuffed tomatoes

Stuffed tomatoes are another in the delicious line of traditional Greek stuffed vegetables, or gemistes. This recipe also features the very Greek use of sweet, dried fruits in savory dishes.

Currants, toasted pine nuts, fresh herbs and fluffy rice fill these tomatoes to the brim with so many wonderful flavors – they’re the most perfect meal imaginable! And once you see how simple stuffed tomatoes are to make, they’ll be

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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 →

5 Fantastic Greek Cocktails

Tears of Chios Mastiha Cocktail

Tears of Chios Mastiha Cocktail, Adapted from GB Rooftop Garden in Athens, Greece  and Jules Catering by Jacqueline Anderson

Summer is just the time to kick back and sip cool cocktails with friends. In that spirit, we’ve gathered together five of our favorite Greek cocktail recipes to share with you! 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 →

Bulgur Pilaf / Πλιγούρι πιλάφι

traditional Greek toasted bulgur pilaf

Bulgur has recently become the new ‘it’ whole grain here in the US and it’s about time too. In Greece, people have been enjoying it for eons – well, at least millennia!  A nutritional powerhouse, bulgur is very tasty and boils up quickly with a unique cracked wheat texture; perfect for a light pilaf. This recipe for bulgur pilaf includes the traditional (and delicious!) standard vegetable mix-ins but the possibilities are endless and you’ll find info below to help you create variations of your own too!

So simple to cook up with very easy prep; you can have this nutty, bright, one-pot-wonder on your table in a little over half an hour. Try the recipe exactly as it is here with carrots, green peas, coriander, fennel seeds, fresh thyme and a pinch of cloves or go ahead and let your tastebuds  Continue Reading →

Greek Potato Stew / Patates Yahni

Greek Potato Stew / Patates Yahni

Made with just 5 ingredients with one pot in just under an hour, this traditional Greek potato stew (πατάτες γιαχνί) is rustic potato perfection. Red ripe tomatoes, fresh parsley, sweet red onions, minced garlic and yellow potatoes simmered in olive oil combine to create one of the simplest, most authentic and amazingly delicious Greek dishes you will ever enjoy! Continue Reading →

Top 5 Greek Olive Oils for 2015

ny inter olive oil competition image

The New York International Olive Oil Competition just named its 2015 picks for best Greek olive oils!

The prestigious and intensely competitive playing field consisted of  700 different olive oils from 25 countries. Entries were evaluated by a jury of international experts and of these 700,  35 olive oil brands entered by Greece were judged “world’s best” with 19 Gold and 16 Silver awards!

This global recognition just goes to prove what you and I have known all along – Greek olive oil is top shelf and deserving of its place on the world stage.

We’ve listed the top five organically produced, Gold award winners for you Continue Reading →

Greek Beet Salad / Pantzaria Salata

traditional Greek beet salad

traditional Greek beet salad

This beeeutiful traditional beet salad will have you fighting for seconds it’s so good! Gorgeous earthy boiled red beets, tiny tiny minced garlic pieces, flecks of fresh mint and parsley, Greek olive oil, red wine vinegar, ground coriander, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper combine to make a mouthwatering main course and the perfect side dish to just about anything – as delicious as it is lovely and incredibly easy to prepare.

Pantzaria salata is served all over Greece and is most often paired with a plate of skordalia (Greek garlic smashed potatoes). Truthfully they are amazing together but I also love beet salad all on it’s own with a big piece of crusty bread. So flavorful and satisfying, the authentic 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 →

Olive Spread / Pasta Elias (πάστα ελιάς)

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Chunky, meaty, salty olives with sweet fig jam, nutty garlic, tangy vinegar and a bit of licorice fennel – there are so many flavors going on here you will go crazy for this authentic olive spread!

Olives, roasted garlic and fig jam are the three musketeers of this traditional favorite Greek olive spread, pasta elias (πάστα ελιάς) . You can find everything you need at your local market’s antipasto bar and assemble at home or do it all on your own. Either way, this recipe is super quick and easy to make and INSANELY delicious Continue Reading →

Kourambiedes

nistisima kourambiedes - sugar covered cookies

nistisima kourambiedes – sugar covered cookies

These snowy white, crazy yummy cookies are so quick and easy to bake up, they’ll amaze you with every bite! This recipe is for the nistisima (or vegan) version of kourambiedes, slightly different but just as authentic as the more well known butter cookie version.

Made with a combination of almond meal and flour, orange juice and a bit of brandy, the finished cookies are light and high and just ever so slightly crumbly. Kourambiedes are a cup of coffee ad tea’s best Continue Reading →

Gigantes Plaki / Baked Giant Beans

from the oven - gigantes plaki

from the oven – gigantes plaki

Gigantes plaki, or baked giant beans, are about as Greek and about as good as a dish can be.

There are countless variations of this classic dish and the recipe below is our family’s favorite. This recipe calls for parsley, celery, oregano and mint to flavor the delicate tomato sauce and beans. This combination is a bit lighter, brighter and slightly sweeter in taste than other versions with dill, carrot and/or cinnamon. Truth be told though, I don’t think I’ve ever met a plate of gigantes I didn’t like!

Busy schedule? No worries – gigantes plaki can easily be made in parts or stages, I do it all the time. Prep your gigantes (or large lima) beans up to 2 days ahead, make your sauce the day before and then assemble and bake when you’re Continue Reading →

Dandelion Greens / Radikia

dandelion greens with Greek olive oil and fresh lemon juice

gorgeous dandelion greens with Greek olive oil and fresh lemon juice

Horta is a catch-all term for greens and horta vrasta means simply boiled greens.  This recipe features dandelion greens (radikia in Greek) which are certainly very popular in Greek cooking as are their other green friends vleeta (amaranth), mustard greens and chicory. A dish of boiled greens drizzled with olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is quite probably one of the most satisfying and really delightful meals you will every enjoy.

Many of us have stories of Yiayia or Papouli going into the yard (or stopping by the side of the road!) with a kitchen knife, digging delicious dandelion weeds from the ground. Packed with nutrients, wild greens have helped to sustain people through many times of scarcity and hunger and have a special place in Greek food culture. They couldn’t be easier to cook up so 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 →

Stuffed Peppers / Yεμιστές πιπεριές

oven charred stuffed peppers

oven charred stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers are such a classic Greek dish and traditionally vegan!  Meat was only added to the rice mixture on special occasions and feast days.  Every day stuffed peppers were meatless and, as you’ll see with this recipe, absolutely magnificent!

One of my all time favorite meals, stuffed peppers are a simple, easy to make ahead, healthy, so yummy dish. Green bell peppers are used most often but feel free to shake things up with yellow, orange or red bell peppers for

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Leek and Onion Tart

caramelized leek and onion filling in light, flaky olive oil tart

caramelized leek and onion filling in light, flaky olive oil tart

Golden brown, savory sweet caramelized leeks and onions piled on top of a flaky, delicate olive oil crust – in every way, awesomeness. This extremely versatile leek and onion pie is delicious for weekday dinner, on the go lunch and is fantastic for parties. Make it as a single pie or individual tarts and even make days ahead. You’ve got a winner here.

Of all our Yiayia’s pitas this was my favorite. Usually she made pitas wrapped in either store bought or more often home made horiatiko filo dough and some were even wrapped in bread dough but her leek and onion pie was special. Baked in a light, flaky butterless, eggless perfect pie crust – these were always a treat. Since Yiayia passed away, I’ve tried so many times to recreate this incredible crust with little success……. UNTIL NOW!!!!!  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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Greek Peas / Arakas Kokinistos

Greek peas with tomato and dill

Greek peas with tomato and dill

Plump, sweet little green peas swimming around in a sauce of tomatoey, dill goodness – how good does that sound? Add a piece of crusty or grilled bread to help sop up all the crazy yummy soupy extra and you’ve got yourself one of the tastiest and simplest meals in Greek cooking.

Greek peas are phenomenal and hands down our absolute favorite way to enjoy peas. They’re perfection right off the stove and even a bit better than that a day or two later!  This dish is infinitely scalable and very easy to reheat. In Greece a big bowl of arakas kokinistos is often enjoyed as a meal in itself and Greek peas are also an amazing side dish to 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 →

Tourlou Tourlou / Briam

tourlou tourlou of summer vegetables

tourlou tourlou of summer vegetables

Tourlou tourlou, which literally means all mixed up, is really the most wonderfully delicious mix up of vegetables!  Perfect for summer when garden fresh veggies are everywhere, a few simple ingredients and you’re on your way to one of the best traditional vegetable meals in all of Greek cooking.

This dish also goes by the name briam from the Turkish version and is also very similar to the traditional French dish ratatouille. Full of flavor and so satisfying, you can enjoy tourlou tourlou hot right from the oven or the next day at room temperature. Serve as a filling meal or as a tasty veggie side dish to Continue Reading →

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