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Tag Archives | Orthodox Fasting Recipes

Recipes for Orthodox Christians to use during fasting periods in the Church year. Fasting recipes suitable for Great Lent and other days of νηστισιμα / fasting.

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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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 →

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!

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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 →

Black Eyed Beans / Μαυρομάτικα

black eyed beans with celery and thyme

black eyed beans with celery and thyme

This classic Greek dish is a lovely, light soup with the perfect bean flavor-pairing of celery and fresh thyme. Also known as ‘louvi xero’, black eyed beans (μαυρομάτικα) swimming in bowl of delicate tomato broth is one of the most delicious bean soups you will ever enjoy.

A few simple ingredients with  quick prep and you have this one-pot-wonder on the table in 30 minutes. Just cover your dried beans with water to soak in the morning and they’ll be ready to pop into your recipe in the evening.  Fast, easy, amazing is this authentic and so very tasty 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 →

Ladopsomo / Fried Bread

ladopsomo / fried bread

ladopsomo / fried bread

A seamstress who worked for my father many years ago would bring me ladopsomo when she knew I was coming in to the store. Wrapped in aluminum foil and sprinkled with white sugar, I would be licking my lips the minute I spied that small silver packet next to her sewing machine!

Ladopsomo is simply fried bread and a more delicious result of a handful of plain ingredients there never will be.  Most countries have a version of fried bread or fried dough.  In Greece, it can be served as a side to savory or sweet dishes or stand on its own as the perfect snack. Ladopsomo is light, fluffy 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 →

Braised Leeks

braised leeks

braised leeks

Leeks are Greek to me!  They’re everywhere in Greece and in Greek cooking.  Braised leeks are my favorite way to make them because its one of the few recipes where the leeks are allowed to stand alone and really shine.

Just a few ingredients including white wine, lemon and thyme and you have tender, sweet, beautiful braised leeks on your plate in less than 20 minutes from start to finish. Quick, easy, lovely Continue Reading →

Loukoumades

loukoumades with sweet syrup and chopped walnuts

loukoumades with sweet syrup and chopped walnuts

Light, airy, puffs of fried dough drizzled in sweet syrup and sprinkled with chopped walnuts – have I got your attention yet? Loukoumades are AMAZING, its that simple.

As a child, I asked for these every year on my birthday.  First my Yiayia made them for me and after she passed away, my dad took over and now I make them for my birthday guests.  These are a bit of a special occasion desert  but I will admit to making them Continue Reading →

Pickled Red Cabbage

red cab coverI first tasted (and loved!) pickled red cabbage on the island of Chios. Piled high next to a basket of crusty bread, I was hooked from the first forkful. The simple, delicious dish comes from Smyrna (now in Turkey). It was brought over to Chios and the Dodecanese islands by refugees of the Smyra fire after 1922. The spices definitely have that Asia Minor flair and pickled red cabbage was a favorite during the lenten period leading up to Christmas. It’s definitely a festive looking dish!

Red cabbage pickles up super quickly – no waiting a month or more before eating, just a week and you’re ready to enjoy. This traditional recipe is a great Continue Reading →

Tomato Soup / Vτοματόσουπα

served with toasted bread and red pepper flakes

served with toasted bread and red pepper flakes

This traditional tomato soup is the consummate comfort food.  Its creamy and chunky and packed with so many delicious flavors! Simple ingredients and a quick, straightforward prep produce the most amazing results – one spoonful and you’ll be addicted. Get out your bottomless bowls for this dish!

The secret to this incredibly creamy, spoon coating soup – an olive oil roux! So smooth and decadently Continue Reading →

Lagana Bread (λαγάνα)

lagana with rosemary olive oil

lagana with rosemary olive oil

There’s nothing like the aroma of fresh baking bread as it fills the house.  My great uncle would always tell us that during times of famine you could fill half of your hunger with the smell of baking bread even before eating it.

Lagana is a traditional flatbread usually baked for Clean Monday (Καθαρά Δευτέρα) or Kathara Defthera, the first day of Great Lent before Easter. For those fasting most strictly, lagana is made without oil.  For those less strict, olive oil is used and never any dairy products.  Sesame seeds are the most common topping and often fresh or dried herbs are added for Continue Reading →

Greek Green Beans / Fasolakia

Greek green beans

Greek green beans / fasolakia

I visited a friends house after school once and her mom asked if I liked green beans, she was serving them with dinner. I said, yes I loved them! Well, that was before I sat down to eat a side of soggy, grey-green canned beans. Yuk! Green beans to me were soft and tender and swimming in tomato, garlic and olive oil.

You’ll be surprised how simple these are to prepare and how melt in your mouth delicious they are. This recipe is based on 2 lbs of green beans and can easily be doubled or tripled with perfect results. Make sure to have 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 →

Spanakorizo (Spinach and Rice)

spanakorizo / spinach and rice

Such a healthy, hearty, tasty dish – this meal can be on your table in less than 40 minutes. Spanakorizo (Σπανακόριζο) is traditionally served as both a main and side dish. Pair it with a wedge of lemon and a piece of bread, this dish is delicious right off the stove or served at room temperature.

Guaranteed to become one of your go-to Greek vegan and Meatless Monday recipes, spanakorizo is another great option for take-to-work/school lunch.  I use fresh spinach probably 90% of the time but in a pinch, Continue Reading →

Skordalia with Roasted Garlic

Skordalia with Roasted Peppers and Olives

How delicious does this look? Skordalia is found in almost every Greek household, made with just a few common ingredients and so good. It’s such a versatile dish you’ll find yourself spreading it on sandwiches, veggies or just tucking into a big bowlful with crusty bread.

Many years ago, because skordalia is traditionally made with raw garlic (recipe for traditional version here), my father had to make some adjustments to this dish before our young and Americanized palates would tolerate it. By simply substituting roasted garlic for raw, he retained much of the healthy goodness and original ingredients but with a much more subtle garlic flavor. Continue Reading →

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