Join us on a culinary journey across Greece as we indulge in the exquisite flavors of these six traditional recipes. From stuffed vegetables, filled with rice, onions, and herbs, to deliciously grilled sardines, marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and herbs, we’ve picked out some of our favorite summertime dishes, which, with a bit of patience, can be made at home.
There is something for everyone here, from meat-eaters and fish-eaters to vegetarians and vegans, and, depending on where you are in the world, most of the following ingredients can be easily sourced in your local supermarket or deli. If not, don’t be afraid to throw in a local substitute. After all, Greek food is rustic to the core, famed for its simple, locally sourced, and seasonal ingredients.
Remember: food is a way of life in Greece. It’s made to be savored and, most of all, shared. Be sure to take your time preparing these dishes and invite as many of your friends and family around to enjoy them!
Horiatiki – Greek Salad
The humble Greek salad, also known as “Horiatiki” (literally “village” or “rustic” salad), made its first appearance during the tourism boom of the 1960s and ’70s. It contains the perfect combination of ingredients to make it a full and wholesome meal: lots of vitamins and fiber from the vegetables, carbohydrates and more fiber from the accompanying rusk, fatty acids from the olive oil, electrolytes from the salt (crucial in summertime), and a good dose of protein from the feta cheese.
While horiatiki is not a product of any specific region in Greece, its mouthwatering combination of summer ingredients has made it a household staple.
Click here for our classic recipe.
A beloved vegetarian dish, gemista (literally “stuffed”) is a tasty recipe that combines fresh vegetables (usually tomatoes and/or peppers) with aromatic herbs. It’s one of the most famous recipes in the “ladera” category of Greek cuisine, vegetables dishes cooked in olive oil, and is especially popular among vegetarian and vegan visitors to Greece.
We won’t lie, it’s a relatively demanding recipe, and you’ll need to follow each stage carefully, but we think the burst of Mediterranean flavors you’ll get at the end is well worth the effort.
Serve gemista warm, accompanied by crusty bread and feta cheese for a truly authentic Greek experience.
Here’s the recipe from renowned chef Christoforos Pescias, complete with all his secrets to make the perfect gemista with pine nuts and raisins.
Fasolakia – Green Beans in Oil
Another ladera classic, fasolakia is a delicious medley of green beans sautéed in onions, tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs, and copious amounts of olive oil (seriously, don’t skimp on the olive oil!). Vegan and gluten-free, this dish bursts with flavor, and can be enjoyed as a main meal or as a side dish.
Like all ladera dishes, it can be served with feta cheese and bread.
Check out our traditional fasolakia recipe here.
Stuffed Zucchini with Egg-Lemon Sauce
Like gemista, stuffed zucchini can be a bit tricky. It is often thought of as a formal dish, served by Athenians at Sunday family lunches, but it’s wonderfully versatile, and can be made with or without minced meat.
The instructions for preparing egg-lemon sauce (“avgolemono”) can strike fear into the hearts of amateur cooks, but it dresses a plethora of other Greek dishes, so it’s a good opportunity to get your head around how to make it. In this instance, it’s used to add flavor and depth to a great summer vegetable.
Click here for our easy-to-follow recipe.
Keftedakia – Fried Meatballs
Tender, bite-sized treats, perfect for dipping in tzatziki (salted yogurt and cucumber dip) or enjoyed alongside a hearty portion of Greek salad, keftedakia, aka fried Greek meatballs, are a must-try for meat lovers. A summertime classic, they’re impossible not to love – juicy and fragrant, fried in olive oil, crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside, the perfect meal after a long day at the beach. And kids love them, too!
Click here for chef Christoforos Peskias’ mouthwatering recipe.
Ah, the humble sardine, Nature’s “super fish.” This small bundle of goodness is packed with calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids and other vital nutrients, making it just about one of the healthiest things on the planet to eat.
This simple yet delicious dish, which can be enjoyed as a stand-alone meal, served with a salad and/or a side dish of leafy greens, or as part of seafood meze, is the epitome of Greek seaside cuisine. Quick and easy to prepare, they’re best paired with a glass of ouzo by the sea!
Click here for our recipe of this delicious summertime classic.