Greek food is fresh, healthy and so full of flavor, and best of all, Greek cuisine has so many vegetarian dishes – I love it! I have been dreaming of a trip to Greece(hopefully in 2021) to explore the ancient temples, soak in the caldera views and try all the food in Greece. I’m going to be eating all the Moussaka, Loukoumades, Souvlaki and obviously some Greek salad with feta and olives… I bet there are so many more Greek foods to discover than what is on this list of foods to try in Greece.
1. Greek Salad with Olives, Feta & other Cheeses
You can’t think of going to Greece without having some refreshing Greek salad with Greek olives and feta cheese, can you? Probably one of the most well-known foods from Greece. I have eaten plenty of Greek salads but a plate of green in Greece with fresh Feta, a drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of herbs is going to be just divine!
Feta is a Greek brined curd white cheese made from sheep’s milk or from a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk.
Another Greek dish to try is saganaki, an appetizer of fried cheese which is prepared in a small frying pan and served with a slice of lemon.
Sometimes shaped into a patty, sometimes as a lightly fried ball, Kolokithokeftedes is served as a mezze (appetizer) and eaten as a starter. The fritter is usually made from grated or puréed zucchini (courgette) blended with dill, mint, or other secret spice combinations. It is delicious greek food eaten with tzatziki.
If you love zucchini, you might also want to try this other food in Greece – kolokithakia tiganita aka fried zucchini chips (pronounced koh-loh-kee-THAHK-yah tee-ghah-nee-TAH ). Now say that three times 😉
Spanakopita is another delicious mezze, a savory pie made of crispy layers of phyllo dough and a comforting filling of spinach and feta cheese. This Greek dish is made of spinach, feta cheese, onions, egg, and seasoning all wrapped up in filo (or phyllo) dough, which is a thin, unleavened dough commonly used in pastries. The filo dough is wrapped around the filling in layers to create a crisp, flaky package. When cooked to a golden buttery crunch it is divine! Spanakopita is my favorite Greek food!
Stuffed grapevine leaves are known as Dolmades and are served as an appetizer or a main course. Each region in Greece has its own variation on dolmades. Sometimes it is wrapped into a classic vine leaf parcel, or served in a hollowed-out vegetable such as tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini, stuffed but always baked in the oven. The stuffing often consists of minced meat with long-grain rice. Vegetarian versions are packed with rice flavored with herbs like thyme, dill, fennel, and oregano. Pine nuts can also be used.
5. Souvlaki, Kebabs, Gyros & Grilled Meat
Souvlaki is a popular Greek food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. Where gyros ( YEE-ros ) are cooked as vertical cones of meat, the souvlaki meat is cooked horizontally, on skewers that are rotated on a grill. Both are wrapped into a pita along with some feta cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and tzatziki. It is usually eaten as fast food dishes and a must-eat food in Greece.
Lamb is another specialty in Greece, especially Kleftiko which was originally cooked in an earth oven, which was literally a small pit in the ground, used to trap heat and smoke.
6. Greek Dips – Tzatziki, Fava, Melitzanosalata…
Eaten as spreads, dips, or as part of a mezze. Greek dips come in glorious varieties. They make a marvelous addition to any meal. Greece is famous for its many dips like Tzatziki, Skordalia (garlic dip), Taramosalata (fish roe purée), fava (almost like hummus but better).
My favorite Greek dip is tzatziki (pronounced dza-dzee-kee). A great accompaniment to meats or good just on some pita bread this traditional dip known and loved around the world. This creamy dip is made with Greek yogurt, cucumber, and garlic.
Fava is a traditional Greek dish flavored with onions and cooked and served with olive oil, usually at room temperature as a mezze (small plates with nibbles, spreads, salads, vegetables, meat and cheese dishes). Much like hummus but better is what I hear.
Melitzanosalata (melitzana means ‘eggplant’) is another great Greek dip. It can be eaten as a side dish or be eaten on its own or serve as an appetizer.
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Pastitsio is a traditional food eaten for dinner in Greece. It’s a Greek version of lasagna with a white and creamy béchamel sauce used in place of marinara and has a hint of cinnamon. But this Greek dish is made with tubular pasta like bucatini instead of pasta sheets.
Moussaka contains eggplant and potatoes but it doesn’t have a pasta base like the Pastitsio. Both recipes include a creamy baked béchamel sauce as the topping and vegetables, and/or meat filling.
Loukoumades are little bite-sized balls that are fried and soaked in sweet honey. The Greek version of donuts or donut holes! Loukoumades are traditionally served soaked in hot honey syrup, sprinkled with cinnamon, and garnished with chopped walnuts or toasted sesame seeds. Sounds like we will be eating these Loukoumades for breakfast, snack and dessert!
These Greek desserts are not to be missed are best eaten fresh, so make sure you pop into a restaurant or bakery to try them. These days there is a modern twist to these Greek desserts. Lukumades, as they are called, can be found with unique fillings, such as chocolate praline, banana cream, and topped with honey, white or milk chocolate, agave syrup! Double Yum!!
Baklava is a rich, super sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup, frosting or honey. I have so many versions of these Greek pastries over the years, traditionally made with walnuts but sometimes with pistachios or cashews.
I’m not sure if ouza is had as an aperitif before food or as a digestive, maybe both! It is an anise-flavored drink widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus. It’s said to taste is similar to other anise liquors like sambuca. On my list of foods to try in Greece. Drinks are food too, especially when they are medicinal, right?!
One other item on my Greece Travel wishlist is snapping a photo of an Octopus hung out to dry along the harbors. I’m not even sure why it is on my list, I don’t eat meat, let alone octopuses! But somehow I have an image of these Octopus sunning in Greece stuck in my head. I have heard that grilled or marinated, they make a fine appetizer, or as a main course stewed in wine. I’m just after the photo and dreaming of devouring the Greek foods in this list when we visit Greece!
I’m not exactly sure what is eaten for breakfast in Greece, but I bet there will be some good coffee, a few Loukoumades, and some Greek yogurt sweetened with local honey piled with fruits!
Ahhh I’m dreaming of waking up to the morning sun in Santorini… someday, someday soon I will be there! Have you been to Greece? What other foods should I try in Greece?
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