A trip to the gorgeous Mediterranean country of Greece will mean a chance to indulge in the most incredible traditional delicacies. Most Greek dishes contain at least some meat, seafood and fresh vegetables and have have noticeable influences from Eastern and Western cultures.
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Most Popular Greek Dishes
A lot of care is taken in the preparation of Freek dishes; fresh ingredients are important and cooking methods are often inherited from previous generations. It is not uncommon for a Greek family to enjoy five meals on any given day and to spend hours enjoying a meal.
So without further ado here are the absolute must-try, most popular traditional Greek dishes along with recipes for you to try yourself at home.
Dolmades are an accompaniment to the main meal comprised of rice, meat, or vegetables stuffed in grape leaves or vine. This forms a parcel before being slowly steamed to perfection.
Moussaka is a dish consisting of a layered mix of aubergine, minced lamb, potatoes, and onions. It is topped with a béchamel sauce that is very creamy.
Gyros are a traditional greek Kebab made with pork meat, wrapped in a pita bread. Often french fries are added to the pita too, other times they come on the side.
The spiced pork meat is traditionally cooked on a vertical rotisserie and the finished kebab is garnished with coleslaw, onions and tzatziki.
Koulouri is large circular Greek bread that majorly contains a sesame seed crust. Other sprinklings that may be used on the crust include sunflower seeds, flax seeds, or poppy seeds.
It is a popular street food that can be found in vendors around Thessaloniki or Athens. It is often munched alongside a delicious cup of coffee.
You can enjoy a plain one or you can go for one that is stuffed with cheese or a Nutella look-alike known as Merenda. The Koulouri shape may be a simple large ring or braided bread.
If you fancy some sweet food, go for the Baklava. This small sweet pastry is not only loved in Greece, but can be found in the Middle East, and Turkey as well.
Baklava is a pastry that is dosed in honey, frosting, or syrup, and layered with crushed nuts. Nuts most commonly used in Greece are almonds, although walnuts may also be used. Pistachios are also used especially in the northern part of the country.
Kolokithokeftedes (Zucchini Balls)
Kolokithokeftedes or Courgette Balls are a blend of feta cheese and a dash of fresh mint. They are enjoyed s started and will be a welcome sight in most restaurants.
If you bite into a crispy ball on the outside and creamy goodness explodes in your mouth then you will have enjoyed an original kolokithokeftedes.
Makaronia Me Kima
If you fancy some pasta and meat, you should try out the Makaronia Me Kima, a rival to the Italian spaghetti bolognese!
Makaronia Me Kima comprises quality minced meat, freshly chopped onions, olive oil, and a dash of tomato sauce. Once the pasta is ready, the meat is added, and it is topped off with grated Kefalotyri cheese.
Garides saganaki is an appetizer that comprises of sautéed shrimp, a rich helping of tomato sauce and a healthy dribble of crumbled feta cheese.
This dish can be accompanied by pita triangles or bread.
Tirokroketses are another delicious mezze or appetizer from Greece. They are fried cheese balls-as simple as that, but their deliciousness is not a simple matter
Marathopites (Syros Fennel Pie)
A unique combination of fennel and dough is what makes the Marathopita an interesting dish. The simple dough is just the gateway to delicious goodness.
Inside, the dough is packed with wild greens, a dash of olive oil, and fresh herbs. This healthy snack can be enjoyed any time of the day.
The herbs and vegetables are placed in the center of the dough, pinched into a ball, rolled and fried. You can find plenty of Marathopites in Syros and Crete.
Yemista takes stuffed vegetables to another level. This dish very simply comprises of stuffed tomatoes with filings such as herbs or rice. It can also be stuffed with minced meat and baked till brownish in color or ready. You will have a busting juicy vegetable when ready!
You may also use green peppers instead of tomatoes.
Arni me patates sto fourno
The Arni me patates sto fourno comprises of a leg of lamb and potatoes. The two main ingredients are marinated in fresh herbs and olive oil before being oven-roasted.
This dish usually makes an appearance on the Greek table on special occasions such as family gatherings. A dash of lemon juice is used for an added twist.
Tulumba, also known as Pomba, Bamiyeh or Balaḥ ash-Shām, is a deep-fried dessert.
It prepared using an unleavened dough lump, which is shaped as a small ovoid and includes ridges lengthways. It is shaped with the help of a pastry bag or cookie press, which has a fitting end part.
Tulumba is initially deep-fried to give this dessert a golden colour, and then sugar-sweet syrup is added on top while it’s still hot.
The Fasolatha is made using white beans, a variety of vegetables, and herbs. It includes carrots, onions, celery, bay leaves, parsley, tomatoes, and thyme. Fasolatha is another simple yet deliciously filling Greek dish.
Stifado is a rich meat stew made using tomatoes, onions, vinegar, wine and a variety of spices. It can also be improved with a dose of cinnamon.
Keftedes are meatballs are served on a bed of creamy sauce and can be enjoyed with pita bread. They are usually served as an appetizer however if you wish to eat the meatballs as a meal then you can accompany them with Greek feta salad and rice.
Kataifi is a baked dessert made of buttered dough filled with nuts and spices which is then drenched in syrup. The pastry dough begins as a thin batter which is poured into fine strands then cooked. The cooked pastry resembles vermicelli.
While in Greece, unless you are not a fan of cheese, you will be impressed by all the fresh cheese. Whether you are into creamy feta cheese or hard cheese, you will undoubtedly find some incredible cheeses to enjoy in Greece.
If you don’t eat anything else, be sure to try out charcoal-grilled meat. The Greeks take roasted meat to a whole other level. This simple yet delicious meat comprises of meat such as pork, lamb, or goat.
The diced meat pieces are placed on skewers and roasted to perfection. They are served on a bed of pita bread, with a good dose of onions, and chopped tomatoes.
The most common grilled meat is the Souvlaki which is grilled pork served with salad, rice, pita bread, and tzatziki(a blend of yogurt, mint, and cucumber).
Bekri Meze (Drunken Pork Stew)
Bekri Meze (or Drunken Pork Stew) is a stew dish of pork that is browned and then cooked in wine, tomatoes and cumin, along with other optional ingredients depending on where it is made. It is commonly served with potatoes in some form, often fries or mash.
Burek covers a range of pastry dishes made by layering thin phyllo dough, with fillings such as cheese, minced meat, spinach and seasonings, along with a creamy egg yogurt mixture which is baked into a crispy and flaky pie-like dish.
Ktipiti is a creamy dip made with feta cheese and fresh red bell peppers. This dip has a Greek yogurt base and is seasoned with a mixture of lemon juice, dill, oregano, and raw garlic. It is a Greek meze, or appetizer, and is often used as a dip for toasted flatbreads such as pita.
Revani is a traditional cake which is popular throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean. It usually contains, flour, yogurt, eggs, sugar, baking powder and semolina. After baking, the cake is soaked in a light syrup before serving.