Greek Cuisine: 16 Traditional Foods of Greece

Souvlaki

A trip to the gorgeous Mediterranean country of Greece will mean a chance to indulge in the most incredible traditional foods, delicacies and dishes. Most Greek dishes contain at least some seafood and fresh vegetables and have have noticeable influences from Eastern and Western cultures.

A visit to most Greek homes and you will be mesmerized by all the fresh food being served. A lot of care is taken in the preparation of 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, expect to spend hours enjoying a given meal if you visit!

So without further ado let’s have a deep dive into Greek cuisine with some of the most delicious traditional dishes.

Dolmades

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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

Moussaka
Photo credit: Alpha

Moussaka is a delicious layered mix of aubergine, minced lamb, potatoes, and onions. It is topped with a mouth-watering béchamel sauce that is very creamy. 

If aubergine or eggplants don’t whet your whistle then you can try a Moussaka comprising of zucchini or any combination of vegetables.

Koulouri

Koulouri

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.

Baklava

Baklava

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. 

Every bite of Baklava will leave flaky pastry trying to escape your mouth!

Kolokithokeftedes (Zucchini Balls)

Kolokithokeftedes

Kolokithokeftedes or Courgette Balls are an interesting 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

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

Garides Saganaki

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.

Tirokroketes

Tirokroketes

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

Yemista
Photo credit: Alpha

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

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.

Fasolatha

Fasolatha

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

Stifado
Photo credit: Alpha

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 (Meatballs)

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Photo credit: Alpha

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. 

Cheese

Feta cheese salad

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. 

Grilled meat

Souvlaki

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).

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