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10 Greek Recipes for Summer Vegetables


Greece is famous for dishes that feature fresh, ripe vegetables, and the summer bounty is the perfect opportunity to make some of her most well-loved dishes. Summer vegetables are roasted, stuffed, fried, boiled, sautéed, and eaten raw. The list of summer vegetables is long, and the list of fabulous dishes is endless, so I've pared the list down to ten of my personal favorites.

1. Nikki Rose's Briam - Roasted Summer Vegetables

Photo of Greek Briam - Roasted Summer Vegetables
Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com
This medley of oven-roasted summer vegetables is a Greek classic. Perfect as a meatless main dish, it's also a delicious side dish with grilled fish or lamb chops. Briam features eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, garlic, onions, and tomatoes, and Nikki's recipe adds the taste of cumin, cayenne pepper, and some artichokes (optional). Delicious! Briam is an easy dish to make, and takes about one hour to cook.

2. Greek Stuffed Vegetables - Yemista

Photo of Greek Stuffed Vegetables - Yemista
Photo © Jim Stanfield
Almost always called "yemista" (or "gemista," pronounced yeh-mee-STAH) which means "stuffed," tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and even potatoes are fabulous choices for summer dining. Choose your filling - meat with rice, rice with herbs, rice with vegetables - there's a wide choice for all tastes. Stuff some of each vegetable, or pick one or two to match your preference.

3. Batter-Fried Zucchini

Photo of Greek Batter-Fried Zucchini
Photo © Jim Stanfield
Celebrate the zucchini of summer with this recipe for zucchini fried in a batter made with soda water. The combination of thinly sliced zucchini, the lightest of batters, and hot oil, create a delightful airy and crunchy dish. Serve as an appetizer, meze, or side dish.

4. Green Bean & Tomato Casserole

Photo of Greek Green Bean and Tomato Casserole
Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com
The focus is on the freshest of green beans and tomatoes for this simple, healthy, and delicious stovetop casserole. The recipe is from Thebes and calls for a touch of onion and garlic. Serve as a meatless main dish or side dish.

5. Spicy Stuffed Sweet Peppers with Feta

Photo of Greek Spicy Stuffed Bull's Horn Peppers with Feta
Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Bell peppers are not the only peppers of summer, and this recipe is a great one for another type of pepper. It calls for bull's horn (or Anaheim or Cubanelle) peppers (long and tapered, light green in color, sweet), hot red peppers, and feta cheese. It is a specialty in the shadows of Mount Olympos, where it is served as a meze with a locally made spirit. Serve it as an appetizer, meze, or side dish. The recipe is quick and easy.

6. Leeks and Rice - Prasoryzo

Photo of Greek Leeks with Rice - Prasoryzo
Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Leeks are often overlooked, but they are tasty, beautifully green, with a distinctive taste all their own. This member of the onion family is used in many recipes with meats, but this rice side dish is one of my favorites - and easy to make.

7. Boiled Dark Leafy Greens

Photo of Greek Horta - Boiled Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
Photo © Jim Stanfield
This is your chance to get those dark leafy greens to the table in a new way that appeals to diners of all ages! Spinach, Collard Greens, Amaranth (Vlita), Mustard Greens, Chicory... the list is endless. The recipe is easy and simple. The greens are drizzled with olive oil and topped with a squeeze of lemon juice. A very traditional Greek dish, Horta can be served as a main dish, side dish, or salad, and served hot, at room temperature, or chilled. Great for family dinners, picnics, and midnight snacks with a piece of feta cheese on the side.

8. Classic Spinach Pie with Feta Cheese - Spanakopita

Photo of Greek Spinach Pie with Feta Cheese - Spanakopita
Photo © Jim Stanfield
Dark leafy greens are summer vegetables, and wonderfully healthy. Spinach is perhaps the most-used leafy green, and spinach pie is always a favorite. This recipe is one of the easiest of the filled phyllo pies to make, and calls for commercial phyllo sheets. Serve as a snack, a side dish, or even as a main dish.

9. Classic Greek Country Salad

Photo of Classic Greek Country Salad - Horiatiki Salata
Photo © Jim Stanfield
Save your ripest and most aromatic tomatoes for this traditional salad that showcases tomatoes and cucumbers (optionally, small peperoncini peppers). Summer vine-ripened tomatoes smell like tomatoes even before they are cut, so if you have unripened tomatoes on hand, wait until they ripen completely before making the salad!

10. Classic Greek Moussaka with Eggplant

Photo of Classic Greek Moussaka with Eggplant
Photo © Jim Stanfield
And to round out the list of my favorite dishes featuring summer vegetables, Moussaka, perhaps the most famous Greek dish made with eggplant. Moussaka is not a light dish, but it is definitely on the summer menu in restaurants and homes all over Greece... and in other countries as well. Layers of alternating eggplant and a ground meat and tomato sauce are topped with a decadent cream sauce. Not to be missed! Not a fan of meat? Try the recipe for a (lighter) Vegetarian Moussaka that highlights eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes.

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