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Classic & Traditional Greek Recipes

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From simple grilled foods and vegetable dishes to rich layered casseroles and delicate pastries, Greek food is a wonderful mix of dishes that appeal to all tastes. The traditions of healthy country cooking have been expanded over the centuries, and today, Greece is famous for a diverse range of family meals, holiday foods, and elaborate presentation dishes.
  1. The Meze (Appetizers & Starters)
  2. The Kolatsio (Snacks & Street Food)
  3. Ancient Greek Recipes
  4. Classic Greek Recipes
  5. Traditional Greek Sweets
  6. Family Meals
  7. Traditional Holiday & Special Occasion Meals & Recipes
  1. Regional Specialties
  2. Cookouts, Picnics, Parties
  3. Favorite & Most Popular Greek Foods
  4. Seasonal Recipes
  5. Step-by-Step Recipes with Photos
  6. Advanced Cooking Techniques with Photos

The Meze (Appetizers & Starters)

Stuffed Grape Leaves

More than appetizers (orektika in Greek), although the dishes are often the same, the meze is an accompaniment to beverages - usually alcoholic - and mezethes (plural) are often combined to make an entire meal. Each meze is served on a small plate (more than one plate for a large group), and the choice of what to serve is limitless. From a small plate of leftovers or sliced tomatoes, cheeses, and cucumbers, to prepared dishes, the meze speaks to hospitality. Here are some favorite mezethes.

The Kolatsio (Snacks & Street Food)

Greek Spanakopita - Spinach and Cheese Pie

Pronounced koh-laht-seeYOH, the word means "snack," but for many, the kolatsio is as regular as any meal. Because Greeks generally don't eat a big breakfast, and because mealtimes are often delayed - dinner in mid-afternoon, supper in late evening - a kolatsio in late morning has become routine for many. Here are favorite snack dishes, many of which are also street foods that can be found on almost every corner in Greek cities and towns. In the Greek tradition, desserts are very light so heavy sweets are often eaten as kolatsio. Try these dishes as snacks, or as breakfast, brunch, or dessert dishes.

Ancient Greek Recipes

Marinated Bulbs

Ancient Greek foods were cooked more simply than today, but in much the same way: roasting, baking, boiling, stewing, etc. Without electricity or gas, cooking was done over open fires or in wood-burning ovens.

Classic Greek Recipes

Classic Greek Moussaka

Ask someone about Greek food, and some version of all or most of these dishes will be mentioned. They range from the very simple to the complex, and all bring to mind images of Greece with its hills of olive groves and vineyards, flocks of sheep and goats, beaches, antiquities, and whitewashed homes with red tile roofs - not to mention its churches, arts, music, and wonderful people.

Traditional Greek Sweets

Baklava with Walnuts & Almonds

From light flaky confections to syrupy cookies, cakes, pastries, and preserves, Greeks love their sweets. Desserts (called "epithorpia" in Greek) are almost always light dishes of fruit, cheese, yogurt, etc. Cookies, biscotti, and coffee cake-style cakes are eaten as "kolatsio" (see above), served with coffee, tea, and milk. And traditional sweets ("glyka" in Greek) are most often eaten as in-between meal treats and to celebrate special occasions.

Family Meals

Fried Fish with Garlic Puree

From the simplicity of grains, legumes, and grilled foods with a sprinkling of herbs, to stovetop and oven casseroles, the many and diverse elements of what we call "traditional" Greek family cooking excite the senses. Along with common geography and climate, Greece shares many culinary traditions with its neighbors; but, as do other countries, Greece brings its own flavor and passion to foods that serve as the focal point for family and social gatherings. The most important events in Greek life take place around a table of good food.

Traditional Holiday & Special Occasion Meals & Recipes

Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Traditional Greek cooking is strongly influenced by the Greek Orthodox faith. It is estimated that approximately 90% of the Greek population follows the faith and, at least on major religious occasions, follows its dietary guidelines. Those who adhere strictly to these guidelines will abstain from eating cheese, meat, and fish (among other foods) for over 180 days a year. The Great Lent and Easter are the major religious observances, and traditions have changed little over the centuries.

Regional Specialties

Sugared Almond Cookies - Kourabiethes

Many Greek recipes are prepared in all parts of the country, but each area is known for its unique variations. From the hot spicy dishes of Corfu to the snails of Crete to the strongly Turkish-influenced dishes of Thrace, come explore regional favorites from every corner of the country.

Cookouts, Picnics, Parties

Celebrate Great Food with Friends and Family

Whether it's a simple family outing at the beach or a fabulous Greek-themed party, here are menu and recipe ideas for gatherings of all sorts. The Greek love of food is perhaps only surpassed by the love of family and friends. A great combination!

Favorite & Most Popular Greek Foods

Photo of Cynthia Daddona and Melina Kanakaredes

Stars and celebrities and site visitors weigh in on their favorite Greek recipes, and your Guide has recommendations as well. Some are well known, and others may have names that are new and unusual, but they have one thing in common: they're all delicious!

Seasonal Recipes

Grilled Summer Vegtables

Traditional Greek cooking fully celebrates the seasons. Fresh fruit and vegetables are part of every traditional Greek cook's life. Today, refrigeration, freezing, and transportation of fresh produce around the world have changed the availability of these items, but no matter how you look at it, fresh and ripe are best - for cooking and preserving. Here are recipes for fruit and vegetables at their peak.

Step-by-Step Recipes with Photos

Photo of Melitzanes Papoutsakia - Stuffed Eggplant

It isn't only the Greek names for dishes that can be daunting. Greek recipes may involve new ways of putting food together to create the tastes you love. These easy-to-follow recipes walk through the preparation and cooking, through to the final dish.

Advanced Cooking Techniques with Photos

Rolling Out Phyllo Dough

Learn how to stuff and roll grape leaves, how to roll out homemade phyllo and fold the many shapes of phyllo dough (homemade and commercial), and much more. Techniques include photos, tips, and recipes.

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