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Recipes for Greek Food Beginners

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New to Greek food? Learn about cooking in different ways with different ingredients in this selection of recipes. Whether to prepare a first complete meal, offer mezethes to friends, or just add one new dish to a home-cooked meal, this is a great place to start.

These recipes utilize several cooking techniques, from simple stirring to stovetop and oven-baked casseroles, and ingredients that are perennial favorites in Greek homes.

Tip: A slice of feta brings the taste of Greece to any table.

1. Tzatziki: Yogurt, Cucumber, and Garlic Dip or Sauce

Photo of Traditional Greek Tzatziki Yogurt Garlic and Cucumber Dip
Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Tzatziki is an easy no-cook dish to prepare and is a great multipurpose choice. The combination of yogurt, cucumber, and garlic gives it a refreshing taste and texture. It can be served as an appetizer dip with breads, crackers, or fresh veggies, or as a condiment sauce with meats and other recipes like stuffed vegetables.

2. Hot Pepper Cheese Dip - Tyrokafteri

Hot Pepper Cheese Dip - Tyrokafteri
Photo © Jim Stanfield
For a cheese meze, this tangy-to-hot (depending on the pepper used) spread is a great choice to add a different flavor to a grouping of other less spicy dishes, and it's also good with cold meat. Sautéing and stirring are the only techniques involved here.

3. Country Sausage & Red Peppers - Spetzofai

Greek Spetzofai - Photo of Greek Sausage Meze
Photo © Jim Stanfield
Meat jumps into the mix with spicy country sausage in this recipe that can be served as an appetizer or meze, or as a main dish. The sausage, peppers, garlic, and a dash of wine always surprise me when they blend so perfectly every time with little intervention. A good way to learn how the right simple combination of ingredients can simmer together to create magic.

4. Greek Country Salad

Greek Salad
Photo © Jim Stanfield
The basic salad to accompany almost any meal, this recipe for the classic Greek salad contains no mysteries, but do look for good ripe tomatoes. This needs a great quality Greek extra virgin olive oil. If you're not sure about what olive oil to look for, check my olive oil buying advice.

5. Batter-Fried Zucchini

Batter-Fried Zucchini
Photo © Jim Stanfield
These fried zucchini are often served as an appetizer/meze as well as a side dish. Soda water in the batter makes them delightfully airy and crunchy. A simple recipe for a delicious dish. The only trick to this dish is to slice the zucchini thinly. Use a mandoline or long knife to make quick accurate cuts.

6. Dilled Peas with Peppers

Photo of Greek Dilled Peas with Peppers
Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com, Inc.
This is another one of those dishes where you just put everything in a pot and it makes its own magic. Peas, lots of fresh dill, red and green peppers, and green onions simply cook together without interference to make one of my favorite side dishes.

7. Green Beans with Tomatoes - Fassolakia Freska me Domata

Green Bean and Tomato Casserole
Photo © Jim Stanfield
A wonderful side dish, this is also an excellent choice as a main dish for vegetarians and vegans. Use your favorite type of "string" bean, and be sure to serve this one with plenty of crusty bread. This is classic Greek stovetop casserole cooking, and a delightful way to learn this technique with delicious results.

8. Grilled Pork Kebabs - Pork Souvlaki

Pork Souvlaki - Grilled Pork Kebabs
Photo © Jim Stanfield
Of all the versions of souvlaki - skewered kebabs - pork is the most frequently used meat in Greece, and a favorite of Greeks and visitors alike. This is an easy recipe to make, and even easier to eat.

9. Beef & Pasta Casserole - Moshari Yiouvetsi

Yiouvetsi - Greek Beef and Pasta Casserole
Photo © Jim Stanfield
This is one of my personal favorites, and a great way to start with oven-baked casseroles that are so common in Greek cooking. Whether you use a traditional yiouvetsi (fired clay casserole pot) or another type of oven-proof casserole dish, this oven-to-table main dish is sure to please.

10. Yogurt with Honey

Photo of Greek Yogurt & Honey Dessert
Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Quick, easy, good for the digestive system, and the perfect end to a Greek meal, yogurt with honey is a favorite everyday dessert in Greece. (If creamy, thick Greek yogurt isn't available at your market, you can make your own thick yogurt using commercial full fat, lowfat, or nonfat yogurt.)
Related Video
Spetzofai: Greek Sausage & Peppers
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