All posts tagged: healthy

Fasolada (Greek Bean Soup)

Considered a national dish of Greece, fasolada represents the country’s frugal and healthy style of cuisine all in one bowl. Made with a hearty combination of white beans, chopped vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, a handful of herbs, and a robust sauce, fasolada is a meal meant to last for days. Though fasolada is traditionally a thick soup, I like more sauce to mine, as I do with most soups and stews, because that equals more opportunity for bread dunking. And who doesn’t love carbs soaked in sauce? Complement fasolada with a salty side dish, such as anchovies, feta cheese or your favorite olive type. Save Print Fasolada (Greek Bean Soup) Recipe type: Vegetarian/Lenten Serves: 6-8 bowls   Fasolada, the national dish of Greece. Ingredients 16 oz white navy beans (I prefer medium or large sized) ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 yellow onions, diced 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds 4 celery stalks plus their leaves, chopped 5 garlic cloves, minced 16 oz tomato sauce (or tomato passata) 2 tablespoon tomato paste 6 …

Garbanzo Bean Greek Salad

Well composed and packed with flavorful ingredients, Greek salads can’t be beat. Those flavors, however, do have room to be elevated. Simply use all the Greek salad mixings (tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, olives, feta) as a base and add ingredients you enjoy. For me, the addition of garbanzo beans and avocados takes this classic to new heights and greater textures. Plus, both garbanzo beans and avocados are heart healthy and nutrient rich. This garbanzo bean Greek salad is especially perfect for those fasting from meat or dairy during Lent. Save Print Greek Garbanzo Bean Salad Recipe type: Vegetarian/Salad Serves: 2-4   Garbanzo bean salad: Loaded with vegetables, packed with nutrients, and tossed in a bright Greek dressing. Ingredients For the salad: 15 oz can garbanzo beans 1 English cucumber, optionally peeled and sliced in half 3 cups cherry and golden tomatoes, halved (or 4 diced tomatoes) 2 avocados, diced 1 green bell pepper, diced ½ red onion, diced ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives 8 oz of feta cheese (optional-serve on the side or mix in) For the …

Maroulosalata (romaine lettuce salad)

Say maroulosalata out loud ten times fast and you’re sure to chuckle to yourself into a wide smile as you stumble on the word begging to come out of your mouth. If you can’t get past the pronunciation, dig into the salad itself and let your taste buds do the talking. Maroulosalata is comprised of marouli (lettuce), green onions, and dill. Traditional maroulosalata calls for Romaine lettuce, but you are welcome to use any other curly lettuce. Using fresh dill adds zest to every bite and marries perfectly to the classic olive oil and vinegar dressing that’s drizzled throughout. It’s a light and easy to make salad that’s served year-round but is more common in the warmth of spring and summer months. Maroulosalata pairs well with halibut or any other fish seasoned with dill, or can be served as a main or side salad alongside other vegetable dishes. Save Print Maroulosalata (romaine lettuce salad) Recipe type: Salad/Meze   Ingredients 1 head of romaine lettuce, shredded or cut in ¼ inch ribbons 2 bunches of green onions, …

Psari Plaki (Baked Fish)

Seafood rules the tables of Greece. With so many islands and close mainland coastal waters, the Greeks have a bounty of choices to bake, fry, grill, or boil. It’s understandable, in a country of such passionate cooks, that everyone has a preference, and the different types of seafood often require different types of preparation. Sardines are best fried, octopus tastes great off the grill, and a boiled fish soup always hits the spot when cool winds blow in off the Aegean. Lucky for us, seafood reigns as all important in the Mediterranean diet all over the world. My personal favorite at home, when I have fresh cod or any other firm white fish: PSARI PLAKI. Baked fish never had it so good. Before taking a further bite out of this recipe, let’s break down the name. Psari simply means fish, while plaki refers to a dish baked in the oven with olive oil and vegetables. Onions, garlic, leeks, and celery are sliced and sautéed, then diced tomatoes are added to round out the flavors, creating …

Revithia (Garbanzo Bean Soup)

Revithia (garbanzo bean soup) is a hearty and flavorsome dish that’s easy to prepare and makes a perfect meal for wintery nights. My dad discovered this recipe on one of our visits to the island of Sifnos many years ago. Before that, he was not a fan of Garbanzo beans, but just one bite changed his ways. Two bowls later and he was asking the owner for the recipe. Just the revithia (garbanzo beans), onion and little else. On Sifnos they use dry garbanzo beans and bake everything in a ceramic baking dish overnight. You can do that too but it’s just as satisfying coming from the can and slow cooked on stovetop, which is what I like to do. Revithia may require few ingredients, but still allows for a lot of room to play with your favorite flavors. I’ve added shallots and bay leaf to my own recipe, and I’ve seen others include carrots and celery to theirs. Save Print Revithia (Garbanzo Bean Soup) Author: Eleni Saltas Recipe type: Soup/Vegetarian Cuisine: Greek Serves: 6   Ingredients 4 (15-ounce) …

Tyrokafteri (Spicy cheese dip)

It doesn’t matter where I eat, my eyes always race down the menu for any mention of something spicy. Spicy curry? Yes please, with a side of naan. Buffalo chicken wings? My hands and face will definitely be a hot mess after but I’ll take a basket full of those. Bahn mi sandwich and a bowl of pho? Neither typically packs enough heat for my liking—until a side of jalapenos and hot sauce fix my dilemma. Whatever the menu offers, if it says spicy or has the potential for spice, nine times out of ten I’ll order it. Finding something spicy to eat at a Greek taverna isn’t easy. The decision is pretty much made for you because there are few items on a standard Greek menu that have my kind of kick. One is spetzofai a delicious pepper and sausage dish. Another is TYROKAFTERI (tee-roh-kaf-teh-REE) basically meaning “hot cheese.” And no, it’s not literal hot cheese like the popular saganaki, the pan-seared cheese that is brought to tableside all aflame. This hot cheese makes …

Horiatiki Salata (Greek Village Salad)

Sharing a horiatiki salata (Greek village salad) recipe seems unnecessary because it’s a pretty straightforward dish. But as easy as it is to drizzle olive oil over chopped vegetables, there are still necessary steps and dos and don’ts of this salad that you may not be aware of. A proper horiatiki salata is a vibrant salad that calls for tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, kalamata olives, red onions, feta cheese, oregano, olive oil, and vinegar. You may come across recipes that add lettuce, parsley or capers, and there’s nothing wrong with that, it just wouldn’t be a true horiatiki salata. And when it comes to horiatiki salata, it’s all about keeping it traditional. Although it would be ideal to enjoy this classic Greek dish in the beautiful homeland itself (sighs and longs for Greece) to access all the fresh produce the salad relies on, you can still make a horiatiki salata at home. I make it almost daily, especially in the summer months when I can pick cucumbers and tomatoes from my dad’s garden. That way, …

Greek Orzo Salad

There’s nothing more refreshing than the Greek village salad: crisp cucumbers, tasty tomatoes, colorful peppers, chopped onions, and Kalamata olives, all drizzled with olive oil, then topped with oregano and feta cheese. With the same ingredients (and any add-ons you desire), you can make that same salad a little more filling by adding orzo (manestra) to the mix. The Greek orzo salad becomes a memorable and flavorful meal. It’s easy to make. Just chop the vegetables smaller than you would for a regular Greek village salad, boil the orzo, then season, dress and toss. And go colorful with the vegetables because this dish can look like an artistic masterpiece with the right combinations. For example, I add cherry and golden tomatoes along with red, yellow, and orange mini peppers to create extra pops of color that are not only appealing to the eye, but the palette as well. Play around with what you like and make a Greek orzo salad masterpiece of your own. Just be sure to make plenty of it, because trust me—it will …

Spetzofai

Greek cuisine is a lot of things—healthy, fresh, flavorful, and unforgettable. Basically, the only thing Greek cuisine typically isn’t is spicy. Well, all except for my beloved Spetzofai. Spetzofai shouts with flavor, the colorful peppers and thick sausage making nice with the sausage. The spicy meter level depends on you and the peppers you choose. My personal spetzofai spicy meter is a solid ten, while my family’s is a five on a good day. So we settle on keeping this dish at a mild seven. Spetzofai includes a variety of red, yellow, green, and orange bell peppers for color, making it one of the prettiest dishes in all of Greek cooking. I add jalapeños (or even habaneros) for extra heat. You can leave out the spicy peppers if hot isn’t your thing, or add more if you dare. As for the sausage, just pick the variety you like. Stick to a single favorite or try a variety of sausages mixed together so that each bite offers a new surprise. Make sure to use one giant pan …

Pete’s Tzatziki

Go to your fridge right now and open it up. Do you have a bowl of TZATZIKI in there? If yes, pat yourself on the back. If you answered no, you are missing one of life’s great go-with-everything dips. Tzatziki (tsa-TZEE-kee) ranks as one of my favorite dips. Also known as “that white stuff,” you’ll find it smothered on gyros (pronounced YEE-rohs, not GY-rohs, please) and is made of thick Greek yogurt, fresh cucumbers and herbs—plus a generous amount of garlic that will sneak up on you whether you (and anyone near you for the next three days) like it or not. As much as I love eating tzatziki, I’m more of a tzatziki eater than maker because my brother, Pete, has dubbed himself the tzatziki king in our family. Pete won’t let anyone else make it. He won’t even let anyone watch him make it. He’s never shared his recipe with anyone until now. I basically had to start a blog and beg him for it with the promise to make him famous to …