All posts tagged: vegetarian

Imam Bayildi (Eggplants Stuffed with Tomatoes and Onions)

As the story goes, Imam Bayildi got its name from when an imam (a Muslim priest) fainted immediately upon eating this dish because it was so tasty. Wherever the name came from, it’s rich and impressive in taste. Imam Bayildi originates in Asia Minor and makes for a beautiful presentation and meal with eggplants stuffed with a fantastic onion and tomato mixture. Falling into the ladera (olive oil based) category, Imam Bayildi is cooked with lots of olive oil, and drizzled in more before serving. Get your favorite bread ready for dipping and enjoy. Save Print Imam Bayildi (Eggplants Stuffed with Tomatoes and Onions) Author: Eleni Saltas   Ingredients 2 eggplants 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced 5 cloves of garlic, 1 (15-ounce) can of diced tomatoes ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling Salt and pepper, to taste 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional) 1 bunch of Italian parsley, chopped 8 ounces feta cheese (optional) Instructions Preheat the oven to 350F. Wash and dry the eggplants. Slice them in half lengthwise, keeping the stems intact. Place …

Kritharaki (Orzo in Tomato Sauce)

I love a good one pot meal—these types of meals require little clean up. Enter Kritharaki, often referred to as manestra or orzo. Kritharaki has the aromatic smell of sautéed onions and garlic, a decadent tomato sauce spiced with oregano and cinnamon, and finishes with the addition of stirred in orzo that is cooked low and slow in the sauce. Though it requires minimal effort, I advise you to watch over the pot here and there, as the orzo can quickly thicken and stick to the bottom of the pot. This recipe will feed four to six people—I also would advise you to make a double or even a triple batch, because trust me, you will want more! Save Print Kritharaki (Orzo in Tomato Sauce) Author: Eleni Saltas Serves: 4-6   Ingredients 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1 (28-ounce) cans tomato sauce 1⁄4 cup ketchup (optional)* Salt and pepper, to taste 3 tablespoons dried oregano 1 teaspoon cinnamon 3 to 4 cups of water 1 cup vegetable …

Meatless “Meat” Sauce

To make a vegetarian version of the beloved kima (Greek meat sauce), simply swap ground meat for mushrooms and chickpeas. The vegetables make a hearty texture, creating a meatless “meat” sauce. My brother, who thinks literally, argues this dish’s name doesn’t make sense. However, it does sound better than “mushroom sauce”. Regardless, the sauce works well for vegans, vegetarians, and has even won the hearts of meat eaters as well. Save Print Meatless “Meat” Sauce Author: Eleni Saltas Recipe type: Lenten/Main Dish   Ingredients 16 ounces mushrooms (cremini or white button) 12 ounces preferred pasta 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 yellow onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup red wine 1 (32-ounce) can tomato sauce 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes 1 teaspoon cinnamon 3 tablespoons dry oregano, Salt and pepper, to taste Instructions In a food processor, pulse the mushrooms into fine uniform pieces. You may have to pulse in batches. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the mushrooms. Season well with salt, pepper, cinnamon …

Arakas Latheros (Pea and Potato Stew)

Think you need to cut carbs to lead a sound diet? Think again. Vegetables are a great source of healthy carbs, and the combinations are endless. Arakas latheros (pea stew) is a Mediterranean staple with peas prepared in rich tomato sauce, herbs, carrots and potatoes. Arakas latheros is healthy, flavorful and simple as it is delicious. Save Print Pea and Potato Stew Author: Eleni Saltas Recipe type: Lenten/Vegetarian Serves: 4-6   Ingredients 16 ounces peas (frozen or fresh)* 1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced 6 cloves garlic, chopped 1 large carrot, sliced (about 1 cup) 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes 1⁄4 cup white wine (optional) ¾ cup vegetable broth ½ cup fresh dill, chopped 2 teaspoons oregano Salt and pepper, to taste Instructions In a large pot, heat olive oil over low heat and add onions and carrots. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add in the garlic and continue to sauté for 5 more minutes. Add potatoes …

Vegetable Soup

This vegetable soup uses a little this and a little of that. My papou (grandfather) Pete Saltas would make it using whatever vegetables he found in the kitchen. Some call this the “kitchen-sink soup” because everything and anything goes in (except the kitchen sink). To make this soup, start by giving the base vegetables a quick sauté, then just keep adding veggies to create layers of flavors. Don’t put everything in the pot at once and try to let each vegetable or vegetable combos cook alone for awhile before adding the next one. And as you should always do with soups or stews, the trick is to simmer your meal low and slow so flavors blend together. A Greek cook might call this process pantremeni, which means “to be married.” Start with tougher vegetables such as carrots, peppers, and cabbage, and then add those that take less time to cook such as mushrooms, tomatoes, and zucchini. For the broth, use a combination of vegetable stock, tomato sauce, olive oil and water. Depending on your own tastes, you …

Tirokroketes (Fried Cheese Balls)

Gooey on the inside, crunchy on the outside, tirokroketes (fried cheese balls) is an  irresistible appetizer that will leave guests wanting more. For this dish, I use three different types of cheese: feta, graviera, and gouda. The three types play well together and creates great flavor. Eat plain, dunk in your favorite dipping sauce, or squeeze a lemon on top before serving and enjoy! Save Print Tirokroketes (Fried Cheese Balls) Author: Eleni Saltas Recipe type: Meze/Appetizer Serves: 14-16 balls   Ingredients 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled 4 oz graviera cheese, grated* 4 oz gouda, grated 1 egg and 1 egg white ¼ cup milk ½ teaspoon paprika pepper, to taste all-purpose flour, for dredging vegetable oil, for frying Instructions In a mixing bowl, add the feta, graviera, gouda, eggs, and milk. Combine mixture well and season with pepper and paprika. If the mixture looks too runny, add in bread crumbs. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, to allow the mixture to firm up. When the cheese mixture is ready, add some …

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 …

“Greekified” French Onion Soup

Introducing: French onion soup with a Greek twist! I was inspired by a photo I saw on Peter Minaki’s aka “Kalofagas” page and decided to give it a try myself. For my version, I added Greek flavors I enjoy at home, like garlic and oregano, plus tested batches with both Kasseri and Halloumi cheeses. I preferred the Kasseri version, as it melted better, but the Halloumi also created a nice flavor. The result was excellent and just what you want from a typical French onion soup—caramelized onions, warm broth, a thick baguette, and gooey cheese. What a comforting meal that will certainly hold a favorable spot at my dinner table. Save Print “Greekified” French Onion Soup Recipe type: Soup/Greek Soup Serves: 4-6 bowls   French onion soup with a Greek twist! Ingredients 6 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 1 ½ lbs) ½ cup unsalted butter 1 Tablespoon oregano 2 bay leaves 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt 6 cups beef broth ½ cup white wine salt and pepper, to taste ¼ cup …

Strapatsada (Eggs with tomatoes)

Whenever I spent the night at my grandparents’ home, breakfast was always an egg sandwich with a cold glass of milk. My Yiayia Saltas would toast two slices of bread, spread some ketchup on the toast, and then put a fried egg in the middle. As a final touch, she would cut the sandwich into four squares for my tiny hands to handle. It’s the best egg sandwich I’ve ever devoured. Now that I have graduated to cooking for myself, I like to make STRAPATSADA (also known as kagianas). Strapatsada sounds fancy but it’s a dish you may already have made. It’s merely scrambled eggs with diced tomatoes, olive oil, and any seasonings you prefer. Simple, yes, but my yiayia tells me this was one of my papou’s most beloved dishes. Maybe he loved strapatsada because the ingredients were low cost, or maybe because in the hands of my yiayia, anything turns into a five-star meal. Strapatsada tastes best with fresh tomatoes, though you can use canned tomatoes if need be. Serve it for breakfast …

Kolokithokeftedes (Zucchini Fritters)

Crispy on the outside, light and gooey on the inside–that’s what makes kolokithokeftedes (zucchini fritters) one of the finer ways to utilize zucchini. Although these fritters can be time consuming, it’s worth the wait as they are my favorite way to enjoy zucchini. They are made with a similar filling that goes into a kolokithopita, so if you plan on making both the pie and the fritters—plan ahead and make a big batch of the filling. When making the fritters, add flour or bread crumbs to hold the mixture together. Make a statement with your dining guests with these kolokithokeftedes. Save Print Kolokithokeftedes (Zucchini Fritters) Recipe type: Meze/Vegetarian   Aromatic zucchini fritters. Ingredients 2 medium zucchinis, grated (about 1 pound) 3 green onions, thinly sliced ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped ¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped 1 teaspoon of chili flakes Salt and pepper, to taste 1 cup crumbled feta cheese ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 3 eggs ¾ cup all-purpose flour Olive oil, for frying Instructions Wash and grate the zucchini (skins on and …