All posts tagged: vegetarian

Greek Spaghetti

Twirling long strands of spaghetti around a fork is one of my guilty pleasures. Every time I eat a plate of spaghetti, no matter where or why, I get some sweet “guilt” satisfaction. It’s an added bonus when the spaghetti has been prepared with a guilt inducing creamy garlic butter sauce and covered with two of my favorite types of cheese, grated mizithra and crumbled feta. Freshly diced tomatoes—my super secret guilty pleasure—round out the flavor of this simple dish, and the twirling begins. It doesn’t take much to create your own GREEK SPAGHETTI, the only difficult part comes from trying to figure out the correct amount of spaghetti to boil. Do you boil eight ounces or maybe you count out 157 strands of spaghetti? Sometimes the best answer is to boil an entire package of your favorite pasta—fettuccine, linguine, angel hair, whatever—just boil it all. No matter your measuring method, there always seems to be too much as a result. But that’s what friends with appetites are for. Invite your buddies over and indulge …

Bakaliaros Skordalia (Cod & Garlic Dip)

My entire house has smelled like a McDonald’s deep fryer for an entire week. Fried oil has seeped into the carpets and walls, and has stubbornly clung to mine and my family’s clothes. It’s actually been a pleasant change of pace from the typical scent of a wet dog. The culprit behind the oil stench is my mistake of opening up any windows to get some fresh air while frying up a traditional dish. March 25th is a double national holiday of Greece, marking a special day of both religious and political events. It’s a spiritual day dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of the Theotokos, when the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would bear a child. It’s also a day that marks the start of the War of Greek Independence when the Greeks demanded their independence after living in centuries under the Ottoman Empire. It’s a day of joyous gatherings and celebration. On March 25th, Greeks will fill the streets for parades to celebrate the historic day and blue …

Fakes (Greek Lentil Soup)

As a nutritionist (I minor in nutrition and master in googling information), I recommend FAKES SOUPA or simply FAKES (pronounced fah-kess). This Greek staple is definitely a favorite in my diet because I know just how incredibly healthy lentils are. If I woke up tomorrow and suddenly stopped liking fakes (not possible), I would still eat the soup for the health benefits alone. Lentils may seem small but they are a massive nutritional powerhouse. They’re packed with protein and fiber and are low in fat. They’re rich with vitamins and minerals. They can reduce LDL cholesterol and can cut the risk of heart disease. They provide a great energy boost. It’s a nice bonus that lentils taste really, really good. Add vegetables like onions, celery and carrots, and you have a healthy bang for your buck. You can fuel up on fakes any time of year. A big bowl of fakes will comfort you when it’s cold and will keep you full during days that are meant for fasting from meat. Fakes require little effort …

Avgolemono Soup (Egg Lemon Soup)

Greeks have a fix for every ailment. And no, it’s not Windex as seen in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But if you do have an itch to spray some Windex on something, feel free to aim your spray bottle towards the direction of my windows because half the time I can’t even see out. What Greeks actually use for home remedies and cures are lots of herbs, vegetables, and juices. For example, to fight the common cold, they brew a hot cup of tsai tou vounou (Greek mountain tea). Sprigs of mint are used to prevent an unsettled stomach or used as an aromatherapy for migraine relief. In the frigid winter months, a big bowl of avgolemono soup is a popular cure all. Avgolemono soup is like the Michael Jordan of Greek food—definitely in the starting five of all-star Greek dishes. Lucky for you, it’s not hard to find. You probably know someone who makes this traditional Greek soup, and if not, you can drop in to a nearby Greek restaurant to sample their …

Vegetarian Dolmades

Dolmades are a bite-sized Greek dish made from either grape or cabbage leaves and stuffed with an assortment of mixtures. What makes dolmades so wonderful is their versatility. Stuff dolmades with ground meat (lamb, beef or pork), or go the vegetarian route and create a flavorful rice and herb combination for the filling. Top dolmades with a tomato sauce or avgolemono (egg-lemon sauce), leave them plain, or serve alongside tzatziki (Greek yogurt dip) for dunking. Save Print Vegetarian Dolmades Author: Eleni Saltas Recipe type: Appetizer/Vegetarian Serves: 50-60 dolmades   Vegetarian dolmades with delicious rice and herb mixture. Ingredients 1 (16-ounce) jar of grape leaves 1 cup uncooked long grain rice 5 ripe tomatoes, grated 1 yellow onion, finely chopped ½ cup fresh mint, chopped ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil Salt, pepper and dried oregano to taste For cooking: ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil ½ cup lemon juice Water Instructions Rinse the grape leaves and remove the stems. Place in a colander to drain. In a large bowl, …

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) …

Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)

Ah, SPANAKOPITA (spanaki meaning spinach, and pita meaning pie)—the quintessential rustic Greek pie, a spinach and phyllo masterpiece. Until I was 20, the only green vegetable I ate was spinach, and only then because my yiayia filled her spanakopita to the brim with it. Her recipe calls for feta (and lots of it), which is probably why I loved this pie so much. But over the years, my many trips to Greece have changed this cook’s palate. I’ve become more daring with my food choices because Greek tradition has won my heart. Traditional spinach pie uses far less cheese than my yiayia’s (if any at all). This allows the spinach flavor to really shine along with the other greens that are sometimes mixed in for a pleasing earthy bite. The spanakopita I now make is a cross between my yiayia’s and those I tasted in Greece. My filling emphasizes the spinach and greens (plus green onions and dill) but adds feta and cottage cheese in the style of my yiayia. The filling blends together between …

Pan-fried olives

Olives are among the oldest foodstuffs in the world and Greeks have cherished this giving fruit on their dinner tables for centuries. A simple drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of oregano on top of a bowlful of green or black olives make for easy table finger food. Olives of nearly every variety, especially the famous Kalamata olive, always compliment the horiatiki salata (Greek village salad) and are a great addition to pasta salads or cooked into baked chicken dishes. Simple can be so beautiful. In my Greek home, a warm plate of PAN-FRIED OLIVES is often resembles a work of art. My dad discovered this appetizer years ago in one of his many cookbooks, and since then he has modified it to his own liking, mostly by just adding different olive and onion types. You can prepare it with any combination of the olives you see here, by adding your own favorites, or by just using a single olive variety. My favorite are the wrinkled Moroccan or Greek thrombes olives and I often use them alone. …

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 …