Greek Cuisine

20 Specialty Foods in Greek Cuisine You Should Try

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Updated on February 4, 2024

Throughout the years, the world has always perceived Greek cuisine as unique and special. It offers a wide variety of hearty meals with superior quality and irresistible taste. More interestingly, Greek cuisine seems to be the one that influenced the meals of the Mediterranean region the most, including Egypt, Turkey, Italy, and France. 

Greek cuisine

Whole food with raw ingredients is the key element that shapes Greek culture. Thus, one of the healthiest cuisines presents nutritious dishes with succulent flavours. That reputation of the Greeks following a healthy lifestyle that boosts the immune system and supports heart health is the utter truth. 

Check out this list of Greek meals you need to explore while wandering about the streets of Greece.

1. Moussaka

Greek cuisine

Moussaka is a popular dish in Greek cuisine. However, it seems to have its roots traced to Levantine cuisine. This mouthwatering dish has made it around several countries in the Mediterranean region, including Egypt as well. Once you take a bite of this delicacy, you will be tempted to devour the whole thing.

Moussaka may look like a lasagna for its flavoursome layers, yet it takes many different ingredients. Its main items are eggplants and ground beef. Each layer offers a mouthful of eggplant slices, cheese, potatoes, zucchini, and ground meat, all covered in tomato sauce and heavy béchamel sauce.

2. Gyros (Souvlaki)

Greek cuisine

Gyros, with a silent G, is the Greek version of shawarmas. They’re irresistible wraps with fulfilling ingredients that safely deliver you to satiety. Gyros are a staple food in Greek cuisine, more often known as Souvlakis. They are easy to eat anywhere and at any time. They also feature a set of satiating ingredients soaked in a juicy sauce. 

Gyros are wrapped sandwiches, usually pita bread, filled with meat varieties, including pork, chicken, beef, or lamb. However, the lamb ingredient is not commonly used in Greece but more in Turkey. Pork seems to be the most common meat used in gyros combined with mixed vegetables, like fried potatoes, onion, and tomato, with a generous amount of tzatziki.

3. Stuffed Eggplants (Papoutsakia)

Greek cuisine

Papoutsakia is a popular dish in both Turkish cuisine and Greek cuisine. The Greeks seem to be fond of making their main dishes with many vegetables, especially eggplants. This dish’s name derives from the Turkish word “paposh,” which means a slipper, and it describes the shape of this meal. 

Papoutsakia is eggplants that are roasted or boiled and then split lengthwise. This dish consists of ground beef and tomato sauce, topped with thick béchamel sauce. The sauce is optional, but it’s highly recommended because it takes the flavour to brand-new levels of tastiness.

4. Fried Zucchini Chips

Greeks love filling up on hearty appetisers before delving into their main courses. That’s when fried zucchini chips come in handy; they offer deliciously fresh finger food. Besides their great taste, they are deliberately healthy and packed with great nutrients. More interestingly, this appetiser is suitable for keto dieters.

This dish is made by chopping zucchini into thin chip slices and then drenching them in egg mixture, flour, and bread crumbs to form the outer crunchy crust. They’re then fried until they reach this perfect golden hue, seasoned with salt, and ready to be devoured. Side condiments are essential to spruce the flavour, so always opt for buttermilk ranch for a juicy dipping experience. 

5. Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)

Greek cuisine

Lasagna is all about layers of tasty ingredients neatly put together and enjoyed to the maximum. Greek lasagna is no different; it’s layers of pasta, juicy sauce, and ground beef. Commonly known as Pastitsio, it’s made with penne pasta instead of the known wide strips. This dish is popular in other Mediterranean countries, including Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon.

Pastitsio is a dish of baked pasta, where a layer of pasta with red sauce goes in the base, topped with ground beef, then another layer of pasta, and then a generous amount of béchamel sauce. These perfect layers get inside the oven until baked to perfection. Some variations may include mozzarella cheese for an additional flavour. 

6. Tomatokeftedes (Tomato Fritters)

Greek cuisine

Tomatokeftedes is a popular dish in Greek cuisine, often enjoyed in summer as a breezy snack. It’s a hearty dish of tomato fritters, which makes sense since tomato is a key ingredient in Greek cuisine. After all, Greece is home to the best-ripened tomatoes. Moreover, this dish is most commonly popular in Santorini.

This dish contains diced tomatoes, chopped onions, herbs, and feta cheese. They’re then put into flour and baking powder before adding the whole mixture to the frying pan, using olive oil, another authentic ingredient of Greek cuisine. The mixture is fried until patties are formed and removed from the pan. You can now enjoy them with your favourite selection of dipping sauces.

7. Keftedes (Greek Meatballs)

Greek cuisine

Meatballs are an all-time favourite savoury. They serve as starters you can munch on before your main course and during your meal. You should try the Greek version no matter when you like to devour them. Greek meatballs also go by Keftedes, a traditional recipe that people across Greece consume highly, and we can’t blame them. 

Keftedes has a juicy appeal thanks to its flavourful ingredients. It’s made by mixing ground pork and beef and seasoning them with spices and herbs for an ultimate taste. This mixture is then rolled into small balls and fried until it reaches this perfect brown hue. You can make this palatable recipe in a snap and take a bite of an authentic dish from Greek cuisine.

8. Briam (Mixed Roasted Vegetables)

Greek cuisine

The Greeks are fond of keeping their health in check; thus, they use vegetables to make up most of their dishes. It’s something that they should take pride in, for their meals aren’t only healthy but also irresistible. Roasted vegetables are a traditional dish in Greek Cuisine. They call it briam or briami, which can be considered the Greek ratatouille version.

We bet the term, ratatouille, has given you a clue about what to expect to find in this dish. It is made of delicious vegetables featuring zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, and red onions. Some people love adding eggplants, peppers, and fresh vegetables to make this plate healthier and tastier. 

9. Taramosalata

Greek cuisine

Taramosalata is not an actual dish but a significant condiment in Greek cuisine, and it’s worth the hype. The Greeks use taramosalata as a meze that they efficiently use alongside bread until their food is ready. It’s also referred to as taramasalata, and that’s because “tarama” is used to make the dip. 

In case you haven’t heard of it, tarama is cured fish roe from carp or cod fish. It has a strong salty flavour. Cooks mix the tarama with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, onions, and a starchy base, either potatoes or bread. This mixture results in a flavoursome dip with a velvet-like texture that nearly resembles the mayonnaise.

10. Greek Salad

Greek cuisine

Salad is a huge part of Greek cuisine. They always add salads to the table to enjoy their juicy texture alongside their main courses. As we previously said, the Greeks are fully aware of their well-being, so they never miss their daily serving of greens. Greek salad is an everyday staple in most meals in Greece, especially in summer.

This traditional salad is a brightly colourful dish of sliced cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, green bell pepper, Kalamata olives, red onion, and cubes of feta cheese. Combining these ingredients ensures a delicious flavour and significant hydration on hot days. You can also add a handful of fresh mint leaves for extra tastiness. 

11. Imam Bayildi

Imam Bayildi is a dish that originated during the Ottoman Empire. However, the Greeks seem to have been exceptionally fond of it, making it a main meal. It has led some people to believe it’s an authentic dish from Greek cuisine. But either way, the Greeks still put their spin on it, making it incredibly tasty. 

Imam Bayildi uses the key ingredients of Greek cuisine, tomatoes and eggplants; no wonder they ingrained the dish into their culture. It’s a classic recipe featuring eggplants stuffed with tomatoes, onions, and more spice that spruce up the flavour. The stuffed vegetable is simmered in olive oil, accentuating the flavour even more. 

12. Dolmades (Stuffed Grapevine Leaves)

Greek cuisine

Dolmades is the Greek term for stuffed grapevine leaves. This dish isn’t only prominent in Greek cuisine but also a national dish in other Mediterranean countries, including Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon. The dish’s roots are traced back to the Ottoman Empire, becoming significant in all the regions that were part of the Empire.

Greek dolmas have more than a few variants. It can be served cold when stuffed with rice and mixed vegetables; however, meat-stuffed dolmades are usually served hot. Moreover, dolmades usually refer to grapevine leaves, yet it includes most vegetables that can also be stuffed. This includes eggplants, zucchini, green bell peppers, and cabbage stuffed with rice, ground beef, and mixed herbs.

13. Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie) 

Greek cuisine

Pies are delectable savouries that we can never get enough of, thanks to their satiating fillings and perfect textures. Pie recipes don’t fall short when it comes to Greek cuisine; it holds one of the tastiest pie recipes ever, the spanakopita. It’s a spinach-based pie mixed with many other ingredients that make the taste insatiable. 

Spanakopita is a pie made of phyllo dough, which gives it this crispy texture and flaky feel. The dough embraces a generous amount of spinach with feta cheese, onions, eggs, and scallions. Ricotta cheese is sometimes used instead of feta. The pie is then put into the oven until it becomes crispy, and the cheese blends into the spinach, giving you a mouthwatering dish.

14. Loukoumades (Greek Donuts)

Greek cuisine

Loukoumades is one of the prevalent desserts in Greek cuisine that somehow became popular in most Middle Eastern countries, especially those in the Mediterranean region. Some call them Greek doughnuts, for they’re fried sweet bite-sized dough, yet they don’t appear alike. Again, its roots are traced back to the Ottoman Empire. 

Loukoumades are fluffy balls made with all-purpose flour, eggs, and dry yeast. They’re deep-fried to golden perfection and soaked in a generous amount of honey syrup. Top sprinkles may include cinnamon or chopped walnuts. New variants include soaking the dough balls in chocolate or getting splashed with sugar powder.

15. Lamb Fricassée

Greek cuisine

Lamb fricassee is an authentic dish from Greek cuisine, and it gained popularity in different places outside Greece. Fricassee is a term that refers to the method of cooking, which is a slow-simmering stew of other ingredients. This classic dish is more prevalent in spring, using ingredients that grow abundantly during the season. 

The dish contains green vegetables, including Romaine lettuce, parsley, dandelion greens, spinach, and mustard greens. They’re all mixed with lamb cooked in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and blended with avgolemono sauce, a Greek condiment made with eggs and lemon. Some people prefer pork meat over lamb, yet the traditional dish is lamb-based.

16. Stifado (Greek Beef Stew)

Greek cuisine

Vegetables are vital ingredients in Greek cuisine, but Greeks seem to be into meat-based stews to keep their diet balanced. Undeniably, Greek cuisine offers authentic dishes with unique flavours while keeping nutritional value in check. This brings us to the delectable dish, the stifado, a beef stew soaked in red wine to give it that juicy texture. 

Olive oil is usually the hero of Greek cuisine, saving the day and adding a great flavour to meals. Stifado uses olive oil while stewing the beef chunks. This dish uses several herbs and spices that balance the sour and sweet flavours. Tomatoes and onions are chopped alongside the meal to accentuate the flavour and better the taste. A typical winter delicacy that warms people up while appealing to their taste buds.

17. Seafood Dishes

Greece spans along the Mediterranean Sea, making it home to various fish species suitable for eating. Fish-based dishes are staples in Greek cuisine, offering more than a few recipes that present delectable fish meat, cooked octopus, mussels, and shrimp. Seafood meals are prominent around every corner in the Greek streets. 

There are so many seafood recipes that you can try out. Charcoal-grilled Octopus, mussels, Mediterranean shrimp, and Greek Fisherman’s Soup remain the most prominent. Lobster dishes are also a big thing around here, and we still haven’t even started with the stuffed squids and Kalamari meals. 

18. Fasolada (Bean Soup)

Greek cuisine

Greeks are serious about their health and well-being, and while they keep their dishes nutritious, they also get creative with their meals. Bean soups are a traditional food around Greece, going to the name Fasolada. It’s a classic dish in Greek cuisine and is considered one of the healthiest meals ever. 

Fasolada is a soup bowl with white beans being the dish’s star. It’s made with extra virgin olive oil; the more oil, the better taste and the healthier. Sliced celery pieces are also added to make the dish even more nutritious. Besides, white beans are rich in fibre, which improves your digestion process, fills you up fast, and make you feel full for longer. 

19. Tirokroketes (Fried Cheese Balls)

Bite-sized balls make for great snacks and delicious crowd-pleasers when inviting people to your place. Greek cuisine offers various little delicacies, featuring the famous dish of deep-fried cheese balls, the tirokroketes. It originated in ancient Greece as a cheesy version of meatballs and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans alike. 

This starter dish is famous around the Middle East thanks to its mouthwatering deliciousness. The balls are made with breadcrumbs, eggs, and cheese types suitable for melting, including gouda, graviera, and feta. More spices and herbs are used to flavour the snack, making it even more irresistible.

20. Giouvetsi (Orzo Pasta in Beef Stew)

Greek cuisine

Pasta may not play a huge part in Greek cuisine, but there are still some pasta-based dishes that you don’t want to miss. Bechamel is the most popular pasta dish in Greece and the Mediterranean region, but the Orzo pasta with beef stew is another delectable meal to try. Orzo pasta is originally Italian, yet it’s widespread across other parts of Europe. 

Orzo is a kind of pasta that resembles the shape of rice grains, being thin and oval-shaped. This type is even used for creating soup pasta. Going back to the Greek dish, people use this pasta that melts in the mouth and cooks in a stew with beef cubes, known as the Giouvetsi. Red wine is among the main ingredients that flavour this dish before it gets baked and is served with deliciously grated cheese for a different taste. 

We bet this list of palatable dishes from Greek cuisine has made you feel like you can eat a horse. If you have the time and energy, we suggest you pick up a meal and make it yourself for a new flavoursome culinary experience.

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