Greece is well known for its rich and wide range of traditional food that can add real splendor to a great Christmas feast. Each type of food with the distinctive Greek touch of feta, vegetables, olive oil and fresh herbs adds great richness to the holiday feast. These help to create fabulous vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, rich casseroles and pastries. Here are 25 finest choices of traditional Greek recipes for the festival meal.
Greek Egg and Lemon Soup (Avgolemono):
Chicken soup is a very popular dish that brings solace and good cheer to the sick and weary all over the world. But the Greek version that is special is the avgolemono- the Greek name of their traditional egg and lemon soup. The broth has a bright yellow color due to the eggs. Lemon provides a welcome flavour and fragrance. It is not creamy and yet it is so silky and delicious.
Diner-Style Greek Salad:
Greek salad is a classic food item and loved all over the world. It has an inviting bright color and has rich and refreshing ingredients like cucumber and chopped romaine, lush tomatoes, wrapped in a herb-rich vinaigrette. The olives and creamy feta enhance the special flavor and appeal in every bite. It can go very well as part of the main course or as a side dish with grilled chicken or pita bread.
The Panazella of the Greek variety is a high-quality dish that is great in flavour as well as appearance. It is also quite easily prepared. It is, in fact, a bread salad, made from bread that is a day old and a number other ingredients like tomatoes and herbs also with a suitable dressing. The added attraction is the addition of briny olives, feta cheese along with herb-laced lemon vinaigrette.
Greek-Style Braised Green Beans:
Green beans are not generally considered with due importance in major recipes but that is not the case in this Greek dish that has braised green beans s the key ingredient. The slow and seedy braising makes the beans soft and toothsome and brings out the best flavours packed in the green beans. The addition of onion, garlic, white wine, pepper and lemon, creates a new taste altogether.
Baklava Pastry (Baklavas):
Baklavas are probably among the most popular traditional Greek dishes. The pastry is created by sprinkling a sweet nut mixture on wafer-thin phyllo dough made in the form of sheets. The commonly used nuts are almonds and walnuts. After baking the pastry, it is covered with sweet syrup. The syrup itself can be of honey or sugar r a blend of both. In any case, the flaky pastry is absolutely sweet and delicious and a great addition as a dessert at a Christmas feast.
Baked Cheese Pasta with Meat (Pastitsio or Pasticcio):
This dish is made of an interesting combination of tubular pasta layers, cheese, and meat sauce. It is further topped with a creamy sauce to create an exotic Greek dish. It is an adaptation of the traditional Greek pasta with modern embellishments that happened in the 20th century with the widespread use of cream sauces.
Fried Greek Cheese (Saganaki):
This dish is acknowledged as a simple but tasty starter or appetizer. The Greek name ‘Saganaki’ is derived from the two-handled frying pan used for making the dish. pan. In its original version, it is not very spicy. But those who wish to have it so can their options with the addition of some ouzo or brandy. The cheese is first dredged in wheat flour and heated to a golden brown hue. The dish is served along with a sprinkling of lemon juice.
Hearty Bean Soup (Fassolatha or Fassolada) :
Those well versed with Greek food and culture suggests that this bean soup fassolatha was known right from the ancient Greek times. It is considered the national food of Greece, and symbolised the best Greek style of cooking especially with legumes, herbs, vegetables, and olive oil. There are two common versions: the red version using tomato and the white version makes use of lemon juice. Traditionally, this soup goes well with crisp bread, cheese and black olives.
Roasted Lamb with Potatoes (Arni me Patates)
This is a great and popular recipe that serves as a key part of any special festive meal. It brings together lamb and potatoes roasted together. The combination is flavoured and enriched with garlic, lemon, and oregano. This dish with an extraordinary taste is very easy to prepare too.
Semolina Pudding (Halvas):
This is sweet pudding or halva with high-calorie content, because of the key ingredients of semolina (farina) and olive oil. By adding sugar syrup, nuts, honey and raisins, the calorie count goes further up. Bu the good thing is that this dish has no egg, milk or butter which helps to get some balance overall. Interestingly, there is a low-fat version of the halva, though it is not as delicious as the regular one.
Skewered Kebabs (Souvlaki):
Theism is a traditional Greek food popular as a street food or even a party food. It is one of the best grilled items with skewered meats, fish, or vegetables going into it. At parties this is an item guest look out for and have with great relish. The size of the pieces can be varied from big too small. It is great as a starter. It is either served on small wood skewers or wrapped inside bread sandwiches.
Spinach Pie with Cheese (Spanakopita or Spanakotyropita):
As the name indicates the key ingredient are cheese, spinach and pie. But there are two versions – one with the cheese and the other without the cheese. It also has onion as another ingredient. Overnight the spinach and onions are cooked for a few minutes. The pie itself takes only about 25 minutes to bake. The dish is versatile as it can be served as an item at a big party, a snack or a side dish.
Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmathes or Dolmades):
Stuffed grape leaves are known as a very traditional Greek recipe and serves as an excellent appetizer. It can also be a side dish in the main course. The ingredients that normally go in as fillings are meat, or even a mixture of rice and herb. The leaves of practically all types of grape can be utilized giving slightly different flavours. The leaves are tastefully filled and rolled before being served.
Sweet Egg Bread (Tsoureki):
Tsoureki is primarily a traditional Greek Easter recipe when it is decorated with red eggs. However, without this embellishment, it can serve as a dessert at any festive meal including Christmas. It is also a favorite breakfast food or snack. All the ingredients involved are easy to find. The end product is a truly delicious dish.
Dolamades are found in different forms like the traditional vine leaf parcel Each region in Greece – in fact, each household – has its variation on dolmades, or a combination of hollowed out vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and courgettes which are stuffed and baked in the oven. The items used for stuffing are usually minced meat, rice as well as flavoring herbs like thyme, fennel and oregano. Pine nuts are also used.
Right from centuries ago, Greeks have mastered the art of charcoal-grilling and spit-roasting of meats. The Souvlaki is a popular dishes those ahs chunks of skewered pork. It has become a much in demand fast food that is served along with chopped tomatoes and onions and pita bread with a splash of tzatziki. Gyros, too, is served similarly. Instead of pork, lamb and kid goat are also used.
Feta & cheeses:
Fresh cheese is a delightful and indispensable part of the Greek food scene. It can be bought from the market in a creamy and tasty form. They are stored in big barrels of brine. That is the way to store them. Outside Greece,these may be found stored in plastic tubs. Another form is the graviera which is a hard cheese with a golden white colour. This can be cubed or fried and eaten. The cheese pie is a common dish prepared with eh cheese. Many salads are also topped with soft cheese varieties.
Grilled Greek Chicken:
The delicious nature of this traditional Greek grilled chicken is because of the strong marinade used and then and ‘roasting’ it gradually over partially – indirect heating on the grill, The delightful flavor is good enough that there is no need to add some sauce as is usually done with such dishes. If we need to add something to make it even tastier, it is fresh lemon juice and Greek yogurt. The result is an unforgettable dish with uncanny taste.
Spicy Lamb and Grape Leaf Tarts with Orzo and Feta:
The dish is a form of crust less tarts and is modified versions of the traditional yogurt and semolina custard. This is traditionally baked inside cooked leaves of grape. Though there are other traditional forms of filling and rolling the leaves, this is different. These filled tarts are still considered a form of stuffed dish and hence the word dolma used to describe it. The word dolma’ means stuffed in both Greek and Turkish. The grape leaves are often made crispy and slightly caramelized.
Feta-Brined Chicken Breast with Rosemary:
This typically Greek dish makes use of boneless and skinless chicken breasts to prepare something that remains surprisingly succulent and moist, quite contrary to our general expectations. This result is got by using feta in a tangy and salty form that blends so well with the chicken. The cheese provides the meat with a special juiciness and extra flavour. An addition of a lot of garlic and fresh rosemary enhances the dish further.
Greek Yogurt Spinach Artichoke Dip:
Yogurt Spinach dip is as the name suggests a rich mix of cream cheese and spinach. The green element is these but the cream cheese dominated and hence some consider it not too healthy. To overcome this issue, this dish is an alternative that has the same taste but low in calories. This is achieved by limiting the amount of cheese added and adding no mayonnaise or sour cream. Thus a good balance is obtained.
Greek scrambles are described as one-pan wonders. A few eggs and some basic ingredients are all that you need to prepare this and have a satisfying and healthy dish to go with any meal is ready. Some of the items that go into the scramble are baby spinach, onions, and feta cheese. It goes well with toasted pita bread.
Greek New Year’s Bread (Vasilopita):
This traditional Greek bread is generally baked for January 1st, the New Year day as well as the Greek Orthodox Church saint, St. Basil’s Saint’s Day. But this tasty bread can, of course, be baked days before and after the Day, to celebrate the festive season. The bread has Cinnamon and mastiha which makes it a bit spicy.
This is a very delicious and classic Greek dip mainly made of fish roes. More traditional alternatives exist in Greek cuisine like tzatziki. This is a combination of cucumber, garlic and yogurt. We also have melitzanosalata (aubergine dip), as well as fava. This is a split-pea purée. However, the fish roes dip is considered the most exotic. It is usually creamy and makes use of either pink or white roe along with potatoes. A bit of lemon juice or olive oil adds to the great taste.
Spicy Feta Cheese Spread (Tyrokafteri):
This is a spicy spread of cheese spread that is a very traditional kind of Greek spread. It can be made very conveniently and is served with grilled vegetables, bread, grilled meat or fried eggs. It can be made spicier by adding pepper. It can be preserved in the fridge for as long as 7 days.
Traditional Greek recipes can delight food lovers across the world and be a welcome addition on any Christmas feast. The recipes presented here should give a great sampling of the best possible food recipes that will provide a wide choice to brighten up the festive season.