Best Greek Recipes | SAVEUR

Our 25 Best Simple Greek Recipes

There are grape leaves, and feta, but so much more

Greek cuisine is some of the finest of Mediterranean food. Who can deny the hearty comforts of a bowl of moussaka—the Greek eggplant casserole—or the unmatched snack-ability of tender, bite-sized dolma?

But finding great Greek food or creating a great Greek menu is not just about switching to Greek yogurt, mastering the meze spread, or putting feta on everything. From city to city and island to island, the lot of Greek cooking is full of unique techniques to master and mealtime traditions to uphold. One of our favorites? Learning how to make dolmas (true obsessives, like us, can even shell out for a dolma roller.

From to tzatziki, here are our very best simple Greek recipes to bring some of the country’s flavors and flair to your table.

Spicy Lamb and Grape Leaf Tarts With Orzo and Feta

Spicy Lamb and Grape Leaf Tarts With Orzo and Feta

These crustless tarts, adapted from Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick’s book Soframiz, are inspired by a yogurt and semolina custard that is traditionally baked inside cooked grape leaves in Greece. The authors say that, even though the grape leaves aren’t rolled and filled cigar-style, the filled tarts are still a version of a dolma, a word that means “stuffed” in Turkish and Greek. “I love this version because the grape leaves get crispy and a little caramelized,” Sortun says. They work equally well in ceramic ramekins, fluted or non-fluted tart pans, muffin tins, or small cast iron baking dishes. Get the recipe for Spicy Lamb and Grape Leaf Tarts With Orzo and Feta »

Matt Taylor-Gross

Garides Saganaki (Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta)

Garides Saganaki (Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta)

The Greek dish_ garides saganaki,_ a bubbling concoction of shrimp, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and feta spiked with a shot of ouzo, was invented in the 1950s, most likely at a restaurant in a seaport like Thessaloniki. Get the recipe for Garides Saganaki (Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta) »

Todd Coleman

Sarikopitakia (fried mizithra cheese pastries)

Sarikopitakia

These savory fried cheese pies are named for their spiral shapes. Sariki, a Turkish word meaning “turban,” is also the name of a traditional headdress still worn by Cretan men at celebrations. Get the recipe for Sarikopitakia (fried mizithra cheese pastries) »

Matt Taylor-Gross

Cretan Bean Stew with Spinach

Manaroli and spinach stew

Dark leafy greens are the predomi­nant vegetables in Crete, where more than 100 types grow and they are often paired with beans in sautés, stews, and pies. Get the recipe for Cretan Bean Stew with Spinach »

Katherine Whittaker

Layered Pumpkin and Cheese Gratin Squares (Boureki)

Layered Pumpkin and Cheese Gratin Squares (Boureki)

Boureki cut from a traditional Cretan gratin may be eaten at room temperature, but they are especially irresistible when the cheese is still warm. Get the recipe for Layered Pumpkin and Cheese Gratin Squares (Boureki) »

Dimitris Alvanos

Cretan Cheese Pies with Thyme and Honey (Kalitsounia)

Kalitsounia

These traditional Cretan handheld cheese pies are often served as an Easter treat. Get the recipe for Cretan Cheese Pies with Thyme and Honey (Kalitsounia) »

Matt Taylor-Gross

Greek Grilled Eggplant Spread (Melitzanosalata)

Melitzanosalata

Charcoal-grilled eggplants are a common Greek meze dish. There are many variations, but Kostas Feidantsis and Dimitris Koparanis of Dr. Benefits prefer this simple version. Use the dark purple fat eggplants, not the long ones. If no charcoal grill is available, roasting the eggplants is the next best thing. Get the recipe for Greek Grilled Eggplant Spread (Melitzanosalata) »

Matt Taylor-Gross

Mastic Panna Cotta

Mastic Panna Cotta

This simple dessert is an excellent vehicle for showcasing the peculiar, piney flavor of mastic. Undissolved bits of the resin might get stuck in the sieve; to clean, submerge the strainer in boiling water until the resin melts away. Get the recipe for Mastic Panna Cotta »

Katherine Whittaker

Roasted Goat with Potatoes and Onion

Roasted Goat with Potatoes and Onion

Goat’s milk is used widely in local cheeses. But this simple dish from Stelios Trilirakis of Dounias restaurant represents a traditional Cretan preparation of the meat, slow-roasted for hours in a clay pot over a wood-fired oven. Get the recipe for Roasted Goat with Potatoes and Onion »

Dimitris Alvanos

Peppers Stuffed with Feta (Piperies Gemistes me Feta)

Peppers Stuffed with Feta (Piperies Gemistes me Feta)

This meze is made in Macedonia with sweet Florina peppers, though Fresno or Anaheim chiles (the former being hotter than the latter) can be substituted. Get the recipe for Peppers Stuffed with Feta (Piperies Gemistes me Feta) »

Todd Coleman

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Keftedes me Saltsa Domata)

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Keftedes me Saltsa Domata)

Redolent of oregano and mint, these meatballs are served in northern Greece as a meze with fried potatoes or steamed rice. Get the recipe for Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Keftedes me Saltsa Domata) »

Todd Coleman

Greek Fried Cheese

Greek Fried Cheese

This is one of many flavorful mezedes (Greek appetizers) in Susanna Hoffman's The Olive and the Caper (Workman, 2004). Get the recipe for Greek Fried Cheese »

André Baranowski

Flatbreads with Two Toppings (Laganes)

Flatbreads with Two Toppings (Laganes)

In Greece, these flatbreads are traditionally cooked on a hearthstone set over hot coals (a cast-iron skillet on the stove works well, too) and served with tomato sauce or sautéed zucchini and feta. Get the recipe for Flatbreads with Two Toppings (Laganes) »

Kat Craddock

Greek Honey Cookies

Greek Honey Cookies

Soaked in honey syrup and garnished with a spiced walnut mixture, these traditional Greek cookies are often served around the holidays. Get the recipe for Greek Honey Cookies »

SAVEUR

Spicy Feta Cheese Spread (Tyrokafteri)

Tyrokafteri

This spicy cheese spread is a meze must-try, according to Kostas Feidantsis and Dimitris Koparanis of Dr. Benefits. It’s easy to make and is great served with bread, grilled vegetables, fried eggs or grilled meat. It will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. Feel free to use more peppers, or spicier peppers, if you prefer. Get the recipe for Spicy Feta Cheese Spread (Tyrokafteri) »

Matt Taylor-Gross

Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves With Rice and Herbs (Dolmadakia)

Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves With Rice and Herbs (Dolmadakia)

Dolmakadia, the Greek word for stuffed grape leaves, is one of the most iconic recipes of Greek cuisine and, although there are many varieties, the meatless version is the most common. In the warmer months, try to find and use fresh grape leaves; they are more tender and flavorful than the jarred types. Out of season, jarred leaves are a fine substitute (we prefer the Orlando brand). Get the recipe for Dolmakadia »

Matt Taylor-Gross

Greek New Year's Bread (Vasilopita)

Vasilopita Greek New Years Bread

This Greek bread is traditionally baked for January 1st, the Greek Orthodox St. Basil's saint's day, but even in the days after January 1st, baking it is a fitting way to celebrate good things to come. Cinnamon gives the rich yet fluffy bread spicy warmth, while mastiha, a resinous spice, adds piney notes for depth. Get the recipe for Greek New Year's Bread (Vasilopita) »

Matt Taylor-Gross

Moussaka

MOUSSAKA

This traditional Greek casserole featuring spiced ground lamb and eggplant is based on a version made by Jim Botsacos, the chef-partner of the Greek restaurant Molyvos in New York City. Get the recipe for Moussaka »

Matt Taylor-Gross

Greek Fish and Vegetable Soup

Kakavia

Adding eel to this traditional Greek fish soup lends body and flavor to the broth. Get the recipe Greek Fish and Vegetable Soup (Kakavia) »

Joseph De Leo

Cucumber Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki)

Cucumber Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki)

Grated cucumber marries with chopped herbs and aromatics in this iconic Greek yogurt condiment, great as a dip or served alongside meat or vegetables. This recipe first appeared in our March 2014 issue with the story Milk's Finest Hour. Get the recipe for Cucumber Yogurt Dip »

André Baranowski

Greek Easter Soup

Greek Easter Soup

This soup was probably invented as a way to use up the offal—heart, liver, lungs, and intestines—removed from the lamb or kid to be roasted for the Easter Sunday feast. We've adapted the classic recipe to use lamb shanks and shoulder, omitting the innards. Get the recipe for Greek Easter Soup »

Farideh Sadeghin

Artichokes and Fava Beans

Artichokes and Fava Beans

This Greek side dish of brightly flavored and tender artichoke hearts and fava beans comes from SAVEUR editorial assistant Maria Xerakia, whose family serves it for their traditional Easter meal. Get the recipe for Artichokes and Fava Beans »

Farideh Sadeghin

Epiran Feta Tart (Alevropita)

Epiran Feta Tart (Alevropita)

This savory egg tart is nicknamed "lazy woman's pie" for how easy it is to make. In Aglaia Kremezi's version, which first appeared in our Jan/Feb 2014 SAVEUR 100 issue with the article Lazy Woman's Pie, a cheese and egg filling is layered with butter-basted phyllo. Get the recipe for Epiran Feta Tart (Alevropita) »

Ingalls Photography

Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad

Tangy feta and crunchy veggies get extra body from rotini in this classic Greek-inspired pasta salad. Get the recipe for Greek Pasta Salad »

Rachel Dolfi

Greek Salad (Horiatiki)

Greek Salad

This refreshing salad takes on various guises in Greece depending on what vegetables are in season, but it almost always features feta and a dusting of dried oregano.
See the recipe for Greek Salad »

Todd Coleman

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