Spicy Feta Cheese Spread (Tyrokafteri)
Matt Taylor-Gross

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

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 »

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) »

Sarikopitakia (fried mizithra cheese pastries)

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) »

Cretan Bean Stew with Spinach

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 »

Cretan Cheese Pies with Thyme and Honey (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) »

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 »

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 »

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) »

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) »

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 »
A good moussaka—a baked casserole of eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and minced lamb or beef under a lush layer of béchamel sauce—is one of the most fabulous things you can eat. Get the recipe for Moussaka »

Greek Fish and Vegetable Soup

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

Cucumber Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki)

Grated cucumber marries with chopped herbs and aromatics in this iconic Greek yogurt condiment. Get the recipe for Cucumber Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki) »

Greek Easter Soup

Greek Easter Soup

Epiran Feta Tart (Alevropita)

Made with a simple egg batter, this feta-studded tart hails from the region of Epirus in southeastern Europe. Get the recipe for Epiran Feta Tart (Alevropita) »

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 »

Greek Salad (Horiatiki)

Get the recipe for Horiatiki »