Pies are a cherished family tradition in our home - everyone has a soft spot for them! They make a great snack or packed lunch for my daughters. A while ago, I was making a pie with greens and somehow the stuffing ended up being quite runny. To prevent my phyllo pastry from becoming too soggy, I started looking for ingredients that could soak up the extra juices without affecting the recipe’s taste. I found that using semolina or bulgur was a suggested solution, so I decided to give it a try with the latter. Not only did my pie come out great, but the bulgur also gave me an idea for an entirely new vegetarian pie recipe! Bulgur is a whole grain that is made of several different types of wheat. It is often used in dishes like this veggie bulgur pie, where it is combined with vegetables and a sauce to create a hearty and satisfying meal. Bulgur is also high in fiber and protein, making it a healthy choice for anyone looking for a nutritious meal. It turns out that there are many bulgur pie recipes available, but the majority of them contain ground beef. I am vegetarian, so I decided to create a meatless version that is more appealing to my Mediterranean taste buds. This veggie bulgur pie with filo is a great way to turn ordinary vegetables into something special. It’s also quick and easy to make—all you need is some finely chopped fresh vegetables, bulgur, and a few pantry staples like Greek olive oil and herbs. The filling for this pie is then layered between layers of phyllo dough, and baked until golden brown. The bulgur pie crust exceeded my expectations! It was not only crispy and flaky like a classic pie crust, but the added texture from the bulgur gave it wonderful depth. The filling was also delicious carrying the bulgur’s nutty flavor. Paired with a crisp green salad or roasted vegetables, this veggie bulgur pie is a delicious and nutritious meal that the whole family can enjoy. This recipe makes twelve generous servings, and leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. So it’s perfect for busy weeknights or when you have unexpected guests over! Give this veggie bulgur pie a try and your taste buds will thank you. It’s a delicious way to enjoy whole grains and vegetables in one tasty dish. Enjoy!
Fall is finally here, which means pumpkin everything. From scented candles to lattes, pumpkins are taking over. While some people may be sick of this gourd, I personally can’t get enough. One of my favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin is in soup form, and I want to share my go-to recipe with you all! The soup recipes I have often give my non-vegetarian family members the wrong idea. They see soup and instantly think we’re, somehow, dieting or that it won’t be enough to fill them up. Neither of those things is true! When they take that first dip of bread into this velvety pumpkin soup paired with sweet potato, you can see the change in their eyes. This soup is delicious on its own, but you could also dip some thick toasted slices of sourdough or Foccacia. I personally like to top it with a few croutons or roasted chickpeas, but that’s optional. My husband loves bacon, so he usually tops his with a generous amount of thinly sliced bacon. This pumpkin soup with sweet potato is a healthy and delicious recipe that everyone will love. The sweet potato and pumpkin work in tandem to create a delicious dish, while the ginger adds a pleasing touch of spice. Finally, add milk to the mixture prior to blending for a smooth and luscious pumpkin soup that will tantalize everyone’s taste buds. This five-star soup is simple to prepare, under 50 minutes from start to finish, and packed with good-for-you ingredients. Whether you’re aiming to ward off a cold or just relax on a cool autumn evening, this recipe will undoubtedly become one of your new favorites! If you’re still craving pumpkin and want a dessert to accompany your coffee, these cupcakes are an excellent choice.
If you’re looking for a sweet treat without guilt, these carrot coconut truffles are the perfect solution. Made with grated carrot and shredded coconut, they provide a burst of natural sweetness without using any refined sugars. Not only are they delicious, but carrots are also rich in essential nutrients like Vitamin A and biotin. The addition of coconut adds a hint of tropical flavor while providing healthy fats and fiber. And because they can be stored in the fridge, these truffles make for a convenient snack on the go. This recipe has been a staple in my mother’s cookbook for years. However, owing to the extra pounds we acquired throughout the summer vacations, I modified it slightly to cut down on calories and make it even more of a guilt-free snack. I also changed the technique. Although my mother used to sauté the shredded carrots, making the mixture softer, I prefer raw carrots because they have more flavor and add extra texture to the truffles. These truffles are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing any other part of the meal. They also freeze well, so you’ll have them on hand for those particularly intense cravings that strike at unexpected times! These carrot coconut treats really do taste delicious - my family can’t get enough of them themselves. Give this recipe a try if you want something healthy but still very satisfying… you won’t be disappointed By the way, if you’re not a fan of carrots or coconut, my Energy Bites with Dates recipe is an excellent alternative with half the calories! Not to mention, they are just as easy to make, and they pack an extra protein punch perfect for a morning boost!
I grew up steering away from Fava. I’m not entirely sure why, but I believe it has to do with children judging something without even giving it a chance. They see the world from a different perspective than adults and this can sometimes cloud their judgement. Especially when it comes to food. There are times when my daughters’ behaviour is so similar it drives me up the wall, but I always manage to get them to try something new! Funnily enough, at some point in my grown-up life, I ended up in a very picturesque Greek taverna in Ikaria that had a very limited set of appetisers. One of them was this gorgeous Fava in a little dish drizzled with olive oil and garnished with a few capers. It took me a few minutes to change my mind about not liking something I’d never tasted. I took a tiny amount of Fava and spread it on some bread, and my eyes literally lit up the moment it made contact with my tastebuds! How had I gone so long without trying this? Many people don’t realise that Fava is different from Hummus. Although they might look a bit alike, their taste is entirely different. The key difference between Hummus and Fava is that Hummus contains chickpeas while Fava’s primary ingredient is yellow split peas. While both yellow split peas and chickpeas are legumes, the former has a more unique flavour profile. Fava comes from Santorini and is typically prepared with Santorini Fava beans, but a trip to Santorini isn’t cheap these days. This is most likely why yellow split peas became the standard component in Greek restaurants serving Fava. Fava is not only delicious, but it’s also quite healthy since it includes a substantial amount of cholesterol-reducing fibres that keep fat molecules from entering circulation. This dish is simple to prepare, it requires only a handful of ingredients, and most importantly, it’s incredibly delicious! This is one of the most popular appetisers for a good reason.
Greece is known for its tasty vegetables and beetroots are no exception. Despite the funny colour, your tongue might get, I love having them in any way possible! My daughters also enjoy eating these healthy roots with me which just makes it all worthwhile. A simple method of preparing beetroots is to boil them until soft, then peel and cut them into large chunks. Drizzle them with high-quality Greek olive oil and you’ve got a great side for almost any meal! This is a great way to enjoy the natural sweetness of beets without sacrificing any flavour. However, when we combine the words beetroot and salad in my family, we’re talking about something quite distinct. A lot more delicious and capable of going with anything on the plate! In Greek, it’s called “Patzarosalata”. It’s a pretty common appetiser that you’ll find in most Greek restaurants and while the Greeks consider this dish to be salad rather than dip or spread; I would happily have it with crackers or a thick slice of sourdough! This simple beetroot salad is made with finely grated beets mixed with olive oil, vinegar, mayonnaise and garlic. In my version, I substitute some of the mayonnaise with Greek yoghurt because I like its tanginess and to make it a little bit healthier. Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese and a handful of crushed walnuts on top of the dish to add more saltiness and flavour. The feta and walnuts, while not part of the original recipe, add an interesting twist to this vegetable combination. This Patzarosalata recipe is incredibly easy to make, and it’s guaranteed to impress everyone with its vibrant colours and beautiful presentation!
These feta eggplant roll-ups are a Greek version of the classic Italian dish aubergine parmigiana - but using feta instead of parmesan and mozzarella! It’s one of those Greek meze dishes we almost always order in tavernas to make sure there are a few vegetarian options for me (yes, I’m the only vegetarian in the family!). The eggplant is first roasted until soft, then rolled around a filling of feta, tomatoes and herbs. These little rolls are baked until the feta is melted and bubbly, and they make the perfect appetiser or light main course. This is a brilliant vegetarian dish with which to celebrate the simple pleasures of Mediterranean produce in the summer. Those fresh, ripe tomatoes and glossy, curvy aubergines, almost bursting from their skins. The slow-cooked pleasure of tomatoes with olive oil, onions and garlic. This is the best of Mediterranean simplicity. There are only a handful of ingredients, but this truly is such a satisfying, hearty, smile-inducing dish. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to try out, and when I came across this one for eggplant roll-ups, I knew I had to give it a go. This side dish quickly became one of the standard things we order when visiting a greek taverna. The fact that it’s so easy to make at home, gives it a few extra points and also added eggplant to my weekly supermarket list. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
It’s been a while since I started my quest to find the best pizza dough, and while I’m still searching, I have something that tastes very similar and everyone loves it almost as much as pizza! My family has always had a soft spot for pizza. In fact, we love it so much that we have Pizza night at least once a week. When I started my quest to find the best pizza dough, I thought it would be easy. But after trying dozens of recipes, I still haven’t found the one that speaks to my taste buds the way I want it to. However, I recently started experimenting with a pizza bread recipe, and it’s become a family favourite. It’s not exactly the same as pizza, but it’s close enough that everyone loves it almost as much. And bonus: it’s much easier to make than traditional pizza dough! Leftover pizza for breakfast? It may sound strange, but it’s actually a pretty common occurrence in our house! My daughters love to devour any leftover slices that end up in the fridge, so I decided to look for a bread recipe that would capture all the delicious pizza flavours. And I’m happy to report that I found an amazing pizza-flavoured bread perfect for breakfast, lunch, and snacking! This recipe is now a staple in our house, and we always have a loaf on hand. This easy pizza bread is very versatile because it can be used in slices paired with cold cuts and create a fantastic sandwich, but it can also be eaten as it is, like a snack. Personally, I like to cut it in slices, toast it just enough to reheat those chopped veggies, melt the cheese inside it and pair it with a generous amount of Strapatsada on top! My daughters, on the other hand, love to pack it for school lunch. They simply add their favourite sauce, some cheese and their favourite toppings and they’re good to go. It’s a great way to get them to eat their veggies too!
This easy midweek meal is a Mediterranean pasta recipe that represents a great way to serve up fresh homemade food without much effort. The ingredients call up all of those glorious Mediterranean smells and flavours that I miss sometimes back in the UK, too. If you’re in desperate need of a holiday, this is a nice way to summon up your senses and ‘get away’ (at least in your imagination) - for one meal! A Mediterranean vegetarian pasta is sometimes what I crave, and this ticks all the boxes for me - I hope it does for you, too. I tend to make this using spaghetti or linguine, but any pasta will do (although I enjoy the way the sauce sticks to longer strands rather than tubes or shapes, anything will do!). Make sure not to turn your oil too high, as scorched garlic at step one will ruin the gentle Mediterranean flavours you’re trying to conjure here. A tip? Don’t turn on your pan and add the oil until your garlic is chopped and ready to go! This is a real store cupboard supper. It’s easy to get good quality olives in jars now, and these last such a long time that they’re a real staple for me, alongside capers, for adding that salty savouriness that goes so well with the Mediterranean flavours of olive oil, garlic, oregano and tomato. During the summer, if you have a glut of tomatoes or see lots of UK-grown tomatoes on offer, why not make some sun-dried tomatoes yourself? Pasta with homemade sun-dried tomatoes is even more special! We have a how to make sun-dried tomatoes recipe on the blog, and it truly isn’t as complicated as you might think!
This is one of those go-to recipes that gets wheeled out for any and all occasions in our family, from birthdays to dinner parties! This coconut squares recipe is the perfect sweet finger food for kids and adult parties alike and is a real crowd-pleaser. These are basically coconut cake pops but without the added faff of making them round - you can always add a lolly stick to the cake bites before dipping into the chocolate and coconut if you want them to be on sticks, but there’s little point in all that extra hard work (plus the cake falls off the stick so easily!). As a kids party snack, you can even add different coverings (the cake itself is a basic one which works well with all sorts of toppings, from sprinkles to chopped nuts). When serving these coconut cake morsels up to adults, you’ll find they disappear just as quickly - they’re the kind of sweet treat where you pop one in your mouth, intending to stop there, and soon discover you’ve demolished five without blinking! They’re great birthday cake bites for adults, to make the recipient feel indulged and treated, but without committing to the pressure of baking and decorating a whole birthday cake.
I have to come clean - this is a recipe I whizzed up for the family rather than for myself! Honestly, those stodgy, heavier desserts are not my favourite, but my daughters absolutely rave about rice pudding. They would always pester me to buy those premade tins of rice pudding at the supermarket. Since I know they’re not too healthy, I reluctantly decided to come up with my own recipe! This isn’t a baked rice pudding recipe, which has that controversial skin on top that so splits opinion (I am against it! But I know that’s some people’s favourite part)! But a nice, soft and creamy stove-top vegan rice pudding. That’s right - vegan! But I promise, you won’t even notice the absence of dairy… If your kids love rice pudding too, they won’t be let down by this alternative - don’t worry, it doesn’t taste ‘healthy’! Being a vegan option too, it’s a great one to have up your sleeve - and it also works with other plant milks, as long as they’re nice and rich. Why not experiment with a coconut milk rice pudding, or hazelnut milk, for example? I particularly enjoy that slightly nutty taste that a nut milk adds, and a non-dairy rice pudding still feels just as luxurious as a full-fat cow’s milk option.
This recipe was cooked for us by some dear friends from Rhodes, when they visited us right before COVID kicked off and changed our lives! As a chef and his partner, they fed us a selection of tasty treats during their stay - but this was our ultimate favourite, and one I just had to ask them for the recipe for. They are very generous, and shared the recipe with us in a heartbeat. My thanks to them, always! Lasagna (or Lasagne is correct, I think, in the UK and Europe) is heart-warming comfort food at the best of times. But this veggie-based spinach lasagna recipe, using the iron-packed and healthy spinach in place of mince, and the addition of that mouth-watering lime, makes this dish a whole different ball game! You still have that ultimate comfort dish - but with a twist. You know you’ve knocked it out of the park when the whole table goes quiet after that first mouthful, silently savouring the wonderful flavour explosion happening in their mouths! A healthy spinach lasagna is great to have in your repertoire as a veggie - but this lime-infused one is all the more special. We didn’t even have the fooodlove site back when they made this recipe for us - but it’s the best spinach lasagne recipe I’ve ever tried, and one I simply HAD to share with you guys onsite! I hope you adore it as much as we do.
I remember enjoying this at home in Rhodes through the summer as a child - with freshly-picked green beans from the garden, and even freshly picked tomatoes too! This stewed green beans dish (or Fasolakia Giaxni in Greek) is more than the sum of its parts, and is well worth incorporating into your recipe repertoire. The great news is that beans are now available all year round, frozen! And because tinned tomatoes are a perfect substitute for fresh ones here, this has really turned into almost a store cupboard dish, which I can conjure up whatever the season, whatever the weather. It can be grat to know you’ve got a veggie ‘store cupboard’ side, for when I’m due to go shopping and we’re almost out of fresh veggies. Fasolakia Ladera, or Green beans with oil, and the addition of tomatoes and herbs, makes simple freezer ingredients shine. This is one of those great vegetarian sides; it’s so complex in flavour despite the simplicity of making it. Green beans in tomato sauce is one to cook up as a side to accompany a special evening meal (or indeed, lunch in the sun, should you be so lucky!). Some pair the dish with beef, which is good for meat eaters, but I really don’t think it misses much through the absence of the meat here. Good quality olive oil is important too, as is the finely chopped sprinkle of herbs at the end - this really elevates all the flavours and melds them together perfectly.
Lent is traditionally a fasting period in Greece, where the Greek Orthodox church still has a lot of power over the country’s traditions. From Shrove Tuesday to Easter Sunday we traditionally wouldn’t eat dairy, as well as abstaining from meat and fish (but not shellfish). But that doesn’t mean no enjoyable meals! No, in fact a whole Greek cuisine has sprung up around the culture of fasting - Greek fasting food is called Ladera, or Lathera - food that is full of veggie and made with olive oil, containing no meat or dairy products. This is the healthy heart of the Mediterranean diet (although this recipe doesn’t necessarily uphold this principle!) This Greek semolina cake recipe is unusual, but very authentic and moreish - I definitely urge you to try it. So plenty of dairy-free cakes have sprung up over the centuries to ensure Lenten fasting is still a seasonal celebration. This semolina halva recipe is one of my favourite desserts, whenever I eat it, and it is dairy-free, egg-free and butter-free. Turns out a Greek halva dessert ticks all the boxes as a perfect recipe to have up your sleeve for any fasting or vegan visitors (and is completely glorious for anyone not sticking to any dietary exclusions, too)!
The Peinirli is a real favourite in our household. These are traditional Greek pizzas, shaped like little pizza boats. Slightly smaller than a regular Italian pizza, they’re perfect as a treat for one. They can carry all sorts of toppings, so are a favourite for all the various taste preferences in our family. It’s super-easy to rustle up a veggie option for me too, which makes life easier! Having to bake a meat-eaters meal and a veggie-friendly meal on top can sometimes just feel like a step too far! The peinirli origin story comes originally from Turkey. Turkish ‘pide’ are the same boat-shaped pizzas, and the Greek name ‘peinirli’ came from the Turkish word for cheese - ‘peinir’. Peinirli usually feature a basic cheese filling, to which you can add whatever you fancy - be that tomato, olive, onion, egg, spinach, ham or bacon…the options are about as endless as you can imagine toppings for an Italian pizza! When we return to Greece, Peinirli is one of our favourite bakery options (we mention it in our blog on the 7 must-eat Greek bakery bites). The kids (well, to be honest, my husband and I too, I suppose!) are often tempted to enjoy a Greek peinirli for our breakfast - it’s a popular choice!
Sun-dried tomatoes are an easy way to impart Mediterranean flavour. Here’s our easy and in-depth 'how to make' guide!
Why buy veggie burgers, with great lists of unknown ingredients, when making your own is so simple? That’s what I think anyway, since I tapped into this particular recipe. For me, an easy veggie burger has to provide a challenge to its meaty alternative, but I don’t want it to mimic beef, I want it to be different. This meatless burger will convert a few meat eaters at your barbecue - not because it ‘tastes like meat’ but because it’s a really tasty alternative, full of flavour. This is not just for barbecues, however. We end up having vegetarian patties as a midweek meal pretty often, because it’s not complicated and veggie burger patties always seem to go down well with the whole family. Because I use a combination of couscous and chickpeas instead of something like potato to bind the burger, the burger already contains a great amount of protein from the legumes, as well as carbs (and texture) from the couscous. Add to that the peas, corn, carrot and spring onion, and you basically have all the nutrition you need! For a light dinner, serve them up alone with a side salad or some fresh veg, or for something heartier add your burger to your favourite bread roll…we’ve even been known to accompany them with our oven-baked potatoes or oven-roasted chips!
Fooodlove combines the UK culture of afternoon tea with some Greek bakery favourites to give you a roster of exciting ideas for a Greek-inspired afternoon tea.
What’s a Greek carrot cake, I hear you ask? Well, for me, all things Greek use Greek yoghurt wherever possible! So yes, this is a carrot cake without cream cheese -I substitute in that tart, rich tang of Greek yoghurt instead, to make for a slightly healthy carrot cake, as well as a yummy one. That tart, sweet tang is literally ‘the icing on the cake’ when it comes to carrot cake - that vegetable, spiced moist batter is just complemented so perfectly by a tangy sweet frosting. Carrot cake might just be my favourite cake - and that’s saying something! Being wholemeal flour, as well as containing carrots, raisins, and walnuts as well as eggs and plenty of spices, I can convince myself that this indulgent treat is at least doing me a little bit more good than a decadent fudge cake, for example. Yoghurt icing for carrot cake isn’t completely pioneering - it really does mimic that slightly sour-sweet tang that cream cheese frosting delivers, but with the added goodness of Greek yoghurt. A creamy Greek yoghurt frosting is just as easy to make as a cream cheese one, and we are always more likely to have Greek yoghurt in the fridge - so it just makes this cake a real easy store cupboard bake for our household.
Sometimes indulgence is the only way forward, and this carb fest is a real treat! Makaronopita, or Greek pasta pie, uses indulgent pastry, pasta, evaporated milk and feta cheese to ensure no stone is left unturned on your journey to the ultimate in comfort food! You can use any type of pasta with this really, but the ones that work best are the small tubes called pasta for pastichio, or pastitsio, in Greek. It’s almost like a hollow spaghetti. But bucatini, macaroni, gomitini, or maybe a small rigatoni at a push, will work too! Using spaghetti emulates the longer strands but without that hollow centre, so makes for a Greek spaghetti pie would be much denser. The idea is to keep the pie full of air with the tubes, but also rich with that baked cheesy sauce. Makaronopita with filo on top is the ultimate in texture contrast too, as the soft pasta contrasts so well with the crunch of the crisp filo. That’s why I suggest cutting your pie into portion sizes before you bake it - otherwise you’ll shatter the filo when you try to serve it, and there’s nothing nicer than breaking that crisp top yourself! Serve up this Greek pasta bake with a nicely dressed side salad for a lunch or dinner (I love it with a zingy lemon dressing), or help yourself to an indulgent slice when those hunger pangs hit, mid-afternoon! This is cold weather comfort food, at its best.
These healthy blueberry muffins are a must for my daughters’ packed lunch boxes, or for those rumbling tummies at around 4 pm when dinner still feels far off. The wholegrain flour and oats make them more sustaining and low GI compared to white flour-based cakes, so your blood glucose levels don’t crash and burn like after a quick sugary snack. You can even substitute the quick oats for steel-rolled oats for even better slow energy release, but the texture is a little chewier - try half and half to begin with to make sure you like the substitution! These wholewheat berry muffins also work as healthy muffins for breakfast. We’re constantly running out of time in the mornings, and so I do like to have something on hand to push into a Tupperware for myself for later, or to give my daughters as they rush out of the door. This way I can make sure they’ll be eating something with slow energy release, protein, and even some fruit in it. Sure, these are cakes - there’s no avoiding that - but I feel much happier giving them these than the processed, sugar-filled breakfast ‘cereal bars’ that are another popular option. They’re also great to sub-in for a refined sugar sweet treat, as the aforementioned wholegrain content (the oats and the wholewheat flour) work together to make sure this sweet treat is sustaining as well as satisfying for that sugar craving. Give them a go - they might become your new favourite!