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Fooodlove18 recipes

Tasty food blog featuring easy Greek and Mediterranean-inspired recipes.

All recipes from "Starter"


Veggie Burger Patties

Veggie Burger Patties

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!

Greek Pasta Pie - Makaronopita

Greek Pasta Pie - Makaronopita

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.

Mozzarella and Chorizo Peppers

Mozzarella and Chorizo Peppers

As you may know by now, I’m a veggie - but the rest of my family aren’t! Although they’re happy to eat tasty veggie meals a lot of the time, they sometimes ask for meat. So when they have a craving for meat-based products, I find chorizo an easy addition - it’s something I can have in the fridge and its flavour packs a punch. A little goes a long way, I find. These mozzarella and chorizo peppers are great quick and easy snacks to make with that bag of mozzarella cheese that you have in the fridge, and work well to ease those afternoon hunger pangs - what’s better for a meat eater than a mozzarella chorizo snack, after all? They’re pretty healthy too, so they’re a snack I’m happy to dole out to my daughters when they’re hungry after school. Because there’s the bell pepper and the tomato sauce it means they’re getting two portions of veg, and I often serve them up with an accompanying side salad for a light lunch or dinner, too - the pizza-like taste of the peppers means everyone’s happy to nibble up some accompanying greens without complaint! For a veggie version, I do mozzarella peppers for myself - still scrumptious. If you’re avoiding the chorizo, like me, or just fancy playing with the recipe, why not add a shake of paprika to the mozzarella for smokiness, or simply add a couple of basil leaves for that Mediterranean summertime taste?

Spicy Lentil Soup

Spicy Lentil Soup

This recipe is the perfect antidote to the January blues. Full of veggie goodness, as well as the anti-inflammatory powers of turmeric, garlic, leeks and onions, it has the heartiness of lentils and that edge of warmth, from the chilli, which come together to create a ‘hug in a mug’, as the famous soup advert once said! This sort of recipe is perfect in a thermos flask to accompany you on a chilly walk, or in your kids’ pack ups - you can be sure they’re getting at least 3 or so of their ‘5 a day’ target, and will be satiated for the rest of the day with the slow, constant stream of energy released by the lentils. It’s a recipe I often turn to as a midweek dinner through January, too - served alone, or with a hunk of bread and a piece of cheese, this recipe is everything I feel like I need to warm the soul after a grey, drizzly, dark day! It’s quick to create - it really only takes a little bit of chopping - and is so worth every moment you spend on it. For a different, smooth texture, try blending all of the soup, or blend none of it and eat it more as a lentil stew. We prefer this half-and-half mixture, which creates a chunky soup. The choice is yours.

Thin-battered Feta Pie - Alevropita

Thin-battered Feta Pie - Alevropita

This simple and tasty feta pie is best straight from the oven, whilst it’s still crisp-edged, buttery, and warm. It’s a lazy pie; just a simple batter dotted with feta, which turns out the most mouth-watering results. It’s the kind of cooking I need sometimes - when you know you haven’t got much energy, but you really want to create something tasty, satisfying, and homemade. It’s a great ‘first pie’ or ‘first pastry’ for a new cook, too, as there are so few steps to consider. It depends on your larder, but as big feta fans in my household, this is basically a store cupboard pie, as I will always have the ingredients in my cupboards and fridge for an alevropita! The name translates as ‘flour pie’, as you just make a simple batter and dot this with feta and butter before baking. It’s important to follow step one, and get that tray into the oven before you start the recipe (though keep an eye on it, as you don’t want the fat getting too hot and burning) - because it’s that contact with a hot tray immediately that makes sure the thin batter gets a hit of heat from the start and creates those all-important crispy edges. This is a recipe that’s great at any time of day; a quick and easy breakfast, or a tasty lunch served with a side salad. For me it really comes into its own as a quick mezze to make to add to a table when you have guests coming round!

Spinach and Feta Galettes

Spinach and Feta Galettes

These spinach and feta galettes are a mouthwatering veggie breakfast, or lunch, to satisfy and satiate. They work year-round, too. In the summertime, send your kids off with a healthy last-minute breakfast to eat on the school bus, pack them up for a picnic in the park, or serve as part of a dinner al fresco. Stick them in your kids’ (or your own) packed lunch to break up the monotony of sandwiches and wraps. In the winter? For me, the winter is a time when I cannot handle a cold salad for lunch, but I don’t always fancy a soup, or a big meal. Ditto for breakfast - something slightly warmed through made from buttery pastry ticks all my boxes! These galettes are the perfect light lunch, served warm with a fresh green side salad and a few juicy cherry tomatoes. Who am I kidding, any savoury pastry tarts are a go-to for me through those chilly months! The cheesy, buttery savouriness of flaking pastry and salty cheese complements the iron green tang of the spinach perfectly. These pastry morsels feel indulgent and satisfying, but allow you to feel slightly healthy at the same time. Those two things together? That equates to my favourite type of meal!

Mediterranean Style Shakshuka

Mediterranean Style Shakshuka

This Mediterranean-style Shakshuka was actually thought out by my husband! He is not often found cooking, but he hit on a real win with this simple Shakshuka recipe when I was too tired and busy to cook one day, back in Rhodes. We call it Greek Shakshuka; I don’t think that’s a real thing, but he took the shakshuka ingredients and added Greek staples so that’s what it became! What is Shakshuka? Shakshuka is a popular dish originating from North Africa, which has been popular with the Israeli community and Jewish diaspora, bringing it to brunch menus across the globe over the past decade or so. Broadly, Shakshuka consists of eggs poached in a tomato sauce, with vegetables, herbs and spices. We love our roster of Mediterranean egg recipes, so we had to somehow work this popular North African dish into the Mediterranean canon! To do this we keep it simple - tomatoes, feta and egg are the primary tastes here. This is perfect for a light lunch or supper with a side salad, this is, however, a go-to brunch dish, served with a side of toast. It’s a flexible recipe, too, so if you want to add a few herbs and spices, and even extra veg, be my guest. This is our recipe - feel free to tweak it until you have your own! We have this at least once a month for a comforting, sustaining and satisfying brunch.

Vegan Filo Potato Pie

Vegan Filo Potato Pie

This vegan filo potato pie is a brilliant crowd-pleaser. Any vegetarian filo pie is a hit with me, as a veggie myself, but I love to have lots of vegan recipes in my arsenal to make sure I can feed all of my guests equally well. Filo pie is a brilliant use of filo pastry, which is very popular in Greek cuisine, and so versatile. Any Patatopita recipe (that’s potato pie in Greek!) has to be topped with that filo crunch, and then have a rich centre. Serve this eggless potato pie with a side salad for a lighter lunch, use it as a luxurious side to a bigger meat, or veggie, main dish, or make a big dish and cut into smaller pieces, for brilliant party mouthfuls! Adding leek, and going for a potato and leek pie, is another option which is really lovely come wintertime, and a little bit of an alternative to the classic potato and onion pie that’s so classic in the UK. This potato filo option has all of those Greek flavours, imparted by the dill and parsley, and the sprinkle of sesame on top adds both that Greek nuttiness and of course a range of essential nutrients and vitamins, like phenolic antioxidants, minerals and protein - all vital, particularly to a vegan diet.

Crustless Zucchini Pie

Crustless Zucchini Pie

This crustless zucchini pie is the perfect lunch for a sunny day in the garden. The recipe originally comes from a friend in Crete. It’s both easy, and a great way to use up the glut of courgettes we seem to enjoy every July and August! Accompanied by a side salad (and maybe a chilled glass of white wine!), this courgette tart is so savoury and satisfying. The feta, parmesan and eggs give it that cheesey, almost quiche-like consistency, whilst the grated courgette/zucchini and the fresh herbs give it a real green vibrancy and fresh taste. Since it’s without a crust, it’s a really healthy, light option too. I’ve even been known to wrap the whole thing in tin foil and take it to the park for a picnic - and you can be sure that none ever comes back!

Pasta Salad without Mayo

Pasta Salad without Mayo

This pasta salad is such a simple dish that it barely needs a recipe; that’s part of the reason I love to make it! The second reason is that it gets some nice veggies into the kids’ diet without any fuss - they love pasta in every form. This is a great, easy supper dish. I often serve it with my wine-infused burger patties, for a hearty lunch or evening option. It’s also the perfect dish to feed to those guests who came round for coffee - and are still here hours later, when dinner is due! Cooking pasta is the easiest, quickest thing, and there is always enough in the fridge to help me rustle up this recipe. You might’ve noticed I use Greek yoghurt here, instead of mayonnaise. This really brings the calorie count back under control; it’s still an indulgent pasta, but the added protein from the Greek yoghurt and the decrease in calories make it easier to warrant cooking regularly. I tend to make a big batch of it, hoping to have it in the fridge to use as a side dish over the next two to three days - but my family often thwart this plan, demolishing it in one sitting!

Egg Salad with Carrots

Egg Salad with Carrots

As the only vegetarian in the family (and I don’t just mean out of my husband and daughters - I mean every family member on both sides!) it sometimes seems like I can be an extra burden when it comes to catering. But I always tell everybody, I love mezedes! Those Greek side dishes you might order in a taverna are usually precisely what I want - this way I get many tastes of many delicious dishes. Forget the ‘mains’! This egg salad with shredded carrots was made by my sister for me at one of these family gatherings. Now, ‘egg salad recipe’ might not be your first Google search - but you have to give this a go! It’s a fresh, hearty, and super-tasty side salad that can easily function as a full meal when you want something lighter.

Spinach Tart

Spinach Tart

I like to make a good old spinach pie, a Spanakopita, but this mixes up that old favourite into something new. The perfect picnic piece, this tart is savoury and moreish, lightening the flavour of cooked spinach with lemon and herbs, and setting it inside a buttery, flaky pastry case. Something like a British quiche, I love the combination of eggy, cheesey spinach-rich filling with the shortcrust pastry edge. I use aromatic dill and zesty lemon to bring a real feeling of summer sun to the recipe, and the addition of feta, ricotta and cream cheese, alongside pine nuts, just ensures a rich, nutty and satisfying mouthful. It’s perfect for lunch in the garden, with a simple side salad, and also works perfectly as a slightly special picnic or packed lunch.

Breadsticks with Sunflower Seeds

Breadsticks with Sunflower Seeds

This whole wheat breadsticks recipe is what we use to keep hunger at bay in our house! Instead of a bag of crisps, we’ll nibble on a wholegrain breadstick whilst watching TV, or whilst dinner cooks in the oven. They’re a healthy snack that satisfy my need to nibble, without ruining my appetite. I use them to help steer away from unhealthy treats whilst watching TV. They’re also great to put on the table at a dinner party instead of bread rolls, or to go with a meze / antipasti-style meal. Wrap parma ham around the end for a tasty starter, or serve a dip or two to accompany the breadsticks - they go perfectly with my Spicy Feta Dip. Called “kritsinia” in Greek, they are a popular snack at all times of the day. They’re even enjoyed with a coffee at breakfast time. Similar to Italian grissini breadsticks, the kritsinia will be crunchy and biscuity, with that breadstick ‘snap’. If you prefer a crunchy exterior but soft inside, make your breadsticks thicker.

Lemon Pea Stew

Lemon Pea Stew

This lemon pea stew recipe is a perfect veggie winter warmer. It’s super easy, and the addition of lemon and dill at the end makes for a vibrant zestiness that is so addictive. In some parts of Greece this recipe is made with meat, too. There are several Greek recipes that make arakas, or peas, the star of the show, and this is one. Other arakas recipes might include beef, or tomatoes - but I like the clean, sweet flavour of peas in combination with lemon and dill best. At our house this is served simply, with lots of crumbled feta cheese mixed with olive oil and lemon, maybe a side salad and some garlic bread. It sounds simple, but really this sits pride of place as a main meal. It is the perfect dish for early spring - it tides me over from the cold winter nights when all I want is a bowl of warm, nourishing stew into the springtime, when I crave fresh, green flavours. This lemon pea stew recipe straddles both of these desires perfectly.

Pull-apart Garlic Bread

Pull-apart Garlic Bread

Sometimes we all need an evening in front of the TV; a sofa night watching a film is sometimes the only remedy for a hard week! Whether it’s just me and my husband or the whole family snuggled up, this pull-apart garlic bread recipe is a frequently-requested film night treat. It’s also a brilliant, communal start to a big family meal or dinner party too though, so don’t relegate it entirely to movie night fare - it definitely holds its own at the dining table. The cheese-infused, buttery garlic taste of this pull-apart bread is extremely moreish, and perfect for grazing. As a dinner party starter, use it to accompany some meze or some Italian antipasti like cured meats, olives and sundried tomatoes, with the always-necessary olive oil and balsamic vinegar for mopping up. Perhaps the best pairing for it, though, is my spicy feta dip - you can thank me for that recommendation later!

Olive Bread

Olive Bread

This Kalamata olive bread recipe reminds me why I bake bread. It’s not something I do very often, as there are so many different types of nicely made bread these days. But this particular recipe is a bread worth baking! It’s a straight-forward recipe, with just five steps and one rest period for the dough. The rich flavour of Kalamata olives seeps through the soft crumb and the delicious olive oil crust is oily and chewy. I love this bread for nibbles before a meal - served with antipasti like sundried tomatoes and parma ham. It’s also great as part of a light Saturday lunch, with soup and cheese. In fact I love it with everything, and it really doesn’t last long in our household!

Giouvarlakia Meatball Soup

Giouvarlakia Meatball Soup

This traditional Hellenic meatball soup, called Giouvarlakia or Youvarlakia, is hearty and delicious. When the temperatures drop and I want something comforting, I reach straight for the ingredients to make this. It’s another recipe that my grandma used to make. You’d better make sure there’s enough for seconds, because if you’re anything like my family, everyone will be begging for more! This is a traditional Greek meatball soup, and boiling the meatballs may seem unconventional but trust me, it works! And that egg lemon sauce (avgolemono) that you add at the end? Definitely don’t miss it! It unites all the Mediterranean flavours of this recipe and acts as a thickener too - a real ‘secret ingredient’! Reach for some crusty bread to dip in, and you have the perfect bowl of warmth and goodness to cradle by the fire as the night draws in…

Strapatsada

Strapatsada

Eggs are pretty synonymous with breakfast at our house. Boiled, poached, fried, scrambled - we love them all. But even more so, I love to serve up the Greek breakfast recipes I miss from home, and Strapatsada (or Kagianas) is certainly one of these. I remember this made with tomatoes picked fresh from a sunny garden, for a light and flavoursome summer breakfast served up under the hot Greek sun. In the UK we enjoy it all year round, but it really puts a smile on my face when skies are blue and the sun is out. Basically a Greek version of scrambled egg, with tomato, feta and oregano, this Strapatsada recipe could also work with a salad as a light lunch or dinner.

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