As Christmas approaches, I start to crave festive foods. I love all of the traditional Greek favorites, but sometimes my tastebuds crave something zesty and fresh. That’s why I always make sure to add this festive salad to my Christmas spread. It’s always a hit with my guests, and it’s the perfect way to balance out all of the heavy festive food. This festive pomegranate and apple salad is always a welcome addition to any holiday feast. The bright red pomegranate seeds and crisp apples add a festive touch, while the crunch of the vegetables provides a refreshing contrast to all the rich food. This salad is also very easy to make, so it’s perfect for busy holiday hosts. Whether you’re looking for a festive side dish or a refreshing start to your meal, this pomegranate and apple salad is sure to please. This festive-looking salad is a great way to use up seasonal ingredients like pomegranates and apples. Both fruits are available through the winter and spring, making this salad a great option for a Christmas or New Year’s meal. The zesty, juicy crunch of the pomegranate and apple pairs well with a roast joint of meat, such as ham. For vegetarians and vegans, this salad makes a great side dish to a tart such as my Spinach Tart. The bright colors and festive flavors of this salad will make it a favorite on your holiday table.
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!
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.
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!
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?
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.
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!
Fooodlove explores the traditions behind Saint Fanourios and his cake, the Fanouropita. Our Rhodes version is flavoured with sweet wine and is vegan too.
Find out how veggie/pescatarian fooodlove cooks meat-based meals for her Greek family day-to-day, living in the UK!
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.
This recipe for baked giant beans, or Gigantes Plaki in Greek, is a really flexible, useful one to have in your recipe bank! Gigantes are a really large variety of beans, known also as Butter Beans or Lima Beans. We buy them dried and soak them; these are my favourite to use in terms of flavour. Gigantes are a healthy addition to any diet, vegan, veggie or omnivore, as they are full of complex carbohydrates, fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals, keeping you fuller for longer, and satisfied, too. In Greece, sausage or bacon can be added - I have seen it with chorizo, too - but you really don’t need to add any meat to end up with the perfect Gigantes recipe, in my opinion. This is a wholesome and hearty vegan recipe, which is perfect served up with some feta and bread for a filling, healthy meal - a great one to have to hand if you’re inviting vegan guests over (minus the feta, of course!). It’s also a tastier (and much healthier) substitute for a tin of baked beans, so you can use it in the same way you would with those, too. Take your giant baked beans in tomato sauce and put them on top of a baked potato instead of the branded variety for an easy supper; you’ll be getting lots of extra veg and a lot less sugar than in the tinned stuff. Greek Gigantes are easily found in Greek food delis and in some supermarkets now, but butter beans will work for this recipe too.
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!
If you’re on the hunt for vegan chocolate treats, these vegan mint bounty bars are the one. In fact, as long as you like coconut, I can assure you that, vegan or not, you’ll love these! In fact, our family aren’t vegan but absolutely adore these little bites. I always find it so useful to have a treats recipe to hand that fits everybody’s dietary requirements. Homemade bounty bars might sound more effort than they’re worth, but nothing could be further from the truth. Plus, you know exactly what ingredients are going in. Easy homemade bounty bars, plus mint - they’re so satisfying, and actually, they’re kind of good for you as far as chocolatey snacks go! The healthy fat from coconut milk plus desiccated coconut and dark chocolate; this is indulgence without the guilt.
Fanouropita is a spiced Lenten cake made in the name of Saint Fanourios, Patron Saint of Lost Things. Want to get a new job? Need to find your runaway cat? Saint Fanourios is the martyr you need to pray to! This cake has moved from religious practice to a regular bake in our house, and it is the perfect, healthier option to go with your mid-morning cup of coffee… Fanouropita is a great vegan cake recipe too, as it lacks eggs and butter. Made to be blessed at church on August 27th in Saint Fanourios’ name, this recipe usually contains seven or nine ingredients (numbers holy in the Greek Orthodox Church and in broader Christianity); but the actual ingredients included vary across Greece. Saint Fanourios’ icon, and therefore his sainthood, was rediscovered on Rhodes, where I am from - so this is a Rhodes version of Fanouropita. Check out our blog on Saint Fanourios to read more about the Fanouropita tradition!
This creamy zucchini penne (or courgette penne, for all my UK readers!) makes a healthy vegetable the star of the show. For this tasty dinner, the little tubes of penne are a great choice for catching the sauce, although rigatoni, maccheroni or even straight pasta like tagliatelle or spaghetti will do in a pinch. When there are lots of palates around the table, especially with little ones, it can be hard to leave everybody in the family satisfied. This is a dish that always succeeds for me in that regard! I am a veggie, but my family all eat meat. Nevertheless, this dish is a big hit, and a great no-meat meal to have in your repertoire.
This delicious baked brioche egg cups recipe is a perfect option for breakfast on the go. Sometimes on busy weekday mornings, getting everybody ready in time is a real challenge! Knowing that if time escapes us I can give my daughters one of these as they run out of the door just takes away some of the stress. These breakfast egg cups are super easy to make (and to takeaway), and make for a satisfying, wholesome breakfast. Mix it up if you like, adding pancetta, different types of greens, herbs or spinach, for example. Whatever suits you and your family! Packed with protein, similar to my omelette muffins, I just love an easy breakfast solution that is filling, substantial, yet easy to eat on the go, too. Knowing that their breakfast on-the-go (and mine!) can contain a couple of veggies and energy-packed eggs makes me feel I’ve given them a good, healthy start to their day.