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!
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.
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!
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
Whether you have kids or not, I always want to find reasons to celebrate as the weather draws in, finding excuses for activities to bring the family together in the kitchen. These Halloween bakes are the perfect excuse. Following on from last week’s pumpkin chocolate chip bread recipe, these are a real commitment to the season! I tend to buy some little spooky figurines, or the cute googly eyes above, just to add that bit of Halloween fun for the kids for this bake. But they work perfectly well without, too, for a more grown-up treat! These Halloween pumpkin cupcakes channel the US tradition to use pumpkin in baking around this time of year. Using pumpkin in desserts just isn’t as common in the UK - I don’t know why, as it makes for a deliciously moist, flavoursome and seasonal addition to sweets and bakes! The warming spices make these cupcakes feel like little bites of pure autumn. They really can satisfy all season long; feel free to leave out the orange colouring and any fun Halloween decorative touches if you want a more stylish seasonal bake for the grown ups to enjoy - far beyond the 31st of October!
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!
This pumpkin chocolate chip bread comes high on my list of healthy Halloween treats. This is a truly seasonal autumn recipe, that smells so good when it’s baking that I can barely bear to leave it in the oven long enough. It’s one of those breads that is really more of a cake - but I somehow feel slightly virtuous when enjoying it with a slather of butter and a cup of tea in the mid afternoon if I call it pumpkin bread! I love Halloween bakes; they’re a little break from the mountains of sugar and candy children seem to be fed around the 31st, but are still a really seasonal treat. This is one of the first recipes I’ll reach for, because it’s perfectly seasonal without being smothered in ghosts, ghouls and all things spooky! I’ll save those for the Halloween cupcakes recipe I’ll publish next week - so keep your eye out for those. The orange and spice combination means that this recipe shouldn’t be relegated solely to Halloween, either - it’s well worth its place on the afternoon tea table well through November and into December!
This recipe for Cretan Dakos, or ‘krhtikos ntakos’, is ideal for those summer days where you just want something light and vegetable based. A little reminiscent of an Italian bruschetta, it is basically a crisp bread or rusk topped with veg - most traditionally, tomato - and feta, alongside something zingy and savoury, like red onion, capers or olives. It’s a perfect ‘store cupboard’ recipe, too, because you can keep the Dakos rusks in the cupboard for whenever you use them! The key to making these rock-hard rusks into an enjoyable base for a gorgeous lunch is that you must soften them. DON’T skip that step, whatever you do! It’s a perfect lazy Summertime lunch.
Tzatziki is probably one of those Greek recipes that needs no introduction! This famous dip is a creamy and refreshing mixture of thick Greek yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and olive oil. It’s enough to transport anybody back to a Greek taverna, eating some souvlaki in the sun! Even if you’ve never visited Greece, you’ve likely enjoyed tzatziki as a dip for pita bread or carrot sticks, at a sunny barbecue with friends. Now that the sun is smiling down on us and our BBQ is permanently uncovered, this is a regular side dish to any and all of our BBQ recipes, and to dip flatbreads or pitas into when our mouths are watering and we just can’t wait for everything to be cooked!
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.
These Greek tomato and feta fritters, or ‘ntomatokeftedes’ in Greek, are a real favourite of mine. In fact, there was a period of time (back when we lived in Greece) that I’d choose them almost every time we’d go out for food! I liked them so much that I started experimenting on my own recipe, so I could make perfect ‘ntomatokeftedes’ at home. This meze is popular in Greek tavernas, especially in the islands, and to me it just shouts out summer. In those hot days when an abundance of fruits and vegetables are ready to eat, I don’t think there’s anything better than biting into a freshly-picked tomato, still warm from the sun! This recipe makes the most of that tomato flavour, combined with fresh and salty feta. This is a simple recipe - but it’s so tasty! It really is a must-try.