Real Greek Vegetarian Classics

Greek food is delicious and varied, but you may not know is that it is vegetable-based. Indeed, a quick look at the history of vegetarianism shows that it has origins in the ancient Indian and Greek civilisations, so it is not surprising that the habits continue to thrive, with vegetarian and vegan options available in many tavernas and restaurants. Here is a list of some vegetarian-friendly food you can find in most Greek tavernas, depending on the season.

I call these the real Greek vegetarian classics, as their origin was vegetables as opposed to dishes where some vegetables as mushrooms or soya are substituting meat in the original recipe (e.g. a vegetarian version of mousaka without meat).

Don't forget that the way of eating in Greek tavernas is via sharing the dishes. Order therefore a variety of dishes and share with your friends - tapas / meze style. There is usually no starter and main dish, but dishes come with the order they are prepared.

Greek Salad - Choriatiki

The classic salad consisting of (in order of priority of ingredient) tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese olive oil, olives, onions and paprika, oregano. Sometimes vinegar or lemon juice added


Another classic refreshing spread consisting of Greek thick yoghurt, cucumber, dille and garlic

Spinach Pie - Spanakopita

The most famous filo pastry traditional Greek pie with spinach and feta cheese

Gigantes - Giant Beans

Broad beans (butter beans) baked in a thick, sweet tomato sauce. Usually prepared in a vegan way but often combined with cheese. Contains vegetables as paprika and onion

Feta Cheese

This is combined with almost everything so it's quite common to order a portion of feta cheese served usually with oregano and olive oil, often with a couple of olives


Stuffed wine leaves with rice. Caution as there is often a version with meat so it's important to pay attention that they are the vegan version. Also important to ask to get home made ones. Often served with thick yoghurt or tzatziki

Gemista - Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers

Though any vegetables can be made stuffed, the most traditional version of the oven dish is with tomatoes and green paprikas. Note there is a version with meat. Comes usually with potatoes also baked in tomato sauce. Combined with feta. Variations of this food is with stuffed courgettes or aubergines


This delicious dip/purée features a blend of split peas and olive oil. Sometimes garnished with onions and capers. Most famous is the one of Santorini.

Fried Courgette Balls

These are the most common vegetarian fritters. Besides zucchini they nclude some egg and cheese. Served best with tzatziki. Similar fritters include the tomato balls depending on the region.

Mpamies - Okra

The "king" of the category of the food category of Greek dishes cooked with olive oil and tomato sauce. Combine with feta. You will love it or hate it

Chorta - Cooked Greens

Another love or hate unique Greek specialty. It is different types of wild leafy greens growing everywhere with a bitter taste.

Imam (baildi)

Delicious food with aubergines in the oven filled with tomatoes and onions took the name from a turkish sultan


A specialty from Creta and the Aegean islands. Consists of a soaked barley rusk with grained tomatoes, crumbled mizithra cheese, caper, olive oil and oregano

Anginares a la polita

A special artichoke dish usually found in south Greece and Peloponese in the summer with a nice lemon taste.


The equivalent of french ratatouille: A mix of vegetables as aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, paprika, onions and others in the oven. Serve with feta

Fried Courgettes

Just like frying potatoes, it s very common to have fried courgettes or aubergines. Best combined with tzatziki

Spinach Rice - Spanakorizo

Spinach cooked with rice in the pan always served with lemon in the vegan version and sometimes feta. Some find it too plain but that's the beauty

Lentils soup - Fakkes

Greek kitchen is not famous for its soups, but this one with lentils, carrots, tomato, potatoe & garlic with cumin, laurel and of course olive oil is perfect for the Greek winter. Equally famous are soups with beans (fasolada) or chickpeas with lemon


Though more known for the combination with the meat dishes like souvlaki, you can try plain pita instead of bread with any dish


Different recipies to make the dish, most famous in North Greece. Consists of feta, tomatoes, spicy chillis, oregano and olive oil. Baked in the oven in aluminium foil or ceramic pot

Cheese pies with honey

Though this is not a true grandma's dish, the cheese pies (often with mizithra or feta cheese) with honey and sesame are becoming more common in the greek restaurants

Aubergine Dip - Melitzanosalata

An aubergine baked till it gets liquid in the oven plus some garlic and olive oil. Delicious with a taste of bitter aubergine

Strapatzada - Kagiana

The greek version of scrumbled egges. Simple magic of mixing tomatoes, feta, eggs, olive oil and oregano

Politiki Salad

A winter salad with cabage as basis, carrot, roasted red Florina paprikas, celery, parsley, lemon, vinegar and olive oil