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