Vegetarian bowl with vegetables and pesto dip - credits: Viktor Kochetkov/Shutterstock.com
Vegetarian bowl with vegetables and pesto dip - credits: Viktor Kochetkov/Shutterstock.com
Most people connect Greece with food. A great variety of products, fresh meat, vegetables, amazing cheese, the Greek souvlaki, and more, are some of the reasons to choose Greece as a holiday destination. But what if you were a vegetarian? Would that be a problem? Of course not! Since the ancient times,Greeks have always followed the Mediterranean diet. This means less meat, more vegetables and legumes. Therefore, the Greek cuisine can provide plenty of local dishes especially for vegetarians.

Koulouri

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Greek sesame bread ring (koulouri) with a view of Ermou - credits: vovidzha/Shutterstock.com

As people are running like crazy early in the morning, it is impossible not to notice that everyone is having koulouri as breakfast. Koulouri has its routes in the Byzantine Empire - but it was first produced in Thessaloniki, the second capital of Greece. Therefore, you need to always ask for it as “koulouri Thessalonikis”. Even though it is small and round, it is supposed to have high nutritional value. It consists of simple ingredients such as flour, salt, water, sesame, and yeast. You can find it in bakeries and street vendors.

Pies

spanakotiropita Anna Hoychuk shutterstockTraditional Greek spinach pie (spanakopita) - credits: Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock.com

Greeks are really famous for their pies. Spinach pie (spanakopita) and cheese pie (tiropita) are among the numerous choices that a vegetarian can eat. They are usually made with homemade phyllo and a rich filling. As bakeries are common throughout Greece, you are always able to find the pie of your preference.

Greek salad or “Horiatiki”

greek salad Sunny Forest shutterstockGreek salad - credits: Sunny Forest/Shutterstock.com

Greek salad is a fresh dish, which contains tomato, cucumber, green pepper, onions, and olives. If you are into cheese, you should also add Greece’s national cheese, feta. This salad could be ordered as a main dish or as a starter. Don’t forget to accompany it with bread and make delicious dips in the tasty olive oil and vegetable juices.

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Yemista

 

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Oven-baked stuffed tomatoes (yemista) - zi3000/Shutterstock.com

For Greeks, yemista is a typical Greek summer recipe. Yemista - which in the Greek language means “stuffed with” - are tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants stuffed with rice, chopped onions, parsley and sometimes fresh mint, accompanied by potatoes in the oven. Cinnamon is also added, which gives not only magical taste to the food, but also an oriental scent. Don’t forget to dip some bread, as it is a food rich in olive oil.

Dolmades, the yalanci version

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Vegetarian stuffed wine leaves (dolmades 
yalanci) - credits: vivooo/Shutterstock.com

A visitor that is interested in food might notice that Greek cuisine includes many recipes with stuffed vegetables. Another one is dolmades, stuffed vine leaves with grain rice, chopped onions, and peppermint. As the original recipe indicates, dolmades can also contain ground beef; in Greece, the meat-free version is calleddolmades yalanci”, from the Turkish word “yalanci” which means “fake”.

Souvlaki without meat

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Vegan souvlaki - credits: Nic Crilly-Hargrave/Shutterstock

Who said that the national Greek food, souvlaki, is only for meat lovers? Souvlaki is a food choice especially loved by locals as it is delicious and offers great value for money. You can just ask for wrapped pita without meat, stuffed with fried potatoes, tomato, lettuce and tzatziki spread. In some places, you can also ask for veggie or mushroom souvlaki. The taste is even better than eating gyros

Fasolada

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Traditional Greek Fasolada beans soup with tomatoes and olives credits: Markellos Plakitsis/Shutterstock.com

Another traditional and exquisite Greek recipe, ideal for vegetarians and not only, is the traditional Greek fasolada. It is a soup of white dry beans, olive oil, tomato juice and chopped vegetables, such as carrots, freshly-cut celery, onions and sometimes red chili, in order to create a more spicy version. This traditional food is mostly eaten with feta cheese and bread.

Spoon sweets

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Homemade cherry spoon sweet - credits: Marie C Fields/Shutterstock.com

Greek cuisine provides a great variety of traditional sweets too. Every place has its own production of marmalades, sweet pies, syrup and spoon sweets. Spoon sweets are mainly produced by housewives and served as a gesture of hospitality. Spoon sweets can be made of almost any fruit or even vegetables and flowers. The original recipe is cooking fruits with honey, but as time went by, honey was substituted by sugar. Some of the fruits that are used are citrus, bergamot, oranges, cherries, lemons, and other varieties, including flower petals like roses. For example, Crete is mostly known for its grape spoon sweets, Aegina for pistachio sweets, while Peloponnese is famous for citrus and bitter orange spoon sweets. We do not have to mention that they’re all handmade! But what about Athens? Do not worry. You can find sweets produced in different Greek regions, in many local shops. Before you leave, don’t forget to try them!

Loukoumades

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Loukoumades drenched in honey syrup - credits: foodlove/Shutterstock.com

In Greece, loukoumades are mostly a winter dessert, but you can also find them during summer. They are based on everyday ingredients like flour, water, sugar, and yeast and then they are deep fried in oil. You can either eat them plain with honey and cinnamon or with ice- cream and chocolate syrup, in their modern version.

Baklava

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The traditional dessert of baklava - credits: Alp Aksoy/Shutterstock.com

A true war began between Greece and Turkey concerning the birth country of baklava, although most sources mention that baklava was spread throughout the Ottoman Empire. In Greece, it is a beloved choice for dessert, because of its layers of traditional phyllo filled with chopped mixed nuts, sweetened and held together with syrup.

Whatever your vegetarian heart might desire, sweet or sour, Greek tastes will not let you down. It is for sure, that you’ll find what you are looking for. As Athens is the city that can satisfy the most challenging food desires, just give it a try and you won’t regret it!