15 Greek Recipes So Good They'll Make Your Yiayia Swell with Pride
There is nothing that satisfies the soul quite as much as a grandmother's cooking. Whether it is your Bubbe's chicken soup when you have a cold, or your Nonna's Sunday gravy when you've suffered heartbreak, grandmother cooking is the cure for what ails you. And if you want to explore the cuisine of a new culture, you couldn't get a better start than looking for those dishes likely to be served up by a gray-haired woman who just wants to make you happy and fill your belly.
Greek food is from one of the most ancient cultures and has the bonus of being solidly in the Mediterranean Diet, which is considered to be the healthiest way to eat. So, if you want to start experimenting with some traditional Greek recipes, look no further than these Yiayia classics.
Lamb and Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves
To start, you want to look at mezes, the traditional small shared plates that begin every Greek meal. Served with olives, chunks of feta cheese, and breads, you can make a whole meal out of these delicious bites.
While many stuffed grape leaves are filled with only rice, these take it up a notch with lamb. They can be served hot or cold, and they freeze beautifully, so don't hesitate to make a double batch.
Easy Greek Yogurt Cucumber Sauce
Tzatziki is the ubiquitous garnish for Greek foods. A simple combination of yogurt, cucumber, lemon, and herbs, it is the most versatile of all Greek dishes. You can serve it as a dip, a salad dressing, or a garnish on hot dishes. Once you have this is your repertoire, you'll find all kinds of uses for it.
Greek Salad III
Mediterranean Chicken and Orzo Salad In Red Pepper Cups
The Greeks love rice so much, even their pasta is shaped like grains of rice! This light chicken and orzo pasta salad is perfect for a light lunch. You can serve it, as the recipe suggests, stuffed in red bell pepper cups, or you can chop up the pepper, and add it to the orzo dish for easier dining.
Greek Avgolemono Chicken Soup
Greek Lentil Salad
Greeks love their legumes. From gigante lima beans to fresh green beans, one of the reasons the diet is so healthy is a commitment to these nutritional powerhouses. This lentil salad is a great side dish and the ideal thing to bring to a backyard barbecue or potluck. The tang from the feta cheese helps brighten up the lentils' natural earthiness.
Greek Lemon Chicken and Potato Bake
Roasted chicken and potatoes get the Greek treatment in this easy one-pan supper. Herbs and lemon juice keep a basic weeknight dish from being anything but boring.
Layered baked dishes are very traditional in Greek culture, and this moussaka is as classic as it gets. A great gateway dish for eggplant skeptics — and a way to sneak vegetables into your kids under the guise of "Greek Lasagna" — it is also an affordable way to feed a crowd.
When it is time to get your grill on, think beyond the dogs and burgers, and give these Greek skewers a try. A new alternative to the usual chunks of meat on a stick, these seasoned beef kebobs can also be turned into patties for a new Greek burger, or meatballs for a fun appetizer.
Greek Green Beans
Arakas Latheros (Greek Peas with Tomato and Dill)
That boring bag of frozen peas can get the Greek grandmother treatment with tomatoes, potatoes, and fresh dill. Whether you serve it with a roasted leg of lamb in the Greek style, or next to your favorite meatloaf, it is a side dish you'll come back to again and again.
As any grandmother knows, there is always room for dessert, and the most famous Greek dessert of all is baklava, the honey-soaked phyllo pie stuffed with nuts. If your sweet tooth can stand it, serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with just a dash of cinnamon for a special treat Yiayia would approve.
Related: Greek Dessert Recipes
Vaselopita - Greek New Years Cake
How can you not love a cake recipe that can sub in for a morning treat as well? This Greek cake is traditionally served on New Year's Eve, but Yiayia won’t mind if you have it for New Year’s Day breakfast — or any other day of the year for that matter.
Get More Greek Recipes
From honey-soaked baklava to tender grilled souvlaki, our collection of Greek recipes spans every dish Yiayia ever made to the Americanized versions you've grown to love. Master dreamy, creamy hummus. Try your hand at traditional gyros. Serve up comfort with Pastitsio. Your options are endless, but every one is guaranteed to give a generous, delicious nod to Greece.