With the rise of vegan cafe culture forcing chia seeds, kale and quinoa down our throats (quite literally), it is fair to note that the foundations of the Mediterranean diet are almost solely dependent on fresh produce and seasonal vegetables, making Greek recipes the perfect vegan diet.
1. Grilled Eggplant Gyros
Ingredients: Pita bread, fried eggplant (eggplant, salt, flour, olive oil), onion, tomatoes, oregano
1. Cut green end off eggplant, slice thinly, sprinkle with salt and set aside for an hour.
2. Rinse in cold water and then drain the eggplant pieces in a colander.
3. Add olive oil to a deep skillet and set the heat on medium. Dip eggplant slices into flour and fry until the slices are golden brown.
4. Drain on absorbent paper and sprinkle with salt.
5. Lightly grill pita bread in the oven.
6. Top pita with onion, tomato, and some of the fried eggplant. Sprinkle some oregano over all the ingredients.
7. Roll the gyro sandwich and wrap it in aluminum foil so it can hold the shape.
2. Greek-Style Stewed Potatoes (Patates Yahni)
Ingredients: 6 medium potatoes, peeled and soaked in cold water, 1/2 cup Greek olive oil, 1 medium onion, 3 garlic cloves, 3 large tomatoes, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 6 cups cold water, 1 cup parsley, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
1. Cut each of the potatoes into eight roughly uniform pieces.
2. Add half the olive oil to a large pot and heat over medium.
3. Add the onions and saute until soft. This should take about five minutes.
4. Add the garlic and saute for another minute, stirring with a wooden spoon to incorporate the garlic.
5. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the tomatoes. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes. 6. Combine the tomato paste and one cup of the water in a small dish until stir until dissolved.
7. Add to the pot along with the parsley, salt, and pepper and stir until combined.
8. Add the potatoes and then the rest of the water. Stir until the ingredients are well mixed and cover.
9. Raise the head to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Once it boils, reduce it to low and simmer for about an hour, or until the potatoes are soft.
3. Greek Style Boiled Greens (Horta Vrasta)
Ingredients: 3 pounds mixed greens (like endive, chicory, dandelion and spinach), 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, Olive oil, Lemon juice, Salt
1. Clean the greens by trimming away any hard stems. Wash them under cold water. Shake dry and add to a large stockpot.
2. Pour 2 cups of cold water over the greens and sprinkle vinegar over the top if the greens are particularly bitter. If the greens are mild, as is the case with spinach, you don’t need to use the vinegar.
3. Place the lid on the pot and set the heat to medium high. Bring the water to a boil and shut the heat off.
4. Leave the pot on the same burner for ten minutes before removing from the heat.
5. Transfer the greens to a serving bowl and drizzle olive oil, lemon juice, and salt over the post
4. Vegan Greek Style Stuffed Tomato (Yemista)
Ingredients: 6 large tomatoes, 6 large peppers, 4 large potatoes, 4 tsp tomato paste, 1&1/4 cup olive oil, 1 finely chopped onion, 1&1/2 cup rice, 2/3 cup parsley, Pepper, Salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Slice the top of the peppers off and clean out the seeds. Set the caps aside for later. 3. Slice a piece from the top of each tomato and remove the pulp with a teaspoon. Save the caps and the pulp and set aside.
4. Blend the pulp until thin and add the tomato paste, and stir to make a sauce.
5. In a skillet, heat up half of the olive oil and saute the onions on high heat until soft.
6. Add the tomato sauce mixture, salt and pepper to the skillet and boil it for 10 minutes.
7. Turn down the heat and remove 1/3 of the mixture and set aside.
8. Add the rice and parsley to the skillet and mix well.
9. Arrange tomatoes and peppers in a baking pan. Put a touch of olive oil inside and on the outsides of the tomatoes and peppers.
10. Add the rice mixture to each tomato and pepper about 3/4 the way up and cover them with the caps.
11. Spread the tomatoes and peppers throughout the pan and add the potatoes between them.
12. Pour the remaining tomato mixture over the potatoes, and then pour the olive oil on top of that.
13. Season the whole pan with salt and pepper and it’s ready to go in the oven.
14. Cook on 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. Add water to pan occasionally if all the juices have been absorbed.
5. Greek-Style Lemon Chickpeas (Revithia)
Ingredients: 500g dry chickpeas, 1 large red onion, 1/2 a cup olive oil, 1 bay leaf, 2 tbsp dried oregano, salt, pepper, 2 lemons, 2 tbsp flour, vegetable stock (optional)
1. Wash the chickpeas and let them soak in plenty of cold water overnight.
2. Drain the chickpeas and discard the soaking water.
3. Place the chickpeas in a colander and rinse very well with plenty of water (4-5 times).
4. Place the chickpeas in a large pan with enough cold water to cover them (about 4cm over the chickpeas).
5. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil. Keep removing the froth from the top with a wooden spoon for about 15 minutes.
6. Drain the chickpeas and then put them back in the pan and add enough warm water to cover them again.
7. Bring to the boil and add the olive oil, chopped onion, oregano and bay leafs.
8. Turn the heat down to a simmer and place the lid on. Let them cook for 1-2 hours, depending on the chickpeas, until tender. Add more water if necessary in order not to dry.
9. If you prefer your soup to be thicker, during the end of cooking time add in a bowl the flour and lemon juice and pour gradually 1-2 ladles of the soup and whisk.
10. Add the mixture slowly in the pan with the chickpeas and season. Stir gently for 2-3 minutes until the soup thickens.