Homestyle Greek Food

Homestyle Greek Food
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In Greece, the people tend to socialize over coffee and pastries and do the majority of their cooking in the home with fresh, local ingredients. If you've never tasted or made real Greek dishes these recipes are simple and use items most of us can buy locally so they aren't difficult. Be sure to buy plain yogurt, the freshest produce you can find. I did give sources for the recipes when possible.
A note on the traditional Greek salad we've all seen and probably tasted at some point--it's only in America that lettuce is added. Also, it's one of those recipes that changes with the cook and what they have on hand. Some versions have more tomato and less cucumber, use wine vinegar and no oil, or more oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Be sure to put your own creative twist to the recipe too!

Greek Meat Patties (Appetizer)


2 pounds ground or minced Beef or Pork

2 white bread slices (soaked in water for 10 minutes)

1 egg

Lemon (To garnish)

1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced

1 medium Onion, minced or grated

1 tablespoon fresh minced oregano

1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons fresh minced thyme

Squeeze excess moisture from the bread and discard crusts. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients by hand or with a large wooden spoon. Allow to rest a half an hour before working with it. Make the mixture into large flat (thin) burgers. and grill about 3 minutes on each side. grill, approximately 3-5 minutes on each side til done, but still moist. Don't let them dry out or become dark. Serve on a platter with wedges of lemon.

Soupa Avgolemono (Greek Egg-lemon Soup)

"The Food of Greece" by Vilma Liacouras Chantiles


2 quarts chicken broth; strained

1/2 cup rice

2 whole eggs or egg yolks

2 lemons; (juice only)


Bring the broth to a full boil in a soup kettle. Gradually add the rice, stirring constantly until the broth boils again. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the rice is just tender, not mushy, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm while preparing avgolemono. Beat the eggs for two minutes. Continue to beat, gradually add the lemon juice. Slowly add some of the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture, beating steadily. Stir the mixture into the soup and cook over minimum heat, without boiling, until the soup thickens to coat a spoon. Taste for salt, and keep warm over hot water until ready to serve. Pass the pepper mill at the table for additional zest.(If desired, bite-sized pieces of cooked chicken may be added to soup before adding the rice). Serves 6.

Traditional Greek Salad


3 - 4 tomatoes

1 small red onion

6-7 ounces feta cheese

2 or 3 cucumbers



fresh oregano

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Cut the tomatoes, the onion and the cucumber in slices. Mix them, add salt and some pieces of feta cheese, oregano and at the end pour some olive oil. Serves 4. Note: You can also use balsamic vinegar.

Beef With Yogurt in Pita Bread (Fetes Vodines se Peta)

From The Complete Book of Greek Cooking, 1990


1/2 cup dry red wine

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp.dried oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

pepper to taste, dash or two

1 pound beef flank steak

1 tbsp. butter or margarine

4 pitas

3 cups chopped lettuce

1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber

1 cup chopped tomato

1 cup plain yogurt

Combine wine, oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. cut steak into strips, 2-inches by 1/4-inch wide, or as thin as possible. Pour wine marinade over beef strips, and let stand for 1 hour at room temperature. Drain meat strips and cook, in two batches, in hot butter, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until brown on all sides. Serve meat in a chafing dish or on a hot tray to keep warm. Open one end of pita to make a pocket. Set out dishes of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and yogurt. Allow each person to fill his own pita. Serves 4.

Braised String Beans (Fassoulakia Yahni)

From The Art of Greek Cookery


1 large onion; chopped

1 small garlic clove; minced

3/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp. tomato paste

1/2 fresh tomato, peeled and chopped

1 pound string beans, ends snapped or trimmed

Fresh parsley or mint; chopped

Salt and pepper


Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add tomato paste and fresh tomato and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened. Add string beans and seasoning and enough water to cover. Cover and cook until beans are tender. Makes 4-6 servings.

Greek Honey Cream with Fruits and Nuts

Bon Appetit Magazine, February 1990


1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 cup honey

1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds

1 cup chilled whipping cream

1/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews

Mixed fresh fruit

1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios

Notes: Almonds should be blanched.

Suggested fruits: berries, sliced pears and apples.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Place all nuts in baking pan. Bake until lightly toasted, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cool completely. Using electric mixer, beat honey in large bowl until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Whip cream in another large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold nuts into cream. Gently fold cream into honey, leaving a few steaks of cream. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled and slightly set, about 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.) Place dollop of honey cream on each plate. Surround with fruit and serve. 8 Servings.

NOTE: Author Nancy Harmon Jenkins shares two authentic Mediterranean recipes on this page.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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