Classic Greek Dishes

Must-Have Recipes for the Greek Food Enthusiast

These are dishes at the top of the request list for lovers of Greek food. From simple to elaborate, they are ​classic dishes that delight Greek food enthusiasts the world over. Explore the rich culinary traditions of Greece as you sample the best of Greek food.

  • 01 of 20
    Moussaka
    Tastyart Ltd Rob White / Getty Images

    Perhaps the most widely recognized of all Greek dishes, this oven-baked casserole of layered eggplant and spiced meat filling topped with a creamy bechamel will be the highlight of any Greek meal. It can be time-consuming to prepare, but it will delight your guests.

  • 02 of 20
    Spinach,Feta Cheese and Mushroom Filo Triangles
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    These finger-friendly triangles are made with phyllo pastry sheets and filled with a delicious mixture of Greek cheeses. To master the folding technique, see this recipe step-by-step. You can prepare them and freeze them to bake for a great snack whenever you wish.

  • 03 of 20
    Classic Greek Baklava. Lynn Livanos Athan

    A perennial favorite, this classic Greek pastry is made with flaky phyllo dough layered with a cinnamon-spiced nut filling and bathed in sweet syrup. It’s crunchy, sweet, and very decadent. This recipe has been passed down from generation to generation.

  • 04 of 20
    Boiled spinach with sesame
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    Greeks love their leafy greens and for a good reason. They are healthy and delicious. Packed with nutrients and flavor; these greens will compliment any meal. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and enjoy.

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • 05 of 20
    White Bowl of Avgolemono Soup
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    The ultimate in Greek comfort food, this soup is a hearty and delicious staple of any Greek household. A traditional chicken soup finished with a creamy egg-lemon flavor; it is sure to become a family favorite.

  • 06 of 20
    Tzatziki - cucumber yogurt dip. Lynn Livanos Athan

    A tangy cucumber dip flavored with garlic is the perfect complement to grilled meats and vegetables. It's served on the side with warm pita bread triangles for dipping and is also used as a condiment for souvlaki.

  • 07 of 20
    Pastitsio, Greek macaroni, meat and tomato dish baked with bechamel sauce, served on a plate, view from above
    Clive Streeter / Getty Images

    Three essential components make up this dish - pasta, meat filling, and a creamy bechamel sauce, all layered in a pan and baked to golden perfection. But you'll have a messy kitchen as each of those requires its preparation. You'll dirty a few pots and pans making it, but it will be so worth the effort.

  • 08 of 20
    Perennial favorite - Greek Galaktoboureko. Lynn Livanos Athan

    Hard to pronounce, but so easy to eat! This custard-filled phyllo pie is an outstanding Greek dessert. It's drenched with a lemon and orange-infused syrup. It's rich, creamy and so delicious that you will want to make it again and again.

    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • 09 of 20
    Bowl Of Vegetable Soup
    Debbi Smirnoff / Getty Images

    A staple of any Greek household, this classic white bean soup is on the menu at least once a week in many households. You can keep it simple or embellish with extra vegetables, either way, you'll find yourself returning to this hearty bean soup recipe.

  • 10 of 20
    Plated veggie pastry on white plate
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    Greeks will make almost anything into a pita or pie, especially fresh greens like spinach. This tasty pita happens to be so popular, it's popping up in mainstream grocery store freezers everywhere you turn. Why buy the frozen stuff when you can make your very own mouthwatering pan?

  • 11 of 20
    Beef stew with orzo pasta - Youvetsi. Lynn Livanos Athan

    A traditional beef stew in a rich tomato sauce that's baked in a clay oven with delicious orzo pasta and topped with a heap of grated kefalotyri cheese. This hearty and delicious one pot meal will comfort and delight young and old.

  • 12 of 20
    Stuffed Grape-Vine Leaves served as appetizer
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    Stuffed with rice, pine nuts, and fresh herbs, dolmathakia (dol-mah-THAH-kya) take a little bit of time to prepare, but the result is so worth it. These make great appetizers and can be served warm or cold. See how to roll grape leaves for the technique.

    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • 13 of 20
    Carp roe spread - Taramosalata. Lynn Livanos Athan

    The Greek meze (meh-ZEH) or appetizer table would not be complete without this traditional spread. While it used to be made with a mortar and pestle, you can use a food processor. Serve with plenty of fresh bread for dipping.

  • 14 of 20
    Green bean salad
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    Vegetable dishes that are cooked with olive oil and tomatoes are referred to as lathera (lah-the-RAH) in Greek because the key ingredient is flavorful olive oil, or “ lathi.”  This is a great way to prepare fresh green beans as a side dish or a vegetarian main meal.

  • 15 of 20
    Cookies cooling off
    Bill Boch / Getty Images

    Delicious walnut cookies doused in a cinnamon flavored honey syrup and then topped with more chopped walnuts.  A classic Christmas offering, this cookie is unlike anything you've tasted before.

  • 16 of 20
    Grilled pork souvlaki. Lynn Livanos Athan

    Souvlaki (soo-vlah-kee) is the term used to describe “little skewers” of meat that are marinated in a wonderful red wine marinade and then grilled. Serve this with tzatziki on the side.

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 17 of 20
    Summer tomatoes stuffed with rice and ground meat - Yemista. Lynn Livanos Athan

    A Greek staple of the summer season when tomatoes are abundant and at their peak. You can also use the same filling for peppers, zucchini, or any other vegetables that may be available.

  • 18 of 20
    Traditional Greek Easter bread - Tsoureki. Lynn Livanos Athan

    The traditional bread of Greek Easter, Tsoureki is a rich yeast bread flavored with orange and a delightful spice called Mahlab (also called Mahlepi) that is ground from the pits of wild cherries.

  • 19 of 20
    Greek meatballs - Keftethes. Lynn Livanos Athan

    Keftethes (keh-FTEH-thes) are savory Greek meatballs that are served as an appetizer or meze (meh-ZEH). The traditional recipe calls for frying the meatballs, but I've found that this baked version is quite good and just a bit healthier.

  • 20 of 20
    Kourabiethes - Greek shortbread cookies with confectioner's sugar and almonds. Lynn Livanos Athan

    A Greek family celebration wouldn’t be complete without the delightful buttery goodness of kourabiethes (koo-rah-BYEH-thes).

    These are very rich cookies (as are most shortbread cookies) yet somehow lighter and melt in your mouth good. Be sure to make extra because these will go fast!