Recipes for Greek Food Beginners

New to Greek food? Learn about cooking in different ways with different ingredients in this selection of recipes. Whether to prepare a first complete meal, offer mezethes to friends, or just add one new dish to a home-cooked meal, this is a great place to start.

These recipes utilize several cooking techniques, from simple stirring to stovetop and oven-baked casseroles, and ingredients that are perennial favorites in Greek homes.

  • 01 of 10
    Photo of Traditional Greek Tzatziki Yogurt Garlic and Cucumber Dip
    Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Tzatziki is an easy no-cook dish to prepare and is a great multipurpose choice. The combination of yogurt, cucumber, and garlic gives it a refreshing taste and texture. It can be served as an appetizer dip with slices of bread, crackers, or fresh veggies, or as a condiment sauce with meats and other recipes like stuffed vegetables.

  • 02 of 10
    Alexander Baxevanis/Wikimedia CC 2.0

    For a cheese meze, this tangy-to-hot (depending on the pepper used) spread is a great choice to add a different flavor to a grouping of other less spicy dishes, and it's also good with cold meat. Sautéing and stirring are the only techniques involved here.

  • 03 of 10
    Greek Spetzofai - Photo of Greek Sausage Meze
    Photo © Jim Stanfield

    Meat jumps into the mix with spicy country sausage in this recipe that can be served as an appetizer or meze, or as a main dish. The sausage, peppers, garlic, and a dash of wine always surprise me when they blend so perfectly every time with little intervention. A good way to learn how the right simple combination of ingredients can simmer together to create magic.

  • 04 of 10
    Greek Salad
    Photo © Jim Stanfield

    The basic salad to accompany almost any meal, this recipe for the classic Greek salad contains no mysteries, but do look for good ripe tomatoes. This needs a great quality Greek extra virgin olive oil. If you're not sure about what olive oil to look for, check my olive oil buying advice.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Batter-Fried Zucchini
    Photo © Jim Stanfield

    These fried zucchinis are often served as an appetizer/meze as well as a side dish. Soda water in the batter makes them delightfully airy and crunchy. A simple recipe for a delicious dish. The only trick to this dish is to slice the zucchini thinly. Use a mandoline or long knife to make quick accurate cuts.

  • 06 of 10
    Photo of Greek Dilled Peas with Peppers
    Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    This is another one of those dishes where you just put everything in a pot and it makes its own magic. Peas, lots of fresh dill, red and green peppers, and green onions simply cook together without interference to make one of my favorite side dishes.

  • 07 of 10
    Green Bean and Tomato Casserole
    Photo © Jim Stanfield

    A wonderful side dish, this is also an excellent choice as a main dish for vegetarians and vegans. Use your favorite type of "string" bean, and be sure to serve this one with plenty of crusty bread. This is classic Greek stovetop casserole cooking, and a delightful way to learn this technique with delicious results.

  • 08 of 10
    Pork Souvlaki - Grilled Pork Kebabs
    Photo © Jim Stanfield

    Of all the versions of souvlaki - skewered kebabs - pork is the most frequently used meat in Greece, and a favorite of Greeks and visitors alike. This is an easy recipe to make, and even easier to eat.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Yiouvetsi - Greek Beef and Pasta Casserole
    Photo © Jim Stanfield

    This is one of my personal favorites and a great way to start with oven-baked casseroles that are so common in Greek cooking. Whether you use a traditional yiouvetsi (fired clay casserole pot) or another type of oven-proof casserole dish, this oven-to-table main dish is sure to please.

  • 10 of 10
    A Bowl of Greek Yogurt with Honey
    Steve Outram / Getty Images

    Quick, easy, good for the digestive system, and the perfect end to a Greek meal, yogurt with honey is a favorite everyday dessert in Greece. (If creamy, thick Greek yogurt isn't available at your market, you can make your own thick yogurt using commercial full fat, low fat, or nonfat yogurt.)