What Did the Ancient Greeks Eat?

Mediterranean diet
VOISIN/PHANIE/Getty Images

What Did the Ancient Greeks Eat?

The foods of ancient Greece were similar to foods we eat today but did not include many that have become important parts of modern Greek cooking. For example, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and bananas didn't arrive in Greece until after the discovery of the Americas in the 15th century, because that's where those foods originated. Lemons, oranges, eggplant, and rice also arrived later.

But the ancient Greeks enjoyed a varied diet. Vegetables, legumes, and fruit were the mainstay, and fish was a favorite. Hunting brought game to the menu.

To see a detailed article discussing how to eat like an ancient Greek, click here: Eating Like An Ancient Greek

Ancient Greek Food

Some of the foods eaten by ancient Greeks were:

Vegetables

  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Bulbs
  • Cabbage
  • Cardoons
  • Carrots
  • Cos lettuce (Romaine)
  • Cress
  • Cucumbers
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Squash (marrows)
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Wild celery

Fruit

  • Apples
  • Bergamot oranges
  • Carobs
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Jujubes
  • Olives (yes, olives are a fruit)
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
  • Quinces

Legumes

  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Peas, green and yellow

Fish & Seafood

  • Anchovies
  • Boarfish
  • Crayfish
  • Cuttlefish
  • Eels
  • Gray and Red Mullet
  • Grouper
  • Octopus
  • Prawns
  • Rays
  • Sardines
  • Sea bass
  • Sprats
  • Squid
  • Tuna
  • Wrasse

Meat, Poultry & Game

  • Birds
  • Boar
  • Chicken
  • Deer
  • Donkey
  • Goat
  • Goose
  • Hare
  • Lamb
  • Pheasant
  • Pork

Grains/Cereals

  • Barley (most commonly used for bread)
  • Wheat (spelt was widely grown and used)

Herbs & Spices

  • Coriander (and coriander leaves, also known as cilantro)
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Saffron
  • Thyme

Other Foods

  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Honey
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Snails
  • Vinegar

Fermented Beverages

  • Beer
  • Honey mead
  • Wine

More information about ancient Greek foods: