Authentic Greek Island Pizza-Olive Oil Pizza-Lathenia

July 25, 2014

Greek island pizza

Summer means Greek islands for a lot of us here in Greece. We all have memories of our first “adult” vacation when we took a boat to one of the islands with our friends and arrived in one of the many Greek islands and had the time of our lives. The islands are often associated with a carefree lifestyle, no need for formalities just fun. While living on an island is not all fun and games, particularly years ago when transportation was not good, islanders and those living near coastal areas are generally more outgoing  than those from mountainous areas of Greece. Even their songs were more positive sounding. This was very refreshing for me as both my parents are from Arcadia which is in the center of Peloponnesus surrounded by mountains and people tend to be a bit more closed.

I remember a friend of my mom’s  back in the U.S. Her name was Petroula and she was from the island of Kimolos. We would always go to their house on Christmas and it was a big Greek gathering. The moment she opened the door and saw us, she welcomed us with such excitement that it made you think that you were her favorite person in the world. During these parties the table was full of food: mountains of meatballs (keftethakia), salads, cheese, lamb and also lathenia. Lathenia is a recipe that resembles a pizza from the island of Kimolos. The dough is similar to focaccia as it contains quite a bit of olive oil. In fact the name of the lathenia, means “the oily one”. Then it is topped with tomato and onion, a drizzle of olive oil and salt pepper.

It is baked in the oven much longer than a pizza, and the result is soft onions and sweetened tomatoes that have melted together, creating a delicious taste and texture. I have heard that it should not contain anything else such as oregano or other vegetables. I am fine with that, it is so tasty in its simplicity. Now the secret to the tastiness of this recipe is the olive oil that is practically drizzled on every layer. It brings out the flavor of the vegetables but also makes the crust delicious in its own right.

I used a bit of whole wheat flour to add some more fiber. This recipe is vegan, there is no cheese in it. It is also rich in antioxidants from the onions, tomatoes and olive oil. Studies have shown that we absorb more lycopene (an antioxidant in tomatoes) when it is heated with olive oil as is in this recipe. This is an ideal snack for a picnic or a road trip as it has no cheese and is easy to carry around. A perfect appetizer but also a filling lunch.

Authentic Greek Island Pizza-Olive Oil Pizza-Lathenia

Authentic Greek Island Pizza-Olive Oil Pizza-Lathenia

Ingredients

    For crust*
  • 3 1/2 cups flour (you can also use a bit of whole wheat flour)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 ounce dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water
    For topping
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Empty flour in a large bowl, add the sugar, salt and yeast and mix.
  2. Add the olive oil and mix with a spoon. Now start adding the water mixing until you have a thick dough.
  3. Place the dough and knead for about 5 minutes adding more water or flour as needed until you have dough that is uniform and is not sticking to your hands.
  4. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour.
  5. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).
  6. When dough is ready, drizzle some oil on the bottom of a round pan that is about 14-15 inches diameter (or you can use smaller and divide into 2 pans). Spread the dough with your hands so it covers the whole pan. Brush again with olive oil.
  7. Chop the onions in medium size pieces and place in bowl, add about a teaspoon of olive oil and add the tomato paste and mix, until all the pieces are covered.
  8. Make little dents in the dough with your fingers and spread the onions.
  9. Cut the tomatoes in thin slices and then cut in half or in quarters depending the size of the tomatoes and place on top of the onions. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, add freshly ground pepper and a bit of kosher salt.
  10. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes on the lower rack.

Notes

*On some occasions I have made the crust without yeast because I didn’t have any plus it is quicker. The crust is not as fluffy but still very delicious. So if you are short on time check the recipe for yeastless crust.

-Yeastless Crust-

*3 1/2 cups flour (you can also use a bit of whole wheat flour)

*3 ½ teaspoons baking powder

*1 teaspoon salt

*½ teaspoon sugar

*1/3 cup olive oil

*1 cup water

Follow the instructions as in the recipe omitting step #4.

Photo by Elena Paravantes

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13 Comments

  • Reply Tori July 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Elena, this looks absolutely delicious! This time last year, I was lucky enough to swimming in the clear blue waters of Corinth. I might just have to make this recipe to take myself back there, seeing as it is now winter here in Australia, and raining most days! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD July 26, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Tori! Yes, a taste of summer in Greece!

  • Reply Cheryl July 26, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Elena.

    Your website looks great, the recipes wonderful!

    Found you from your comment on the New York Times parenting blog Motherlode.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD July 27, 2014 at 8:06 am

      Thanks Cheryl! Thank you for visiting

  • Reply Theresa July 26, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    This was delicious! Thanks for including the recipe for yeast-less dough–it was very good and I was happy to save time by not waiting for the dough to rise.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD July 27, 2014 at 8:07 am

      Glad you enjoyed it Theresa! Yeast-less definitely saves time

  • Reply Rockinon July 27, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Tied this recipe. Very nice. Simple flavours well presented and not hidden by the addition of a lot of herbs and/or spices. And quick to make, at least up to the time spent in the over baking and caramelizing.

    Great website.

  • Reply Emma July 29, 2014 at 12:42 am

    I’m so glad I found your blog, it is the best source of healthy, authentic Greek / Mediterranean recipes 🙂
    This pizza looks delicious! My 18 month old son has been diagnosed with multiple food allergies, including wheat and dairy, so I had given up making pizza, since a pizza without cheese seemed impossible. But you’ve inspired me to try this one. I’ve just got to try and figured out how to make a gluten free pizza base.

  • Reply Beauty Follower August 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Two summers ago i was in Kimolos for vacations… almost everyday i had a laden for breakfast. Soooo delicious!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD August 7, 2014 at 7:59 am

      Sounds good for a breakfast!

  • Reply melanie August 12, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Hi Elena

    At stage 9 can l freeze the pizza (or if divided into 2) then later on defrost and do stage 10. Would this be OK. Thank you

    • Reply Elena August 20, 2016 at 10:17 am

      I have never froze it, but it should work fine.

  • Reply 5 Satisfying Classic Greek Vegan Recipes November 1, 2017 at 11:39 am

    […] oil crust. The secret to this delicious, cheese-free, Greek pizza? It’s in the name. Click here for […]

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