Top 5 Greek Vegetarian Dishes You Need to Try

greek greens and favaIt always amazes me when I see articles from vegans or vegetarians in Greece who say it is difficult to find a vegetarian meal in Greece. Hello? Greeks abstained from animal products (almost all except certain seafood) for over 200 days a year, they were essentially vegans for most of the year. And because of that, they have hundreds of vegetarian and vegan recipes. There are plenty of vegetarian meals to be had here in Greece that are based on the traditional Greek diet.

While I enjoy quinoa and tofu once in a while, it is silly to come to Greece and eat foods that come from the other side of the planet, especially when Greece has such a wealth of vegetarian dishes.

Having said that, currently on vacation I am sharing my top picks for vegetarians (or everybody-you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy these) in Greece with my photos of dishes I ordered. While I am not a vegetarian, the majority of food I eat and order usually does not include meat. So here are my top 5 picks:

Any Version of the Greek Salad Known as Horiatiki

greek salad kythera
The basic salad includes tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olive oil, feta, green pepper, olives and additions such as capers. There is also the dakos, which is a Cretan version of the salad served on a large cretan barley rusk that has soaked all the juices and olive oil.

Vegetable Casseroles

greek okra casserole
The famous lathera. Basically vegetables cooked in olive oil and tomato. This can include green beans, okra, stuffed tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and legumes. This is a main course, eat it with bread for dipping, and if you are eating dairy, feta cheese is the way to go.

Leafy Greens Also Known as Horta

Greek Greens horta
Greens such as vlita, beet greens and other local greens served with olive oil and lemon. Ask the waiter, what horta they have and just order them. Accompany them with cheese-if you are a lacto-vegetarian (yes-feta again) and bread.

Vegetable Patties or Fritters

greek fennel patties fritters
Instead of meat balls Greeks opted for patties made with a variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini and in this photo fennel made from the fennel tops.

Vegetable Pies

spinach pie Greek
Everybody knows the spinach pie-spanakopita, but there is more! Look also for zucchini pie, onion pie and leek pie.

And of course all these dishes are nutritional powerhouses full of fiber, antioxidants and vitamins.

Photos by Elena Paravantes

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16 Comments

  • Reply Carmen May 4, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Lovely lovely food

  • Reply Sam November 21, 2017 at 1:37 am

    I like kefalograviera better than feta with Horta but it’s a good list. I would add spanakorizo too! And Fakes. Greek food is the best.

  • Reply Julie October 1, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Mouthwatering photos! Can you suggest a recipe for the fennel fritters? Thank you.

  • Reply Katina Vaselopulos August 22, 2015 at 2:57 am

    Wonderful plates of vegetables…raw as in salads and cooked.
    Beautiful photos also.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD August 22, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Thank you Katina!

  • Reply Terry Spears August 20, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    I am vegetarian, and I love all the Greek veggie dishes. I do have trouble with lathera, though. I really like the dish with green beans, but I have trouble getting the beans tender enough. Is there a secret way of cooking lathera to help the veggies be more tender? Thanks.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD August 22, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Make sure you simmer (rather than boil) and add more water and simmer some more until soft.

    • Reply Anonymous August 25, 2015 at 12:16 am

      Yes I usually put them in the black casserole dish with the cover and bake them in the oven they become so tender they melt in your mouth

  • Reply Robert Nunn August 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Don`t forget my favourite Gigantes.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD August 22, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      Yep! I’ve included beans under the “vegetable casserole” category.

  • Reply cindy August 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    What kind of green is used in your top photo? It almost looks like ‘sea beans’ but I am sure it isn’t….

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD August 22, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Cindy, It is called stamnagathi, a common green from Crete.

  • Reply Jane August 19, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    You make me want to get on a plane to Greece right now!

    • Reply marcia August 20, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Come to Anchorage Ak this weekend instead! Our Greek Othodox church has an incredible 3 day affair and its this weekend!
      It’s my favorite weekend of summer. http://akgreekfestival.com

      I wonder how those greens would work if Kale?

      Marcia
      Anchorage

      • Reply Elena Paravantes RD August 22, 2015 at 12:07 pm

        Thanks for sharing Marcia!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD August 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      Thanks Jane! Until then you can try out these recipes at home, Olive Tomato has most of them!

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