It’s even snowing in Greece right now, so that makes us turn our thoughts and appetites to some warm and wonderful comfort food. Not surprisingly, Greece has the most sumptuous dishes that you could imagine, and you’ll just have to try some out for yourself!
Whether you are looking for a warming soup to drive away the wintry chill, or a hearty, oven baked meal, here are my top six traditional Greek dishes that are sure to delight everyone — from foodies to casual diners. Get your pen and paper ready and jot down these healthy Greek winter recipes to try out for yourself.
Bean soups are year-round favorites in Greece, and they’re healthy to boot! In the winter months a popular soup is “Fasolada”. Made with white beans and veggies such as tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions and celery, it is the perfect comfort food for the cold winter months.
Before you dive into a bowl of this steaming soup, be sure to drizzle some Greek olive oil over it and add a little Greek sea salt to enhance the rich winter flavors. Fasolada can be found all over Greece, from the bustling city of Athens to mountaintop villages in Crete, and is a favorite of both young and old.
2. Lahanodolmades – aka Greek Stuffed Cabbage Leaves
This dish is a Greek classic, and it is just what is sounds like — cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of minced meat (and sometimes rice) topped with avgolemono sauce (a sauce made with egg and lemon). It can be served either slightly warm or even at room temperature, and with yogurt to dip it in and break up the spiciness (if you make it a little too spicy). It’s usually accompanied by a Greek salad or tiny cheese pies called tiropitas.
This dish hails from Pelion, and may just be one of the best Greek comfort foods. It is made with sausages and red peppers, cooked in a hearty tomato sauce with spices, and you can add some red pepper flakes to make it spicier if you desire.
Many of the traditional Spetsofai recipes call for hot paprika and red-hot chili peppers in the sauce. Just be warned — it can get really spicy very quickly, and it is a heavy dish! In Greece we eat this wonderful winter dish with a sliced cheese such as graviera or other hard cheese, and some warm homemade bread.
Rice isn’t a common main dish in Greece, but when the Greeks do rice, unsurprisingly, they go all out! This winter dish is now found everywhere throughout the country. It is made with chopped leeks and is a bit like a Greek version of risotto, complemented with herbs such as fresh dill.
5. Giouvarlakia – Meatball Soup
This soup is all about the meatballs — ok, and the broth as well! The meatballs are made with rice and beef while the broth unusually contains grated carrots and potatoes, with a base of a creamy avgolemono sauce. It is served in the winter months with side dishes of salad, cheese and bread.
Not a dish in itself, Trahana is an ingredient that everyone needs to try out (and if you can get it homemade, that’s even better!). This ancient food was, amazingly, invented as a way to preserve milk.
Trahana is made by combining your choice of grain — either semolina, wheat flour, bulgur or cracked wheat — with milk, buttermilk, or yogurt, to form a ball. The ball is then crumbled into small pieces, dried, and then broken up into even smaller, rice-like grains. It sometimes resembles a fine granola.
Trahana is actually the ultimate comfort food, and it is perfect for wintertime dishes in Greece! The most common way it is consumed is in soup — from chicken soup to tomato and meatball soup. You can’t go wrong when adding this unique ingredient to any broth or soup!
Trahana transforms the most basic winter soup into a comforting porridge. You can even make a sweet trahana and make a creamy porridge topped with fruits and nuts for a yummy, warm dessert! Enjoy!