Moussaka, Fasolada and More: 5 Classic Greek Recipes to Make at Home



You don’t have to be in the country to enjoy the tastes of Greece all year round. Here are 5 classic Greek recipes to get you started.



By Sotiris Evangelou

Preparation time – soaking time: overnight; 15 min vegetable preparation; cooking time: 1 h 40 min

INGREDIENTS (for 6 servings)

  • 500 g dry medium sized beans, soaked in cold water overnight

  • 1 large onion, finely diced

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced (into roughly 5 mm pieces)

  • 2 celery sticks with their leaves, finely chopped (about 3 cups)

  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

  • 4 whole canned tomatoes, pureed in the food processor

  • 2 tsp tomato paste

  • 1 tsp hot chili flakes (or to taste)

  • 150 ml olive oil

  • salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS Drain the beans and place in a deep pot with enough fresh water to cover them. Cook over high heat until they come to a boil. Drain again, return the beans to the pot along with 3 liters of cold water, and cook over medium heat for about 50 minutes; or until they are softened, but not breaking apart. Skim off froth as needed with a slotted spoon.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsley, mint, tomatoe puree, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and 100 ml of the olive oil, and continue cooking for another 40 minutes, until all the vegetables have softened and the soup has thickened. Remove from the heat and let sit for 20 minutes before serving.

Serve drizzled with the remaining olive oil and a sprinkle of hot chili flakes.

Enjoy with: a Xinomavro rosé.


By Nena Ismirnoglou

Preparations: 30 min; roasting time: about 2 1/2 hours

Difficulty: Easy

INGREDIENTS (for 6 servings)

  • 4 kg lamb, preferably shoulder and thigh cuts, washed and in portion-sized pieces

  • 1.5 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

  • 5 cloves of garlic (or to taste), peeled and sliced

  • leaves from 7-8 sprigs of oregano, finely chopped, or 3 tbsp of dried, ground oregano

  • 1 tbsp dried thyme, ground

  • 2 tbsp mustard, preferably spicy (optional)

  • zest from 1 lemon, unwaxed and preferably organic

  • juice from 2 lemons (or to taste)

  • 150 ml dry white wine

  • 200 ml olive oil

  • salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C on the fan setting.

In a small bowl, mix the garlic with the lemon zest and half of the thyme.

Place your lamb in a large Dutch oven or baking dish. Score the meat with a sharp knife, and push the garlic mixture into the cuts.

Add the potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano.

Mix the olive oil, the mustard (if using), the lemon juice and the wine, and pour over the lamb and potatoes.

Cover with the lid, or with parchment paper and aluminum foil if using a baking dish. Cook in the oven for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Add the rest of the thyme, turn the lamb over, stir the potatoes, and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes more, until meat and potatoes are golden.

Enjoy with: a Chardonnay – not particularly young, preferably from last year’s harvest or from a barrel.


By Nena Ismirnoglou

Preparations: 25 mins; resting time: 1 hour; cooking and baking time: 2 hours

Difficulty: Difficult

INGREDIENTS (for a 320-mm baking pan)

For the vegetables

  • 1.5 kg large eggplants, rinsed and sliced crosswise into round, 15-mm thick slices

  • 2 tbsp salt

  • 2 Cubanelle peppers, rinsed and coarsely chopped into approx. 4 cm pieces

  • 8 medium-sized tomatoes, blanched and sliced crosswise into thin slices

  • 5 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

  • 40 ml olive oil and more for frying

  • salt and freshly ground pepper

For the minced meat

  • 500 g beef chuck mince (or a mixture with lamb mince, preferably from a shoulder cut)

  • 90 ml olive oil

  • 250 g onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

  • 90 ml dry red wine, preferably Agiorgitiko

  • 400 g canned whole tomatoes, pureed in the mixer

  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

  • 5 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tsp allspice, ground

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground

  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander, ground

  • 1/3 tsp cinnamon, ground

  • 1/4 tsp cloves, ground

  • salt and freshly ground pepper

For the yogurt sauce

  • 700 g strained cow’s yogurt

  • 4 eggs

  • 120 g graviera cheese (can be substituted with parmesan), grated

  • salt and freshly grated pepper

  • 1/2 tsp black caraway (or kalonji) seeds (optional)


Vegetables: Place the eggplant slices in a deep dish and sprinkle them with the salt. Cover with cold water, and set aside for about an hour, to remove their bitterness. Then rinse the slices, place them in a colander, and dry them off completely with paper towels.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 120° C, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet in a single layer, season them with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with olive oil. Cook the tomatoes in the oven for about an hour; until very soft. Then remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet.

Pour olive oil into a deep-frying pan or a pot. The oil should reach 5 cm up the sides of the pan or pot. Place over high heat.

Fry the eggplant slices, a few at a time, for about 2 minutes on each side, until they’re golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and let them dry on kitchen towels for at least 30 minutes, changing the towels once they’re wet.

Fry the peppers for about a minute on each side, and repeat the same process to remove excess oil.

Minced meat: Add the minced meat, the onions, the garlic, and the spices to a wide pot. Sauté without oil over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, until crumbly and browned.

Add the olive oil and sauté, while stirring, for another 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes, letting the alcohol evaporate. Add the tomato, the bay leaf, the parsley, salt, pepper, and 400 ml of water. Stir to combine, partly cover the pot, and cook for about 30 minutes; until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Add the basil and stir.

Assembling the moussaka: Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Add the eggplant slices to your baking pan in even layers. Sprinkle with some basil, and then add the peppers and half of the roasted tomato slices. Reserve the juices from the roasted tomatoes in a bowl for later.

Top the vegetables with the minced meat, and flatten to an even layer. Place the rest of the tomatoes on top of the minced meat.

Add the yogurt, eggs, salt, and pepper to the bowl with the tomato juices and whisk to make a smooth sauce. Add the cheese and stir to combine.

Spread the yogurt sauce evenly over the minced meat, and top with black caraway seeds (if using). Bake for about 45-50 minutes; until golden.

Remove from the oven and let the moussaka set for about 20 minutes before serving.

Enjoy with: a new generation Xinomavro.


By Nena Ismyrnoglou

Preparations: 30 mins; cooking time: 40-50 mins

INGREDIENTS (for 4 servings)

  • 650 g beef chuck mince

  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs

  • 4 tbsp dry red wine

  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or 2 tbsp butter)

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or to taste)

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (or ground)

  • a pinch of cinnamon, ground

  • 1 tsp salt

  • freshly ground pepper

  • olive oil, for frying (or butter)

  • flour for covering the meatballs (optional)

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 700 g fresh tomatoes, grated, and 1 tbsp tomato paste (or: 1 1/2 can tomato puree and 1 1/3 cup water)

  • 1/2 tsp sugar

  • 1 cup green olives, pitted and chopped (optional)

  • 1 Cubanelle pepper, diced

  • salt and freshly ground pepper


Sauce: Heat the oil in a shallow and wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes along with a cup of water. Once boiling, add the sugar, diced pepper, salt and a little freshly ground pepper. Lower the heat, cover the pot and let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes; or until combined and thickened.

Meatballs (preparations): If using whole cumin seeds, start by toasting them in a dry pan over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes; or until they’re lightly browned and fragrant. Stir constantly to make sure they don’t burn. Let the seeds cool, and then grind them using a pestle and mortar.

Add the minced meat, bread crumbs, wine, oil or butter, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper to a large bowl (no eggs are necessary for this recipe). Mix well for 5-6 minutes, until fluffy.

Shape into approximately 18 oval meatballs (about 40 g each). Cover in flour, if using.*

Heat up a large, heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat, and add the oil or butter. Add the meatballs to the pan, but only a few at a time, not to lower the temperature of the pan and to ensure browning without sticking. Brown them on all sides. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and let them dry on kitchen towels, to remove the excess oil.

Assemble: Carefully place the meatballs in the tomato sauce, and add the olives (if using). Bring to a slow boil over low heat, and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until the meat is cooked and the flavors are combined.

If there is not enough sauce to cover the meatballs, don’t add water. Simply stir to make sure the sauce goes everywhere.

Serve with rice and yogurt.

Enjoy with: Agiorgitiko or Xinomavro blended with Cabernet from Greek vineyards. Garlic, cumin, minced beef, tomato sauce, and pan-fried foods are all cues to choose a red wine with character like these.

* Since the meatballs will finish cooking in the tomato sauce, they don’t have to be fried for long. Therefore, there is no actual need to add flour to prevent burning.


By Nena Ismirnoglou

Preparations: 40 mins; resting time: 1 hour; baking time: 1 hour

Difficulty: Medium

INGREDIENTS (for a 340-mm baking pan)

  • 8 country-style filo pastry sheets

  • 1/2 kg spinach, well-rinsed and finely chopped (you can use bagged, ready-to-eat spinach from the supermarket)

  • 1/2 kg sorrel and chards, well-rinsed and finely chopped

  • 2 bunches of mixed wild greens, rinsed and finely chopped. (The original recipe calls for chervil, Mediterranean hartwort and poppy greens but feel free to experiment with whatever wild greens are locally available).

  • 1/2 bunch of dill, finely chopped

  • 2 bunches of scallions, rinsed and cut into coins

  • 1/2 bunch of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (or 2 tbsp of dried, ground mint)

  • 3 tbsp dried, ground oregano

  • 400 g of your favorite feta cheese, crumbled

  • 150 ml olive oil

  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • generous amount of freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place the spinach, scallions, sorrel, chards and herbs in a colander. Add the salt and pepper, mix, and rub the greens with your hands until they’re wilted. Leave the mixture in the colander for about an hour, until they’re completely wilted and drained of most of their juices.

Squeeze the greens to get rid of the remaining juices, and place them in a deep bowl. Add 100 ml of olive oil and the feta, and mix.

Grease the baking pan with a little bit of oil. Place the first filo sheet in the pan, grease it with oil, and add the next one. Add 1/5 of the filling, and cover it with a third filo sheet. Continue layering the filling and the pastry, ending with two filo sheets, greased like the first two.

Cut the pie into pieces, and drizzle a little water over the top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about an hour; or until it’s cooked and golden.

Enjoy with: Assyrtiko wine


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