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Greek Salad

Tzatziki.

Spicy Feta cheese dip.

Carrot and cabbage salad.

Gruntie’s warm spinach and feta salad.

Greek Salad

The classic salad.

Ingredients: To feed one person- 1 ripe large [beefsteak] tomato, half a red onion, quarter of a large cucumber [roughly peeled if the skins are tough], some Kalamon [Kalmata] olives, slab of feta cheese, rigani [Greek oregano], a glug of extra virgin Greek olive oil and a splash of white wine vinegar. All the ingredients can be adjusted according to your preference. Just double the quantities if you want to cater for 2 people.

Method: Roughly chop the tomatoes and cucumbers into large chunks, chop the onion into smaller chunks and add them to a bowl or plate. springle over the olives. Add the slab of feta. Using a circular motion add the olive oil and then the vinegar. Finally sprinkle the rigani over the top. Leave for a bit for the flavours to develop before serving.

Permitted deviations – Rub the bowl with garlic before adding the ingredients. I will also allow some thinly sliced green pepper, don’t you dare to even think of adding lettuce!

Tzatziki

This wonderful dip is perfect al fresco on a hot sunny day. Don’t get the shop bought stuff – it’s horrible. Authentic Tzatziki is refreshing and comes with a garlicky kick! Perfect with Greek pitta, chips, grilled meat or anything!

Ingredients: 500g Greek Yoghurt [0% fat- although some people prefer 5% fat which is creamier], half a cucumber, 2- 3 cloves of garlic, dash of white wine vinegar, pinch of salt, dash of Greek extra virgin olive oil. You can adjust the quantities of the ingredients as you desire. This should be plenty for 2-3 people.

Method: Drain the yoghurt and plonk in a mixing bowl. Roughly grate the cucumber using a fine grater and squeeze all of the excess water out of it using your hands and add the cucumber pulp to the bowl. Smush a couple of cloves of garlic and throw that in too. Mix thoroughly adding the salt, vinegar and olive oil and shove it in the fridge until you need it.

Spicy Feta cheese dip

Another wonderful dip and so easy to make! Serve with Greek pitta bread.

Ingredients: One slab of feta cheese, a small fresh red chilli, dash of white wine vinegar and some olive oil. Adjust the chilli to make it more or less spicy as desired. Should be enough for 2 people

Method: Mash the feta in a bowl, finely chop the chilli and throw that in with the vinegar. Mix it all up and add olive oil until it has a nice consistency but be aware that it will absorb oil like a sponge. You can add some yoghurt if you want but I like it as it is. Put the dip in the fridge until required.

Carrot and Cabbage salad.

Blimey! – A cabbage and carrot salad? That sounds boring doesn’t it? Actually, it’s not. These simple side salads are perfect on a stinking hot day as they are so tasty and refreshing.

Ingredients: Carrot salad- Grated carrot. Lemon or lime juice, fresh finely chopped coriander or parsely, salt and pepper.

Cabbage salad- Grated [or finely sliced] cabbage, a dash of white wine vinegar, dash of olive oil, fresh chopped parsley, salt and pepper. The exact quantities are up to you.

Method: Mix up the ingredients, season to taste and make it look pretty on a plate. That’s it!

Gruntie’s warm spinach and feta salad.

I love the spinach and feta cheese pies in Greece, but as you may have guessed by now I don’t really make pastry based recipes. I have never had this dish in Greece but I think it’s really yummy and simple to make. It goes really well with souvlaki or as part of a mezze.

Ingredients: A large amount of fresh spinach, half a slab of mashed feta cheese, salt and pepper, a healthy squeeze of fresh lemon.

Method: Wash the spinach and then dump it into a large saucepan with the lemon juice [or steam it if you prefer] and watch it wilt and reduce from an enormous amount of shiny bouncy leaves to a rather disappointing amount of wet green sludge [am I putting you off?]. Let the spinach cool and drain in a sieve to get rid of the excess water, and then finely chop it on a chopping board. You can then return it to the pan with all of the other ingredients and mix it all up. You can have a little taste at this point and adjust the ingredients as you feel is necessary. I like it to be very lemony and peppery. Reheat it when required. Easy peasy.

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