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  • Hui Hui Lee, RD/LD

Budget Friendly Greece Food Tour



Howdy friends! How’s everyone doing? Have you been enjoying the summer so far? Did you get to travel some or maybe enjoy a little staycation with families/friends? I have been wanting to travel to Greece for quite some time now. I heard the scenery is spectacular in Greece, and the foods are so fresh and tasty. Unfortunately, I do not have the time and budget for the trip. Although I can’t make it physically to Greece, I am thinking of doing something about that, let’s have a little bit of Greek food at home. From my understanding, Greek cuisine is very diverse and is known as a “fusion” cuisine, which it is because of the cultural influences brought by each invasion and settlement that happened in the past. No matter how diverse it can be, the core of Greek food is “simple and elegant, with flavors subtle to robust, textures smooth to crunchy, fresh and timeless.” (Gaifyllia, 2021)

Greek food consists of an array of greens and herbs (my all-time favorite!), cheeses, oils, fruits, nuts, grains, and legumes. For the animal protein part in the Greek diet: Fish and seafood are popular and common in part of the Greek diet due to the geographic location; poultry, beef, and pork are also widely consumed; lambs and kids (baby goat) are consumed during special occasions traditionally (Gaifyllia, 2021). I love the flexibility in most of the Greek-inspired recipes, I could simply swap out some ingredients per my preference. For example, I substitute beans/legumes/mushrooms for meat.


All right, enough for the background Greek food, let’s get busy with the practical part (it is time to get busy in the kitchen). I have found five popular classic Greek recipes to try out in July.


Grilled Greek Souvlaki Bowls with Quinoa (Souvlaki means skewed meat): traditionally we prepared souvlaki by skewing the meat (chicken/pork) prior to grilling/cooking, but this time we are approaching it in a simple modified way (by just grilling the chicken/portobello on the grill). I love both the chicken and portobello versions of this Souvlaki bowl, the flavor is so robust, thanks to the blended herbs and spices! The original recipe was called for cauliflower rice. I happened to have quinoa at home, so I substituted it with a bowl of quinoa. The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home.




Classic Greek Salad with Feta: To be honest, I never had Greek salad before, this is my first time tasting one. and, Oh my goodness, I love it! I love the taste of fresh dill and parsley. It is a super simple, foolproof recipe, I highly recommend this to you, my friends! The recipe is inspired by Feasting at home.




Eggplant Moussaka (vegetarian version): Eggplant moussaka is a traditional Greek recipe. It is like lasagna but minus the noodles. I made them in a vegetarian version with lentils for my own preference, but do feel free to use ground meat, ground turkey, or ground lamb. This is again a very simple and easy recipe. Give it a try, my friends. The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home.




Spanakopita pie: Spanakopita is a very common dish in Greece, you may find it made in a pie or triangle (served as a bite-sized appetizer). It is a dish of spinach and cheese filling wrapped in crispy phyllo dough. I just made it today, it is super DE-LI-CIOUS! This dish might take some time to prepare, but I promise you it is totally worth the effort! The recipe is adapted from Feasting at home.




Vasilopita (Greek New Year’s cake): Do you know how Greeks celebrate their new year? They usually served vasilopita at midnight on New Year’s Eve. And, traditionally, a “lucky coin” is inserted into the batter, and whoever receives the piece with the coin is believed to have good luck for the following year. Vasilopita is a delightful cake infused with citrus flavor, which is a perfect recipe for coffee cake. You can dust the cake with icing sugar prior to serving, or like mine by frosting the cake with a good layer of homemade vanilla frosting. SUGGESTION: half the amount of sugar that the original recipe has called for, because I found the original recipe yields a way too sweet cake! The recipe is inspired by My Greek Dish.




References

Gaifyllia, N. (2021). An introduction to Greek food and Greek cooking. The spruce eats. Retrieved from https://www.thespruceeats.com/greek-food-history-1705413


*NOTE: most of the ingredients are sponsored by DRH Health Food and Nutrition Department.


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