The cuisine of Greece has thousands of years of history and is known for its focus on simplicity, high-quality ingredients, and healthy dishes (being a great example of the famous “Mediterranean Diet”).
Another great thing about Greek cuisine is that it contains plenty of vegetarian (and even vegan) recipes, and we’ve collected several of the best of them here. They’re simple to make, taste great, and are totally meat free, so let’s get into it!
This might be the first place that a lot of people’s minds go to when they think of Greek vegetarian food. This delicious and nutritious salad is known as “horiatiki salata” in Greece, meaning “peasant’s salad” or “village salad”.
It’s simple to prepare but full of flavor, with raw red onions, fresh olives, rich feta cheese, and some red wine vinegar for acidity. You can have it as a side to another dish, or have a larger one as a meal in itself.
Tzatziki is a Greek dip that can be served with all kinds of different foods, from pita bread and raw vegetables to sandwiches and wraps.
It’s a yogurt based sauce, complete with herbs, good olive oil, lemon juice, and salt, but you can adjust the exact recipe based on your own personal likes and dislikes.
Versatile and delicious, tzatziki is a dish that should be top of the list for any vegetarian Greek feast.
Dolmades are a dish of stuffed vine (i.e. grape) leaves. They can be stuffed with a range of different things and many traditional preparations include meat of some kind.
However, various others, like this one, are not only vegetarian friendly, but totally vegan. Here, the stuffing of choice is rice mixed with pine nuts, onion, and herbs, and it’s a delicious mixture, brought to life by vegetable stock and lemon juice.
Delicious and fresh tasting, they’re a perfect appetizer or side dish.
This is a kind of tasty cheese pastry that can be made with whatever kind of cheese you have available, though Mediterranean cheeses are best. You can mix several together to result in a deep, balanced flavor with a lovely creaminess.
This should be offset with a little salt to make the flavors pop. You can, of course, alter the flavors by choosing different cheeses. Ricotta will add sweetness while feta will be saltier, for example.
Tiropita make a great breakfast dish alongside coffee and they’re a great appetizer or side dish as well.
This is another vegan dish – vegetables stuffed with rice, herbs, and a tomato sauce. It’s an endlessly adaptable addition to your repertoire since you can decide which vegetables you’d like to stuff and what you’d like to stuff them with.
Parsley and mint are common herbs and are mentioned in this recipe, but if you’ve got some cilantro or rosemary to use up, then why not?
One of the great things about the dish is that the vegetables are cooked with potato wedges. These absorb so much flavor from the vegetables that you get two dishes in one!
You might be thinking that gyros are usually very much a meaty dish, and you’d be right. However, this totally vegan version substitutes jackfruit instead so that everyone can enjoy the wonder of gyros.
If you’re a bit skeptical about replacing meat with fruit, don’t be – jackfruit breaks down very well when cooked and is said to resemble pulled pork.
The gyros is flavored with vegan tzatziki, though if you only need the recipe to be vegetarian rather than vegan, then regular tzatziki will work fine as well.
With the addition of vegetables and herbs for crunch and flavor, this is a delicious, casual meal that will put a smile on anyone’s face.
Believe it or not, this cauliflower preparation is a kind of Greek comfort food.
This is a very simple preparation that takes very little effort on the part of the chef, which makes it perfect for weeknights or other times when you don’t feel like putting together anything impressive.
The spices in the recipe give the dish a comfortable, warming taste that’s great for cold winter nights, and the addition of potatoes makes it pleasingly hearty.
Moussaka is a kind of eggplant casserole with a milk based sauce. Most versions contain ground meat, but not this one! This one substitutes black lentils for the meat, meaning that it’s filling and satisfying without needing anything else.
They have a smooth, creamy, consistency with a great earthy flavor, making them perfect for this dish. The roasted vegetables, béchamel and tomato sauce make this a great dish when you need a hearty meal.
Souvlaki is another Greek dish that typically includes a lot of meat, but this version uses halloumi cheese instead. They’re a type of skewer where meat (usually) and vegetables are grilled together and then often served with pita or another flatbread.
Halloumi has a very meaty texture and is a popular Greek food anyway, so this substitution works excellently. The herbed tzatziki dressing is the perfect complement to the cheese, and the vegetables it’s cooked with add a unique flavor of their own.
This is a Greek dish of Lima beans (aka butter beans) with a tasty tomato sauce. It’s given a wonderful herby flavor by thyme, basil, parsley, and sofrito, and the texture of the cooked beans makes them simply delicious.
If you like, you can think of this as a fancier, Greek version of baked beans, but that’s underselling it a bit. This is an ideal side dish or addition to a meze.
The association between pasta and Italy is so strong that we almost never think of pasta dishes from other countries, but they do exist!
This Greek pasta dish isn’t difficult to make, so put aside any reservations you have about making your own pasta.
The pasta itself needs only bread flour, water, and salt, but there are multiple different serving suggestions. A major one is the Greek cheese called myzithra but if you can’t get hold of that, there are plenty of other authentic Greek options too.
This dish can serve either as a side dish or a main dish, depending on how much of it you make. It’s a hearty rice dish that takes its flavors from spinach, onions, good quality olive oil, and that classic Greek seasoning, lemon juice. Simple and satisfying, this is a great accompaniment to any Greek dish.
These sweet treats can be traced all the way back to the very first Olympic Games in 776 BC, where honey-covered balls of deep-fried dough were served to the winners as “honey tokens”.
Like the donuts we all know and love, they’re crispy outside and fluffy inside. They’re a sweet treat covered in a sweet syrup of honey, sugar and water. This recipe adds a little cinnamon, too, for extra flavor.
If you like, you can experiment with other spices – nutmeg and even ginger would be good choices.
Baklava is a delicious dessert. It’s made of layers of very thin phyllo pastry brushed with butter, soaked in honey or syrup, and separated by layers of chopped nuts.
Various different countries and cultures in the Eastern Mediterranean (and even central Asia) argue over the origin of baklava and the matter doesn’t seem like it’ll be resolved any time soon.
But all that matters for us is that baklava is big in Greece and tastes great. Greek versions traditionally favor walnuts while Turkish ones favor pistachios, but there’s so much crossover now that this distinction is disappearing.
In any case, both are great options, so you can’t go wrong! Sweet and nutty, it’s a perfect dessert however you choose to make it.
In keeping with the Greek approach to the culinary arts, this is another simple but tasty dish. All you’ll need here are some lemon juice, olive oil (as high-quality as possible), some salt, and the greens themselves.
The most traditional Greek choice would be dandelion greens but other options will work as well.
It’s a light, simple dish that goes well alongside Greek dishes of all kinds. You can even keep the water you boiled the greens in and, there you have it, dandelion tea!
This is a hearty soup of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) thickened with olive oil. Oregano, garlic, and lemon juice add a great flavor to the mixture, simple but effective.
The recipe also has the bonus that the leftovers can easily be used to make hummus, as most of the ingredients are shared between both recipes. This dish is also totally vegan, so anybody can eat it.
This style of dish is called lathera, meaning a dish of vegetables cooked in olive oil. Green beans, featured in this recipe, are the most popular choice, but other vegetables also work, so you might want to try zucchini or peppers as well.
The dish is vegan, featuring no animal products of any kind. It’s a simple dish to cook and follows the Greek ethos of using good quality ingredients to speak for themselves.
Make sure you use the best quality olive oil you can find, as it plays just as much of a starring role in this dish as the green beans do.
This is a rich-tasting bread, heavily seasoned with orange, lemon, and a spice called mahlab or mahlepi. This is made from the ground pits of wild cherries and adds a totally unique flavor to this recipe.
It can be tricky to find but if your local foreign food shop doesn’t stock it, you should be able to get hold of it online. Greek Easter tradition dictates that a red egg be placed on bread after it has risen but before it’s baked.
If you wish to break with tradition, this part isn’t essential, but it does complete the look of the dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Greek Food Be Vegetarian?
Greek food certainly can be vegetarian. In fact, a large number of Greek dishes are already vegetarian, or even vegan, without needing to be adapted. In Ancient Greece, common people ate little meat, as it was usually too expensive for them.
This largely vegetarian diet resulted in countless meat free dishes, and a lot of these, or their descendants, are still enjoyed in Greece today.
This list is full of vegetarian Greek dishes and while a few of them required tweaks to the traditional recipe to make them so, the large majority did not.
Is Greek Food Healthy?
Overall, Greek food can be said to be very healthy. It’s one of the best examples of the Mediterranean Diet, which has received a lot of attention from scientists and in the media for its many health benefits.
Vegetables feature heavily, along with lots of fiber (such as from beans) and that’s before we get onto the health benefits of olive oil, which has its place in nearly every Greek dish.
If there were a competition for healthiest cuisine, Greece would be a definite contender.
Is Greek Food Dairy Free?
You might be thinking of cheese or Greek yogurt and while these are ingredients in several Greek dishes, there are far more that don’t use them.
In fact, a good number of the dishes on this list are entirely vegan and if this were a specifically vegan list, there could be a lot more.
Also, in today’s world, there are vegan substitutes for these things so you don’t have to avoid recipes with tzatziki, for example – just use vegan tzatziki instead!
Now that you’ve finished reading this list, you should have enough great ideas to cook up an entirely vegetarian and totally delicious Greek feast.
Whether you’re just cooking for yourself, for your family, or for a huge dinner party, you’re all set.