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What is Traditional Greek Food?
Modern Greek culture is rich and vibrant, founded on one of the most remarkable cultural heritages on the planet. And Greek food is at the center of Greek culture, celebrating the amazing local produce, traditional flavors, and the culinary inheritance of thousands of years of delicious Mediterranean cooking.
So what exactly is traditional Greek food? Picture fresh, colorful Greek salad, with tangy feta and verdant olive oil, served with pillowy pita bread and kalamata olives. Or rich moussaka, filled with lusciously soft eggplant in a tomato sauce, and vine leaves stuffed with aromatic rice and doused with lemon juice.
And for dessert, we might imagine creamy peaks of Greek yogurt, drizzled with golden honey, or syrup-drenched baklava. All of this is accompanied with sultry golden sun, turquoise sea, majestic ancient monuments, and that obligatory glass of retsina, or taste bud tingling ouzo. Anyone fancy a holiday?
Can Vegans Eat Greek Food?
With all that fish and feta, is it really possible to enjoy authentic Greek food while following a cruelty-free, plant-based diet? And can we really recreate vegan Greek food in the comfort of our own kitchens? Luckily for you, we’re here to provide the latest in plant-based technology, offering vegan alternatives to your favorite Mediterranean ingredients.
With PlantX, it’s 100% possible to enjoy Greek salad, souvlaki, moussaka, and more without compromising your commitment to safeguarding animals, as well as the planet and the bounty it provides. And, of course, it’s nature’s bounty that makes vegetarian Greek food so exquisite in the first place!
Here at PlantX, we’ve got tangy, plant-based feta for crumbling over your salad, and sweet, agave syrup for drizzling on your vegan baklava. We’ve got organic veggie gyros pieces for stuffing in a pita, authentic Greek unrefined extra virgin olive oil, the finest organic Greek wine, and plump Greek olives. All you need to do is source the best local, seasonal veggies and you’ve got a vegan Greek food feast in the making.
Greek Olives: PlantX Top Picks
Here are a few of our top pics for your vegan Greek food store cupboard. It’s all about the olives! Greece is one of the oldest olive-producing regions in the world. Essential for Greek salad and other traditional Greek dishes, olives are a delicious vegan treat that can transport you straight to the Mediterranean!
These plump black olives are firm and juicy with a mild and earthy flavor. They’re perfect for salads, sauces, and stews. Or why not pop them on a pizza alongside some vegan feta for a Greek-inspired pizza?
This tasty tapenade brings the flavors of Greece straight to your table. Spread it in sandwiches and wraps, or enjoy it with fresh fluffy pita.
Organically grown in the Peloponnese, these dark, rich, and flavorful olives are essential for a vegan Greek salad. Or why not try whizzing up your own tapenade with Kalamata olives, olive oil, capers, and herbs?
A fusion between the finest Greek ingredients and New Orleans flavors, this Muffuletta salad with olives, peppers, cauliflower, and capers is perfect for serving with a fresh crusty sesame loaf.
Is Greek Food Healthy?
If we’re talking about kebab shop gyros stuffed with fries, then the answer might be no. However, vegan Greek food is so much more than just those iconic street food classics. In fact, vegan Greek food is one of the healthiest cuisines you can eat. Full of fresh veggies, legumes, and whole grains, the Mediterranean diet is thought to hold the key to longevity!
Plus, while much vegetarian Greek food is drenched in olive oil which is a type of fat, it is absolutely bursting with health benefits. Olive oil is rich in beneficial fatty acids, boosting good cholesterol and supporting heart health, leading some people to call it the healthiest fat on the planet.
The only other calorie-laden element in Greek food is in the protein and dairy products, which are always enjoyed in moderation. Vegan alternatives to meat and dairy products are usually lower in calories than their animal-based counterparts, so enjoying vegan Greek food is not only cruelty-free, it’s better for you too!
How Can I Make Vegan Greek Food at Home?
Sometimes it's easy to assume you can only eat good Greek food in Greece, or at least out at an authentic Greek restaurant. We’re here to prove you wrong! By following a few simple principles, you can transport yourself to Crete, Cos, or Santorini whenever you fancy!
- Buy the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford.
The quality of your olive oil makes a huge difference to the overall taste of your food, and of course, with vegan Greek food, you’re going to be splashing the EVOO around like it’s going out of style.
Choose from our amazing range of extra virgin olive oils for dressings and generous drizzling, and you can always use a cheaper blended olive oil for frying, roasting, and sauteing.
- Use simple, natural ingredients.
Vegan Greek food is all about choosing the freshest, ripest seasonal fruits and veggies and combining them with unprocessed whole foods to really celebrate those natural flavors.
Choose organic whole grains, pulses, and legumes, along with the finest olives, oils, and wines. Prepare your food simply; hold back on heavy seasoning. With a squeeze of lemon juice here or a sprinkle of oregano here, you can let those authentic Greek flavors sing.
- Take your time.
The pace of life in Greece is relaxed and unhurried. Meals last late into the night, shared with friends over meandering conversation and candlelight. Adopt ambling Greek time for cooking vegan Greek food, simmering dishes low and slow until the flavors transform and come alive.
Always marinate veggies or protein alternatives for grilling well in advance - we recommend a simple marinade of lemon, garlic, oregano, and salt for just about anything!
By adopting these guidelines and adding a delicious range of Greek-inspired treats to your basket, you’re ready to enjoy amazingly authentic vegan Greek food that’s in line with your dietary preferences and prepared in the comfort of your own home. Opa!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Seasonings are Used in Greek Cooking?
The seasonings in vegan Greek food are simple, celebrating the natural flavors of the fresh ingredients. Found in abundance in the Greek mountains, dill, thyme, oregano, and mint are the most common herbs used to add a woody depth to fresh veggies and creamy vegan tzatziki.
Garlic, black pepper, nutmeg, saffron, and sumac are also widely used in plant-based Greek food. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, vegan Greek food is a great choice because it’s full of fresh, aromatic flavors, rather than heat.
What is Dairy-Free Feta made from?
Like all vegan cheese, vegan feta can be made in a variety of ways. Common ingredients are cashew nuts, coconut oil, plant milk, tofu, or potato starch. It also usually contains some kind of thickening agent such as carrageenan or guar gum.
Just like dairy-based feta, it has a tangy, salty flavor and creamy, crumbly texture and goes perfectly with all vegan Greek food.
Check out our vegan feta cheese collection to learn more, including how to make a delicious vegan feta and spinach pie.
What Wine goes with Greek Food?
The answer is simple: Greek wine, of course! The unique Mediterranean terroir produces wines that are perfect for enjoying with veggie-forward vegan Greek food. And where can you buy delicious vegan Greek wine? Right here, of course!
Crisp, light, and elegant: try Sofos - “The Wise Old Man” White Wine with bright, crunchy salads, grilled veggies, or lemony orzo dishes.
Made with the finest organic grapes, serve Sofos - “The Wise Old Man” Red with vegan moussaka, gigantes bean stews, or vegan gyros.
Can Greek Food be Gluten-Free?
While vegan Greek food is founded on the Mediterranean Triad (wheat, wine, and olive oil), it is perfectly possible to enjoy delicious and authentic gluten-free vegan Greek food. Just swap out pitas and flatbreads for rice or quinoa, or get creative.
Why not have a go at making your own pita with our amazing range of organic, gluten-free flours for celiac-safe souvlaki or gluten-free gyros? Because vegan Greek food is largely made up of fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, pulses, and grains, it can be adapted to suit any diet. Cut out the grains and add some nuts and seeds and you’re ready to make palate-pleasing, paleo-friendly Greek food. With all that olive oil, rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, vegan Greek food is also great if you’re following a ketogenic diet.