A Light Lunch in Greece


When my family visits Greece, we know that there will be a feast awaiting us. My grandparents live in Greece for 5 months out of the year, and they make sure that we feel right at home when we arrive. Unfortunately, one person was short this year. I didn’t make it to the motherland. But my mom, dad, brother and sister did, and they sent me tons of pictures of all the delicious food they ate. Check out their first home-cooked Greek meal after the jump!

This is one of the more simple meals that we have in Greece. It’s a light lunch that’s perfect to have around 1 p.m. Since we are usually at the beach all morning, from 10 a.m. to about noon, we get a little hungry around 1. Plus, it gets way too hot outside. We all have more olive complexions, and probably won’t get burnt, but it just isn’t enjoyable to hang out in 100 degree heat.


My yiayia (grandmother) wants to make sure we’re well-fed at all times, so this is what she has waiting for us when we come in. I love kefthethes. They’re basically Greek meatballs, and they’re fun to snack on or a great side for any meal. Here is an easy keftethes recipe to try if you’re interested.

Greek Meat Balls:

* 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
* 1 sm. onion, finely chopped
* parsley, chopped
* 1 tsp. dry mint
* 1 tsp. oregano
* 1 slice bread
* 4 Tbs. milk
* 1 egg
* salt, to taste
* pepper, to taste
* orange peel, finely chopped
* vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients, except vegetable oil. Bread should be soaked in milk before combining with other ingredients. Form into small meat balls. Lightly pat hands in flour as you shape meat balls. Fry in vegetable oil. May be served plain or put in sauce.

We also have some plain old macaroni with some myzithra cheese. In my opinion, myzithra blows parmesan cheese out of the water. It’s a traditional, unpasteurized fresh cheese made with milk and whey from sheep and/or goats. Since this recipe is pretty simple; you just cook the macaroni and add some cheese, I’m going to give you a few other Greek pasta recipes that are delicious!

Greek Pasta Toss
Greek Pasta with Tomatoes and White Bean
Greek Style Macaroni and Cheese

We also have some cooked beets. I don’t really like beets. It’s just something about the texture that kind of grosses me out. But my yiayia seriously cooks the best beets out there! Here are some beet recipes:

Pickled Beets
Harvard Beets
Pineapple Beets

A traditional Greek village salad is always on the table, no matter if it’s dinner or lunch. Here is my favorite Greek salad recipe.

Greek-Style Salad
* 6 slicing tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 small red onion, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
* 3 lemon cucumbers, peeled, halved, and seeded
* 2 Oven-Roasted peppers (recipe follows), cut into lengthwise strips
* 1/2 C. minced fresh Italian parsley
* 8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
* 1 Tbs. capers, rinsed
* 1/3 C. fruity extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
* Juice of 1 lemon
* 1/2 C. Kalamata olives
* 2 Tbs. fresh Greek oregano leaves
* 1/2 tsp. course sea salt, such as sel gris (kosher can be
* substituted)

Arrange the tomatoes in a wide, shallow bowl, scatter the garlic on top, season with salt and pepper, and set aside for 30 minutes. Cut both onion halves into very thin, crosswise slices and scatter them over the tomatoes. Cut the cucumbers crosswise into thin half moons, add them, along with the roasted pepper strips, to the tomatoes and onions, and toss very gently. Top the vegetables with the parsley, feta, and capers, drizzle the olive oil on top, and sprinkle the vinegar and lemon juice over everything. Add the olives, sprinkle the oregano and sea salt on top, and serve immediately.

We also always have some bread and butter. To me, this is a delicious, refreshing Greek lunch that I could, and have eaten, over and over again. Even though I didn’t get a chance to visit Greece this year, at least I can start making some of these recipes myself. I don’t think they’ll be as good as yiayia’s, but maybe one day they’ll almost be there!

Click here to see some more Greek recipes if you’re still hungry!

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