Greek Easter Recipes!

In my family, we don’t just spend time with each other just for Easter brunch. That would be too easy. We attend Midnight Mass, and arrive at our church around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night. We stay until the service ends (around 12:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday) and then we head over to my grandparents home. Keep in mind, we’ll be waking up around 7 a.m. to get the lamb spit started.

My grandmother usually goes to church on Easter morning, so she can spend  Saturday night preparing a feast for us. Yep, Greek Orthodox Easter really does begin when the clock strikes 12. Keep reading to find out some of what my yiayia (grandma in Greek) prepares for us.

The main reason why we feast as soon as possible on Easter is that most Greeks really do fast from meat and cheese during the entire period of Lent (40+ days!). I’ve actually never done meat + cheese, but I have fasted from meat before. Trust me, chowing down on beef and lamb is exactly what you need at 1 a.m.

Here’s the usual line-up of food:

  • Lots of lamb – My yiayia already has oven-roasted lamb ready for us. We don’t roast the full lamb on a spit until the morning. Try this lamb recipe!
  • Red eggs – I won’t get into the reason why we paint our eggs ready. It’s very religious, and I wouldn’t want to offend anyone. But red eggs play a huge part in every Orthodox celebration, be it Greek, Serbian, Russian, etc.
  • Greek Easter Soup aka Magiritsa – Don’t freak out but this soup actually contains the heart, lungs, sweetbreads and intestines of baby lamb. I don’t eat it but my father and brother love it! Try this recipe!
  • Tsoureki – Last week, I told you all about tsoureki and other Easter breads. The tsoureki is sweet and so delicious! Try this recipe here.
  • Tyropites – Also called cheese pies, these philo appetizers are a favorite of everyone, not just Greeks. My yiayia makes hers from scratch! I love this tyropita recipe!
  • Briam - This dish is basically just baked vegetables in a yummy sauce. It’s one of my mother’s favorites. Check out this recipe!
  • Keftethes - In English, they’re just called meatballs, but these appetizers sure do hit the spot after a long fast from meat. Check out this recipe!
  • Pastitso – The ultimate Greek casserole! You can’t have a Greek party without it. Try this recipe!
  • Koulourakia – Greek cookies are best dipped in coffee. Seriously, you’ll love these! Try making this recipe!
  • Greek Village Salad – The typical salad is filled with cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, olives, onion and feta. You can’t forget the authentic dressing! Try this recipe!
  • Skordalia – Yes, your breath will stink after you eat this garlic dip, but it’s worth it! Try this recipe!

After we’ve finished gorging, we head home, only to sleep for a couple of hours before the whole thing starts again. Needless to say, after a long week (I attend church on Palm Sunday, Holy Wednesday, Good Friday, and Midnight Easter Mass), I’m taking the day off of work on Monday!

(image source)

What’s your favorite part of Easter?

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