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Taste of Greece – Spanakopita + Cucumber Salad Recipes

If you could eat one kind of cuisine for the rest of your life— what would it be? For me, it’s a tossup between Asian food and Greek food. Both have unique flavors and rich spice profiles.

I had the chance this week to revisit my friends at Good Day Columbus, Sacramento and Cleveland to showcase recipes and flavors from Greece!

What are some of the best recipes from Greece?

  • Briam: A combination of potatoes, tomatoes, red onions, and zucchini, Briam has it all! All ingredients are then roasted with garlic, parsley and olive oil. Good for you, and your tummy!
  • Fava: A sister to the classic hummus, fava is made from yellow split peas, onions, garlic, olive oil—all blended together to make a creamy and rich dip. Can be served with carrots and pita bread.
  • Chickpea fritters: Considered the “Greek version of falafel,” chickpea fritters aim to please. Mostly accompanied with yogurt dip, this dish is sure to be gone fast!
  • Tzatziki: A favorite of many, tzatziki sauce is a perfect yogurt sauce for a plethora of dishes! With dill, cucumber, and fresh garlic— tzatziki adds a refreshing taste to kebabs, gyros, sandwiches, pita chips, and more!
  • Spanakopita: A perfect addition to your Greek spread, Spanakopita is full of many different flavors and colors. After you are done preparing the sides and appetizers—you’ll be exhausted. Let Yaya’s Garden do the work of the main dish for you! With all natural ingredients, all straight from Greece— your family will be satisfied!

 

Spanakopita Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
FOR THE SPINACH AND FETA FILLING
  • 16 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
  • 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, stems trimmed, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 10.5 oz quality feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tsp dried dill weed
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
FOR THE CRUST
  • 1 16 oz package fillo dough (#4 pastry sheets), properly thawed
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, more if needed
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Before you begin mixing the filling, be sure the spinach is very well drained, and squeeze out any excess liquid by hand.
  3. To make the filling: In a mixing bowl, add the spinach and the remaining filling ingredients. Stir until all is well-combined.
  4. Unroll the phyllo (fillo) sheets and place them between two slightly damp kitchen cloths.
  5. Prepare a 9 1/2″ X 13″ baking dish. Brush the bottom and sides of the dish with olive oil.
  6. To assemble the spanakopita: Line the baking dish with two sheets of phyllo (fillo) letting them cover the sides of the dish. Brush with olive oil. Add two more sheets in the same manner, and brush them with olive oil. Repeat until two-thirds of the phyllo (fillo) is used up.
  7. Now, evenly spread the spinach and feta filling over the phyllo (fillo) crust. Top with two more sheets, and brush with olive oil.
  8. Continue to layer the phyllo (fillo) sheets, two-at-a-time, brushing with olive oil, until you have used up all the sheets. Brush the very top layer with olive oil, and sprinkle with just a few drops of water
  9. Fold the flaps or excess from the sides, you can crumble them a little. Brush the folded sides well with olive oil. Cut Spanakopita ONLY PART-WAY through into squares, or leave the cutting to later.
  10. Bake in the 325 degrees F heated-oven for 1 hour, or until the phyllo (fillo) crust is crisp and golden brown.
  11. Remove from the oven. Finish cutting into squares and serve. Enjoy!

 

Cucumber Greek Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped into 1/4 slices or 4 mini cucumbers
  • 1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 8 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Quinoa or Orzo (optional) 
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and feta. (add to cooked quinoa or orzo optional) 
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, and dried oregano. Pour over the vegetables and mix well. Season salad with salt and pepper.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy!

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