Greek food is delicious and varied, but something you may not know is that it is vegetable-based. Indeed, a quick look at the history of vegetarianism shows that it has origins in the ancient Indian and Greek civilisations, so it is not surprising that the habits continue to thrive, with vegetarian and vegan options available in many tavernas and restaurants. Here is a list of vegetarian-friendly food you can find in virtually every taverna in Greece, depending on the season.
Greek salad or horiatiki
Greek salad is the most famous and basic dish you will find on every menu. This fresh, flavourful salad, consisting of tomatoes, olive, cucumbers, onions and feta cheese, is seasoned with salt and oregano, olive oil, vinegar and sometimes lemon juice.
Cabbage and carrot salad or lahanosalata me karoto
Lahanosalata is a classic winter salad. As Greeks tend to eat according to the season, cabbage becomes heavily featured on menus during the colder months. As such, this variant of coleslaw without the creamy dressing is simply delicious. While the recipe may vary slightly depending on which region you are in, the cabbage salad includes shredded cabbage and carrots, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
The most common form of vegetable fritters you will find are kolokithokeftedes (or squash fritters), but depending on the area and recipes, you may also find tomatokeftedes (tomato fritters), eggplants and so on. Tzatziki sauce usually accompanies these fritters for dipping.
This Cretan-style salad, also called koukouvayia, is a slice of soaked barley rusk covered with chopped or grated tomato, crumbled feta or mizithra cheese and olive oil. This dish is a tasty and healthy meal, providing you with fibre and antioxidants.
Beetroots or patzaria
Served cold or still slightly warm, beetroots are delicious on their own, but they are often paired with skordalia, a garlicky potato purée. Usually boiled, they are seasoned and served with a dash of olive oil.
A dietician’s dream food, briam is the equivalent of the French ratatouille. Part of the ladera style of dishes (vegetables cooked in an olive oil-based sauce), it consists of chunks of zucchini, potatoes, and eggplant baked in an oven and mixed with tomato sauce and olive oil.
Leafy greens, boiled greens or horta (vrasta)
Growing virtually everywhere, wild leafy greens, such as vlita, beet, dandelion or other local greens, are boiled, seasoned and served with olive oil and lemon. Healthy, simple and tasty, all you need to do is savour them with some bread, and you’re good to go!
The staple meze in every Greek restaurant across the world, dolmades are delectable vine leaves stuffed with lemon-flavored rice, fresh herbs and spices and then rolled up.
You can never go wrong with ordering a plate of fava. This delicious dip/purée features a blend of split peas and olive oil. Sometimes garnished with onions and capers, it’s even better when paired with some bread.
A healthy and satisfying dish, gigantes are broad beans (butter beans) baked in a thick, sweet tomato sauce, although you may find them cooked in a variety of ways. Sometimes they have crumbled feta cheese on top as a garnish.
This toothsome dish, called imam or imam baldi, dates back to the Ottoman period and consists of sliced eggplants cooked with oil, tomatoes, onions and spices. It can be roasted or baked in an oven.
The ubiquitous spanakopita (or spinach pie) is a baked phyllo pastry stuffed with spinach and onion. Sometimes feta cheese is also included in the mix. You can eat these tasty delicacies as a snack, a side dish or even a main meal.
Spinach rice or spanakorizo
A creamy and appetising recipe, spanakorizo is a rice dish made with spinach, onion and seasoning and has the consistency of risotto. Easy to make and full of flavour, it can be a main or side dish.
This refreshing yogurt-based sauce includes cucumbers, dill and garlic. Usually served as a dip, it is also used in pittas (yes, you can even find the ikologiko souvlaki, the meatless version of the all-time favourite street food).
Hearty and filling, gemista (meaning stuffed or filled) are oven-baked tomatoes or bell peppers stuffed with a filling of rice, veggies and fresh herbs. Of course, there are many variants of this dish, but the result will always make your mouth water.
Greek cuisine includes a type of dish commonly called ladera, which means cooked in oil, or oily. Almost always vegetarian, these vegetable stews (or casseroles) consist of a variety of vegetables cooked (often baked in an oven) with oil and tomato sauce and include okra (bamies), green beans, stuffed tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and legumes. Usually eaten as a main dish, it can also contain feta cheese, and an extensive amount of bread for dipping often accompanies it.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.