There are many of us bitten by travel bug, but backed by our food preferences (being vegans or vegetarians) when deciding to visit a country. The preferences can be due to personal choice, animal love or religious bondages. But we often feel afraid to explore. The only fear that holds us back is to try to find something new or maybe something thats precarious to our cuisine. Below is our guide to vegetarian food and drinks in Greece.
When we planned our trip to Greece, we were not scared but there was a little apprehension. Given the fact that in worst to worst condition, bread, veggies and fruits would be at the rescue, we finalized the trip without any further thoughts. Though we are vegetarian and love the Indian cuisine, but we also always explore out on various local dishes and cuisines. And same was the instinct when we landed in Greece.
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Here’s some good news – for people who have been to South east Asia – specially Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand etc; you will find some amazing options for vegans and vegetarians. Down below we have listed some of them, and if you are not scared to try out new drinks, you might just fall in love with Greece. Most of the places in Greece have no issues when it comes to vegetarian food. But some of the villages that are underrated and not touristy may have limited options (We found very few vegetarian food options in Kastraki Village in Greece).
Here is our account of vegetarian food in Greece that we cherished along with some traditional drinks and would recommend you as well to make your trip a perfect vacation…
Food (vegetarian friendly)
1. Greek Salads
Greece offers a variety when it comes to salads. Loaded with leafy veggies, onions, variety of cheese, and olive oil a plate of salad can become just another everyday pre-appetizer/meal. The greek salad that we tried and loved comes with Fetta Cheese and olives. Its more than just nutritious – its yummm.
2. Stuffed Mushrooms
For a mushroom lover like me, this dish was a big surprise. It was cooked in a very different style that I’ve had elsewhere. Served with 3 pieces in a single dish, and stuffed with veggies, rice and sauces, with a tinge of honey, the whole meal was too good to cherish. Given the options available, we had mushrooms twice during our whole trip.
It’s an Italian creamy dish of rice, chopped veggies and lots of cheese. 2 bowls of risotto were sufficient to satiate our hunger. Though Italian in origin, you will find very well prepared Risotto throughout the Greece. It’s most enjoyable with a glass of wine by the table.
Well, where is this dish not found on earth. Available almost everywhere, but varying in taste sandwiches can be one of the safest option if you’re reluctant to try something new. Filled in veggies and cheese, there is always room for a sandwich on your dinner table. Not only that, it’s one of the best take-away food and also makes a great snack. We can’t leave this without mentioning “Souvlaki Story”. This place serves amazing sandwiches in the old Town of Mykonos. We had a club sandwich and an open sandwich with some fries by the side. A bottle of beer surely completes your meal.
Being close to Italy, most of the Italian dishes can quite easily be found with that good a taste; Pizza being one of them. You can find a variety with breads, thin or thick crust, may be even a double decker loaded with cheese especially when you’re a cheese lover like me. You can go on from ordering classic Margherita to Greek styled one with some traditional toppings.
6. Greek Dolmades
This was one of the new dish that we tried, and it disappoint us. In fact we ended up ordering it 3 times during our whole trip. Dolmades is a dish make of stuffed vine leaves. The stuffing is generally of rice and veggies. It one of the best appetizers to check on. We loved the taste.
It’s generally a stuffed tomato and a belle pepper. As usual the stuffing is of rice and veggies. This dish is also available almost throughout the Greece.
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8. Tzatziki with Bread
Tzatziki is a dip/sauce made of salted yogurt and cheese, cucumber, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and some herbs. Its tastefully sour and cherished with bread and chips.
Hummus is another dip/spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Its creamy and a bit bland in taste. It is taken alongwith the bread. Its quite popular in South-eastern Europe.
One of the very famous food and almost available everywhere round the globe, Spaghetti is a form of pasta served plain or with sauce. The greek version of spaghetti is cheesy and creamish. A plate of spaghetti can make a full meal.
11. Cheese – lots of it
And finally, you can have variety of cheese dishes varying from tons of Spicy Cheese dips to Cheese pouches/pockets. If you are a cheese lover, then Greek vegetarian food will be truly paradise.
12. Sweet Dishes & Desserts
A good meal is never complete without an excellent dessert. And Greece offers a variety of it from yummy gelato to famous frozen greek yogurt. Some of desserts that would satiate your sweet tooth are gelatos, ice-creams, yogurt, melomakarona (honey cookies), Diples (crispy fried pasteries), Revani etc. If you are a bit reluctant to try traditional desserts, gelatos, icecreams and yogurts will always be the best options to cover your sweet cravings.
Fun fact – I always enjoy my dessert alongside some alcohol.
And speaking of Drinks, be sure to try these. (Ouzo and Mastika are already one of my favourites)
It’s a Greek spirit made of grapes. In contrast to Turkish Raki, this one has a clear taste. It is usually served alongside food as its considered a good digestif. It can be taken as a shot or diluted with water.
One other version of Raki is called Rakomelo which is made by combining Raki with Honey, some spices and herbs. It is a Cretan drink.
Majority of the drinks in Greece are consumed at the end of the meal, and so is Mastika. Native to the Greek island of Chios, Mastika is a sweet liquor flavoured with Mastik – a resin obtained from the Mastik tree. Its super sweet taste makes it not-a-preferred drink sometimes. It has a wonderfully unique and distinct flavour and if you have a sweet tooth for drinks, you might end up loving it. Mastika is a popular drink in Greece and available throughout the Greece. We had Mastika in the island of Oia.
One of my favourite Greek drinks. It is a bit dry to taste and anise-flavoured. It’s very similar to taste with Absinthe. There is a very small difference one can make out. Can be taken as shots or diluted with water (I prefer it diluted and like to drink it slow). Its popularly available throughout the Greece. We tried Ouzo in Chania and Athens.
4. Greek Rose Wine
It was the first time we heard about Rose Wine. Its a relatively new drink in the Greek culture but has become quite popular in the recent times – especially in Santorini.
This wine is a little dry and has a green flavour quite similar to celery. You might not fall for it in the first go but slowly you might start to enjoy it. However we would still prefer authentic Red Wine.
5. Traditional Greek beer
There are many kinds of beer served in Greece with lager beer being the most famous. It does not taste bitter and is more on the sweet side but its quite strong.
This is considered to be a greek whisky but it’s actually not. It has its own category because of the presence of Muscat wines and some herbs in it.
7. Greek Coffee
This is same as Turkish coffee. A little coarse in nature and quite strong though low in caffeine. Again this is something you will have to develop a taste for. I liked it but Suchi did not :-).
This was our account of vegetarian friendly food that you can binge on while in Greece. This is completely based on our experience and the info gathered from the locals during our trip. Hope you like and get to know of some options before you venture out.