Greek goddesses: dishes from the Mediterranean

Greek food has to be one of my all-time favourite foods (and holiday destinations!) There are so many clean foods that the Greeks make that are so often overlooked when it comes to eating healthily. Greeks are passionate about fresh ingredients where the true flavours are allowed to shine. Dishes are family friendly, it’s all about sharing a meze so pick one or some for you all to enjoy. I'm sure that you will be familiar with some of these, but so often people buy dips rather than creating your own healthier versions at home.

Tzatziki

  • Half a cucumber, grated

  • Half a clove of garlic, crushed

  • Greek yoghurt, half a large pot

  1. Grate the cucumber

  2. Place cucumber, yoghurt and garlic in a bowl, stir, season, serve

Aubergine dip

This has to be one of my favourites, a lovely smoky way to use aubergine.

  • Greek yoghurt, half a large pot 
  • A pinch of cumin

  • Half a clove of garlic, crushed

  • Salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste

  • 1 aubergine

  1. Place the aubergine under the grill (or directly onto a BBQ is best) and allow to blacken all over

  2. Allow to cool so that you can handle it

  3. Remove most of the charred surface. Roughly chop into chunks

  4. Place into a bowl with yoghurt, garlic, cumin etc and blend with a hand blender until roughly smooth

  5. Serve with crudités

Some other great Greek dishes for clean inspiration include:

  • Greek salad - classic!
  • Halloumi - dry fry on both sides for a salty hit and serve straight away
  • Lamb kebabs - rub with oregano, garlic and a touch of dried chilli, allow to marinate, skewer alongside courgettes, mushrooms, onions etc, grill and serve
  • Baked whole fish - sea bass, mackerel or sardines are all fantastic with some slices of lemon in their bellies and baked in foil
  • Calamari - forget the deep fried version and dry fry some fresh squid with some chilli, garlic and a squeeze of lemon
  • Wilted (wild) greens - Greeks love side dishes of traditional flavour and although we might not be able to find some of the local produce recreate with seasonal greens, garlic and lemon
  • Stuffed peppers, courgette or tomatoes (stuff with lean mince, tomatoes and sweated vegetables)
  • Hummus - easy!
  • Peas, artichokes and baby onions
  • Roasted and marinated veggies
  • Homemade dolmades if you are feeling brave! Use brown rice and wrap in vine leaves
  • Meatballs - try adding a pinch of cumin, garlic and oregano when you are making homemade meatballs, add to the tomato sauce too and serve with courgetti. My kids love this one with pasta or on its own as a part of a meze
  • Marinate your own olives in herbs and olive oil to create your own signature style

Spanakopita

Now this isn't 100% clean but I've tried to make it as healthy as possible, however filo pastry is the one thing you can't do away with but it’s a great one for all the family to share and you will never see kids eating so much spinach (I do not use ANY additional oil or butter between layers of filo, you don't need to!)

You will need: 

  • 3/4 bag of frozen spinach defrosted and drained
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • One bunch of spring onions, chopped or 1/2 a red onion, chopped
  • One packet of Feta, cubed
  • One packet of filo pastry
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of nutmeg, oregano, salt and pepper
  1. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well 
  2. Lay out two sheets of filo one on top of the other. Place a line of the filling down one side about an inch thick and roll into a tube
  3. Curl this tube onto a baking sheet
  4. Repeat this process until all the mixture is used and a large wheel shape has been created
  5. Place into oven at 180˚C for 30 mins until the top is golden brown 
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I hope you take some inspiration on how great clean food is and it gets you cooking! This just shows that if you are going away this summer that there are no excuses when you are holiday; there are always healthy alternatives there for you to enjoy.

As the Greeks say, "Yamas!!" 
Ele x