Vegetarian Meals

Traditional Greek Salad

two greek salad with oil, balsamic vinegar, and cucumber on the side

 

Rounding out this Mediterranean themed week with my all time favorite greek cuisine…the simple yet flavorful, GREEK SALAD.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, David and I were lucky enough to make a trip to Greece last summer with a few of our friends, and let me tell you, it was a dream come true!

 

friends visiting mykonos town, mykonos greece

(The group in Mykonos Town, Mykonos)

The country is so old, history so rich, and the land is beautiful!  We toured the National Archaeological Museum and Acropolis, met some of the nicest and most accommodating locals, lounged on their sun filled beaches, and indulged in some of the best and freshest food (and drinks)!  

 

having drinks on a rooftop bar overlooking the acropolis is greece

(Enjoying those drinks at a bar overlooking the Acropolis!  Bar: A for Athens Cocktail Bar)

(Walking through the ancient Acropolis of Athens)

If I’m being honest, I always enjoyed Greek Salads here in the U.S., but they weren’t anything I’d obsess over.  So obviously, first day in Greece, I had to try out a traditional Greek Salad from the homeland to see how it compared.  Final verdict?  OH.MAH.GAWD. it was life changing.  And no lie, I ate one every.single.day.

You think one would get tired of eating the same food every day, but that was not the case at all.  It actually had the opposite effect, in that I required a Greek Salad with a side of fresh bread and olive oil, every day in order to survive.  The best way I can explain it is like this…I’m stuck floating out into space, and the Greek Salad is my oxygen filled space suit GIVING ME LIFE.

But I digress…

 

greek salad with block of feta and basil on top

 

Aside from the seriously ripe, home grown tomatoes and cucumbers, the biggest difference in Greek Salads in Greece vs Greek Salads in the U.S. is the FETA CHEESE.  Every place you went to in Greece gave you these big blocks of brine-soaked feta, drizzled with oil and oregano.  This was a GAME CHANGER.

One of my favorite brine-soaked feta blocks is made by Dodoni, an authentic Greek feta imported from the homeland itself!  I get mine at Costco in a big container, so as you can imagine it lasts me a while!  Trader Joe’s also has a good selection of blocked feta, so don’t be afraid to try it out and take the extra step of cutting it up ypurself…its worth it!

 

two greek salad with cucumber on the side and Dodoni blocked feta

 

So as you can imagine, I was determined to recreate this in my own home and I think this recipe is pretty darn close.  The key is to keep it simple.  Use large chunks of veggies, quality EVOO, and a big ol’ block of brine soaked feta for good measure!  Do not underestimate the power of simple, quality ingredients, as evidence by this life giving salad.

 

greek salad with block of feta and dodoni blocked feta container

 

Once you’ve created your masterpiece, sit back, relax…and take a picture to send to you friends telling them you took a last minute trip to Greece!

 

two greek salads with oil and balsamic vinegar on the side

 

Traditional Greek Salad

Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Salad
Keyword: feta, greek, salad, traditional
Servings: 2 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cucumber cut into large chunks
  • 2 tomatoes cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 cup red onion sliced thinly
  • 1 large block of feta
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • fresh basil chopped

Instructions

  • Dice cucumber and tomatoes in large chunks and add to bowl.
  • Thinly slice the raw red onion and sprinkle over top of cucumber and tomato mixture.
  • Drizzle oil and vinegar over salad mixture.
  • Cut a large block of feta and lay overtop individual salads.
  • Drizzle a little extra oil over feta and sprinkle whole salad with dried oregano.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped basil.
Appetizers, Vegetarian Meals

Greek Mini Bell Pepper Boats

multi color baby bell pepper boats filled with greek filling

 

To keep this mediterranean vibe going, here is a little somethin somethin for you to serve up as a healthy and fun appetizer!  These mini bell pepper boats are so fun, colorful, and of course…hella YUMMY.  But be careful, because from what I experienced they go fast, so don’t be afraid to make extra!

As you can see, these little lovelies are beautiful to look at, and make your spread look like something out of a magazine, but they are totally healthy for you too!  Gluten free, vegetarian, heart healthy, and filled with greek goodness…and if you aren’t already sold, there is no cooking required!  These little boats are easy to make and take very little time.  All ingredients are raw, which means just some chopping and mixing are in order.

 

tray of baby bell peppers filled with greek salad mixture

 

This recipe includes olive tapenade and olive oil, a component of the mediterranean diet that makes it so good for you!  Oil from olives has shown to reduce risk of periphery artery disease, decrease blood pressure and inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.  Making this appetizer heart healthy!

For preparation of this appetizer, you will need a large bag of mini bell peppers rinsed, and cut down the middle long ways.  For this recipe I used 25 peppers.  The best way to do this is to dump the peppers on a table to see where they lay naturally.  Take the side of the pepper facing up and cut above the stem all the way down to the bottom (this will help them lay better when they are filled with veggie mixture). 

 

orange mini bell pepper cut long ways to create a boat

 

Once you remove the top, set aside for later use, and proceed by scooping out the seeds and insides of your “boat” under running water.  Do this to all of you pepper boats and then set aside.

 

red, orange, and yellow baby bell peppers cut into boats laying on a white table

 

Take the tops from your pepper boats and chop into small pieces, before throwing into a large mixing bowl.

 

tops of baby bell pepper boats chopped and in a mixing bowl

 

Add the rest of your finely chopped veggies, EVOO, tapenade and cheese.  Mix together, add some spices, then scoop into your boats before serving!

 

chopped bell peppers, onion, cucumber, basil, feta, and tapenade in mixing bowl

 

I eat mine like sushi…all in one bite, but my husband is more civilized than I am and will eat over a few bites.  Whichever level of sophistication you are, I’m sure you will very much enjoy!

 

greek baby bell pepper boats with empty bell pepper boats in background on white table

 

Baby Bell Pepper Boats

Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: appetizer, bell pepper, gluten free, mediterranean, vegetarian
Servings: 5 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 25 mini bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup cucumber chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive tapenade
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper each

Instructions

  • Take 25 mini bell peppers and slice in half, starting above one end of the stem, and slicing all the way down to the bottom, creating a "boat". 
  • Spoon out seeds and interior of bell pepper, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  • Take leftover tops of bell peppers, dice them and throw into a mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Spoon filling from mixing bowl into bell pepper boats, plate and serve!
Vegetarian Meals

Antioxidant Rich Berry Bars

Antioxidant Rich Berry Bars; paleo and gluten free

’Tis the season for colds, am I right?!  

These little gems tend to make an appearance at our place at the first sign of a head cold, and for good reason.  Its basically a snack bar containing multiple SUPERFOODS, loaded with antioxidants to help you get your mojo back!  Not only are these gluten free, paleo, and super nourishing, but the cool temperature of the berry compote will soothe even the sorest of throats.

Even though these bars have a particularly beneficial effect during the cold season, these are absolutely year-round quality snacks you can make with little time and effort.  Make them for your family to grab as a healthy snack after school, early morning breakfast on the go, or even serve as a dessert option at your next dinner party.  Either way you serve ‘em up, they’ll go fast!

All-natural, paleo, gluten free ANTIOXIDANT RICH BERRY BARS

This recipe contains blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and dates, with a little additional topping love from the goji berry!  The gluten free paleo crust, takes all of 15 min of baking, and the delicious, all-natural compote, takes 10 min on stovetop.  Freeze for an hour, or overnight, cut into bars, and store in the fridge!

Berries , like the ones included in this recipe, contain high levels of antioxidants, which act to neutralize naturally occurring free radicals that damage cells in our bodies.  By incorporating foods high in antioxidants to your diet, you can help to counteract the long term effects of free radicals in the body.  Such benefits include skin health, immune system support, heart health, eye health, and memory function.

all-natural, paleo, gluten free ANTIOXIDANT RICH BERRY BARS

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Antioxidant Rich Mixed Berry Bars

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Snack
Keyword: antioxidant, blackberries, gluten free, goji berries, raspberries, strawberries, superfood

Ingredients

Gluten-Free Crust

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Berry Compote

  • 6 oz organic blackberries
  • 6 oz organic raspberries
  • 6 oz organic strawberries approx. 13 strawberries
  • 4 tbsp almond flour
  • 5 dates pitted
  • 1/2 cup water
  • goji berries sprinkle on top
  • sliced almonds sprinkle on top

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together almond flour and shredded coconut.
  • In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, and vanilla extract.
  • Pour liquid mixture into bowl with dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Take crust mixture and transfer it to lined baking dish.  Pat down crust mixture so that it is evenly distributed across the surface of the baking dish.  (I used the back of a spatula to thin the crust out.)
  • Bake in oven for 15 min.
  • While crust is baking, begin fruit compote.  Prepare fruit by rinsing, remove stems from strawberries and cut in half, and remove pits from dates.
  • Add water and all berries to saucepan and turn up to high heat.  Stir berries periodically until mixture begins to boil.  Let boil for 1-2 min, then reduce to medium heat.  Take a potato masher and periodically mash the fruit mixture.
  • Let sit on medium heat for an additional 8-10 min, while periodically stirring and mashing.  Remove from heat, stir in almond flour and let cool.
  • Once your crust is finished,  set out to cool.  Once the crust and berry compote have cooled off to room temp, pour compote mixture onto crust.  Spread an even layer over crust, sprinkle with goji berries and almonds.
  • Freeze for minimum 1 hr, for best results freeze over night.  Remove from baking dish, pull out parchment paper, and cut into squares.  Store in fridge and enjoy!