What can vegans eat in Greece? A list of vegan summer foods

Posted on 21. Jul, 2014 by in Culture, Travelling, Vocabulary

by stu_spivack under a CC license on Flickr

by stu_spivack under a CC license on Flickr

Most foreigners have connected Greek food to seafood, fish, cheese and meat. It’s true that the most typical dishes, such as souvlaki (σουβλάκι), moussaka (μουσακάς) and Greek salad (χωριάτικη σαλάτα) are animal-based products and cannot be consumed by vegans.
Traditional Greek cuisine is based on the fasting periods during which people were not allowed to consume animal products, so the list of “animal free” dishes is really long. The ingredients and cooking method may vary, however there’s always one rule to follow: to use seasonal fruits and vegetables.  I’m not a nutritionist, so there will be no lecture about the value of fresh products. I can only assure you that if you are vegan you won’t be disappointed by the Greek cuisine. If superfoods are part of your daily diet mind that you can find them only in urban areas or in touristy islands. If you want to taste something different though you can do so anywhere.
This is a list of the most popular vegan dishes.  They are related to summertime and  one cannot leave Greece without tasting at least one of them!
1. Χωριάτικη σαλάτα χωρίς φέτα (horeeateekee salata horees feta) Greek salad without feta cheese.

It’s probably one of the most famous Greek dishes. Some people have it as a main dish. It contains tomatoes (ντομάτες, domates), cucumber (αγγούρι, agouree), onion (κρεμμύδι, kremeedee), pepper (πιπεριά, peepereea), olives (ελιές, elies), olive oil (ελαιόλαδο, eleolado)and oregano (ρίγανη, reeganee).
Don’t use a lemon-based seasoning.

2. Κολοκυθοκορφάδες (kolokeethokorfades) Zucchini blossoms.

A true summer food! A vegan can eat them γιαχνί (yahnee, cooked in tomato sauce) or stuffed but they have to make sure that there’s no cheese or meat in the filling.


3. Φασόλια γίγαντες (fasoleea geegantes) Giant beans

A typical Greek dish. Usually, the beans are baked in tomato sauce but they can be cooked in other ways as well. It’s better not to consume them late because they are hard to digest.


by Nickchick under a CC license on Flickr

4. Φασολάκια (fasolakia) Green beans

There are many ways to cook them. Their less complicated version is a salad made of green beans, fresh olive oil, vinegar (ξύδι, xeedee), and one melted garlic clove (μία σκελίδα σκόρδου λιωμένη, meea skeleeda skordou leeomenee).  More ingredients can be added. The most popular version of φασολάκια is φασολάκια λαδερά (fasolakeea ladera) which is made of green beans, potatoes (πατάτες, patates), onions, parsley (μαϊντανός, maeedanos) and spices (μπαχαρικά, bahareeka) cooked in tomato sauce.

5. Μπριάμ (briam)

It’s a mixture of zucchini, potatoes and sometimes egg plants (μελιτζάνες, meleetzanes), parsley and aromatic herbs (μυρωδικά, meerodika) , cooked in tomato sauce. It should be served in room temperature.

6. Γεμιστά (gemeesta) Stuffed tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and zucchini.

They are stuffed with rice, spices, herbs and sometimes raisins. Make sure that they don’t contain ground meat. A similar dish can be ντολμαδάκια γιαλαντζί (dolmathakia yalantzee): grape leaves (αμπελόφυλλα, abelofila) stuffed with rice and aromatic herbs. Again, make sure that they don’t contain ground meat and that they are not served with egg and lemon sauce (αβγολέμονο, abgolemono).

7. Μπάμιες (bamies) Okra

My personal favorite.  Non-vegeterians eat it with chicken; however chicken can be omitted and okra can be baked with onions and aromatic herbs in tomato sauce.

8. Ιμάμ μπαϊλντί (eemam baeeldee)

A food of Turkish origin. Ιμάμ μπαϊλντί means “the imam fainted”.  It’s made of eggplants stuffed with tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Although it’s very tasty, it can give a heavy feeling in the stomach because the eggplants are fried.

9. Μαρμελάδα με ταχίνι (marlmelada me taheenee) Jam and sesame paste

This is a breakfast dish. Ταχίνι contains sesame seeds and olive oil so it is suitable for vegans. If mixed with jam and spread onto a slice of homemade bread can make a breakfast dish rich in calories yet nutritious.

10. Γλυκό του κουταλιού (gleeko tou koutaleeou) Spoon sweet

If you’re up to a sweet desert a good option would be a spoon sweet. It looks like jam but it’s thicker. A homemade spoon sweet contains only natural ingredients such as fruits, sugar, water and maybe lemon or orange juice and  nuts. No sweeteners, glucose syrup or artificial colors are added. In the summer spoon sweets are made of strawberries, cherries, sour cherries, grapes, apricots, water melon ,and figs.

Καλή όρεξη!

by Agnee under a CC license on Flickr

by Agnee under a CC license on Flickr

Reflexive pronouns in Modern Greek

Posted on 16. Jul, 2014 by in Grammar

Marina del Castell under a CC license on Flickr

If you have already come accross the  reflexive pronouns (αυτοπαθείς αντωνυμίες, aftopathees antonimies), this means that you are at an intemediate level. Well done! You can take a look at this article if you’re in the mood for a quick review.
The reflexive  pronouns are formed by the noun  «εαυτός» (eaftos) which means “self” and the weak types of the personal pronoun.

  • They are used when the action of the subject goes back to the subject itself.
  • They are used at the genitive and the accusative case (γενική και αιτιατική).

E.g. Η Στέλλα περιέγραψε τον εαυτό της. (Ee Stella periegrapse ton eafto tis)
Stella described herself.

  •  They can be used at the nominative case (ονομαστική) emphatically.

E.g. Η Στέλλα κατηγορεί τους άλλους αλλά μόνο ο  εαυτός της φταίει. (Ee Stella kateegoree tous alous ala mono o eaftos tees ftaiee).
Sophia blames the others but it’s only herself to blame.


 Αυτοπαθείς αντωνυμίες

Ενικός αριθμός (enikos arithmos) Singular
Gen:Του εαυτού μου (tou eaftou moumyself
Acc:Τον εαυτό μου (ton eafto moumyself

Gen:Του εαυτού σου (tou eaftou sou) yourself
Acc: Τον εαυτό σου (ton eafto sou) yourself

Gen: Του εαυτού του (tou eaftou tou) himself, itself
Acc: Τον εαυτό του (ton eafto tou) himself, itself

Gen: Του εαυτού της (tou eaftou tees) herself
Acc: Τον εαυτό της (ton eafto tees) herself

Πληθυντικός αριθμός (pleetheenteekos areethmos) Plural
Gen:Του εαυτού μας / των εαυτών μας (tou eaftou mas / ton eafton mas) ourself /ourselves
Acc: Τον εαυτό μας / τους εαυτούς μας (ton eafto mas / tous eaftous mas) ourself / ourselves

Gen: Του εαυτού σας  / των εαυτών σας (tou eaftou sas / ton eafton sas) yourself / yourselves
Acc: Τον εαυτό σας / τους εαυτούς σας (ton eafto sas / tous eaftous sas) yourself / yourselves

Gen: Του εαυτού τους  / των εαυτών τους (tou eaftou tous / ton eafton tous) themself/ themselves
Acc: Τον εαυτό τους/ τους εαυτούς τους (ton eafto tous / tous eaftous tous) themself / themselves

Μερικά παραδείγματα (The examples are translated directly)
Δεν προσέχω τον εαυτό μου. (Den proseho ton eafto mou)
I don’t look after myself.

Η Σοφία θεωρεί τον εαυτό της υπεύθυνο για το ατύχημα. (Ee Sophia theoree ton eafto tees eepeftheeno gia to ateeheema)
Sophia  considers herself responsible for the accident .

Γιατί δουλεύεις τόσο πολύ; Πρέπει να βρεις  χρόνο για τον εαυτό σου! (Giatee douleveis toso pole? Prepei na vrees hrono gia ton eafto sou)
Why do you work so much? You have to find time for yourself.

Η Άννα και ο Κώστας σκέφτονται πρώτα τα παιδιά τους και μετά τον εαυτό τους. (Ee Anna kai o Kostas skeftontai prota ta paidia tous kai meta ton eafto tous)
Anna and Costas think of their children first and after of themsef.

Να λυπάστε τον εαυτό σας, όχι εμάς. (Na leepaste ton eafto sas kai ohee emas)
You should be sorry of yourselves and not of us.

Πρέπει να μιλήσουμε για τον εαυτό μας. (Prepee na meeleesoume gia ton eafto mas)
We have to talk about ourself.


Wagner Machado Carlos Lemes under a CC license on flickr





To avoid any technical misunderstandings that might arise, please note that:

  • this blog does not substitute a grammar book.
  • it’s impossible to cover all the aspects of a topic related to grammar, vocabulary and culture in a limited amount of words. Therefore, only specific parts of an aspect can be discussed.

Please, feel free to leave your comments at the end of the post or on the Facebook page. Ευχαριστώ!

A love letter to olive oil

Posted on 07. Jul, 2014 by in Customs, Vocabulary

by USDAgov (under a CC license on flickr)

by USDAgov (under a CC license on flickr)


Dear olive oil,

You are the best-known product of Greece and a basic component of the Mediterranean diet. Scientists relate you to good health,  big eaters to pleasure and cosmetologists to beauty. For me you are the indispensable ornament of my favorite comfort food, which is greens with feta cheese, and of my hand-made beeswax cream.

In december I have the chance and the pleasure to taste the best quality of you: first press olive oil made of cold-pressed olives collected from my grandfather’s fields in Southern Greece, a product that others would taste in gourmet restaurants only. You are one of the best ingredients a dressing could have but I prefer to consume you raw. And if some people want to “bathe” their fresh vegetables in you, for me just one or two teaspoons can make me feel your taste, which is fruity or bitter, pungent or mild.

When I travel abroad,  in my attempt to make an intimate relationship with a new flavor, I have cheated on you. However, you are the only flavor that brings me back to my childhood and that gives me a touch of the eternal Greek summer even in the heart of winter.

People have been producing you since antiquity. You have been a symbol of health and wellness and have been used as a special treat on the bodies of warriors and athletes. You have inspired poets and authors, your name has appeared in tragedies and there are many expressions and idioms with you. In mythology, the Athenians valued a small olive tree as the most precious gift a god could offer them.

I promise you that we will see each other more often in the summer time but I will use you wise because, like all great loves, you can cause problems.

With love,

Vocabulary related to olive oil


  • Ελαιόλαδο (eleolado)= olive oil
  • Αγνό παρθένο ελαιόλαδο (agno parhteno eleolado)= extra virgin oil
  • Αγουρέλαιο (agoureleo)= first press olive oil
  • Οξύτητα (oxitita)= acidity
  • Λάδι (ladi)= oil
  • Ελιά (elia)= olive, olive tree
  • Κουκούτσι, πυρήνας (koukoutsi, pirinas)= kernel
  • Ελαιώνας (eleonas)= olive field
  • Ελαιοτριβείο (eleotrivio)= oil press
  • Συγκομιδή (sigomidi)= harvest
  • Λαδερός-ή-ό (laderos, laderi, ladero)= oily: it refers to foods cooked with olive oil such as green beans or okra
  • Λαδί (ladi)= olive green
  • Λαδολέμονο (ladolemono)= dressing made of olive oil and lemon)
  • Λαδώνω (ladono)= to spread olive oil / to lubricate / to bribe

A Greek video about muths and symbolisms related to olive oil in different civilizations.

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