The summer inspired us to enjoy the traditional light Greek mezes.
But what is the meze and why it is so important in the Greek culture?
Translated literally, the word meze (meh-ZEH) means a taste or a bite. Mezethes (the plural of meze) are small plates of light savory snacks that are served during the hot Greek summer days . There are plenty of Greek mezes mostly meatless (vegetarian paradise!) and many of them are really healthy. You can find most of the Greek mezethes in the traditional Greek restaurants (tavernas). Eating together is important in the Greek culture and mezethes are also to share with the other people around the table.
Mezethes are served in small portions, so you can try many of them. We collected the most famous ones with their Greek names so you know what to order in the local taverna during your holiday in Greece.
Dolmadakia: Rice with dill, mint and other herbs and wrapped in vine leaves and marinated with olive oil and lemon. You can buy them also in the supermarkets.
Tirokafteri: Literally means spicy. Feta (or other medium soft Greek cheese) with paprika. (Don’t imagine something so hot, it’s just nicely piquant).
Saganaki: medium hard yellow cheese (usually Graviera from Crete – yumm) slightly grilled. Usually served with some honey.
Some dips are also popular on the Greek meze tables. Here are the ones without meat:
Melitzanosalata: Eggplant salad with spices and with or without feta.
Tzatziki: Perhaps the most well-know Greek plate. An easy to make refreshing dip with fresh yogurt, mint and cucumbers.
Want to try a nice Greek meze recipe?
One favourite Meze is the Zucchini patties (KOLOKITHOKEFTEDES. Yes, we know it is long name, but good to remember. Kolokithia: zucchini+ keftedes: patties).
Easy to make and take literally 10 minutes (plus baking time).
In the traditional recipe version the patties are fried on little olive oil. In our healthier version, we just suggest to simply bake them in the oven.
A quick guide to the Greek mezethes (small plates / bites to share)Course: Food
1 kg zucchinis, grated
1 red onion, grated
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsps fresh mint, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup feta cheese, grated
2 cups powdered breadcrumbs (or 4 tbsps self raising flour)
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsps parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper
- Grade the zucchinis and the onion. Mix all the ingredients, adding only 1 tbsps of the oil. If you find the mixture too soft you can add a little flour of rolled oats (in the latter case let the mixture rest 20 minutes).
- Preheat the oven at 180C.
- Oil the bottom of a baking tray with the rest of the olive oil.
- Form balls with your hands, then flatten the balls into a patties.
- Bake the fritters for 25 minutes turning them half way.
- Serve with plain yoghurt (or vegan yoghurt)