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The 5 Most Important Healing Greek Aromatic Herbs

Greek Aromatic Herbs

The 5 Most Important Healing Greek Aromatic Herbs


Aromatic plants have been playing a significant role both in the medical cabinets and in the kitchens ever since ancient Greeks discovered about their medicinal and culinary properties. Even Greek mythology mentions some of these plants in reference to different Gods and Goddesses.You can find plants such as oregano or thyme in abundance in Greece due to the country’s mild climate. Walking through the countryside, you can see lush mountain sides and green meadows entirely covered by these fragrant healing herbs.

We have collected a number of aromatic herbs from Greece, which not only give an incomparable flavour for the dishes but can also heal all kind of health conditions and ailments.

Season all kind of dishes and improve your health by incorporating these miracle plants into your everyday life!


Oregano –Ρίγανη (rígani)

Greek Aromatic Herbs

Oregano is probably the most frequently used herb in Greek kitchens. Its name derives from two Greek words όρος (mountain) and γάνος (joy) which can be also interpreted as ‘joy of the mountain’. The story goes that oregano was created by Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty. She planted this wild aromatic herb in her secret garden on the top of Mount Olympus. The Goddess, considering the everyday hardship of humans, offered them leaves of oregano to bring some joy into their lives. Later, the oregano plant became the symbol of happiness and joy. In the old times, or in smaller villages still to this day, young couples used to be crowned with sprigs of oregano in order to make sure that they will have a happy marriage. Apart from bringing luck to the newly weds, oregano’s benefits are plentiful, especially when it come stop health.

The health benefits of oregano oil were already known in the ancient world; therefore, people widely used it to prevent and cure diseases.

Oregano contains carvacrol and thymol which are two powerful antimicrobial agents to fight against the growth of microbes. They have antibacterial and antifungal properties thus can be effective home remedies for skin infections.

The herb also has tremendous antioxidant activity. Studies demonstrated that antioxidant content of oregano scores the highest content among all herbs and even beats some other plant species. Due to its rosmarinic acid compound it beats even apples, oranges, and blueberries in their antioxidant content (Murray, N.D., Michael, et al. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. 1st ed., Atria Books, Sept. 2005.).

If you are looking for a natural solution to treat acne at home diluted oregano oil can do the trick. Using this remedy is also beneficial to get rid of topical infections and cure big bites. People who caught the cold or are suffering from bronchitis can incorporate oregano oil into their steam inhalation therapies.

You can basically use this herb in any recipe you like. Oregano goes perfectly with χωριάτικη (choriátiki; Greek salad) or with a warm nourishing bowl of chickpea soup. The next time you crave some delicious veggie plate, add some extra oregano on top!

Looking for vegan recipe inspiration?

Thyme- Θυμάρι (thymári)

Greek Aromatic Herbs

Just like oregano, thyme also belongs to the mint family. Even though more than sixty different varieties of this plant grow all around the world, Greece can proudly call itself one of the most significant importer.

Thyme has been just as highly favoured today for its flavour and numerous other beneficial properties as it used to be centuries ago. In the ancient Hellenic world, people used to burn branches of thyme during sacred ceremonies as an incense to please the Gods. Thyme was also considered as a symbol for courage and fortitude. The name of the herb actually comes from the ancient Greek word θυμός (thumos) which means bravery. It was thought that smelling the plant before going to a battle will make the warrior fearless and courageous.

Thyme has been widely used for therapeutic and medical purposes. The list of thyme’s health benefits can go on and on for pages, but let’s just a mention a few.

Back in the days, folk medicine books had already mentioned the herb as a great remedy for diarrhea and various gastrointestinal issues.

This miraculous thyme plant is commonly known for its volatile oil content including borneol, geraniol, and thymol. The antispasmodic properties of these compounds both relieve and prevent muscle spasms. Thyme is specifically recommended for treating stomach cramps; it can be an effective pain relief in the form of a hot cup of tea. Thyme tea can be an excellent cure for nightmares, as well, as it aids the digestion if you take a heavy meal close to bedtime.

The essential oil derived from the plant can be used as a powerful treatment for candida and fungal skin infections. Due to its antiseptic properties, thyme is a common ingredient in mouthwashes. Nowadays, many people switch to DIY mouthwashes from the store-bought products to avoid their alcohol content. Adding thyme to your own home-made recipe can provide you a fresh breath that lasts for many hours.

Thyme has powerful antioxidant activity, as well, since it contains high amount of flavonoids, the largest group of phytonutrients. Important flavonoids such as luteolin and thymonin along with thyme’s manganese content make this plant a high-standing item on the list of antioxidant foods.

Thyme can give a great flavor to a wide variety of dishes; for example, hearty legumes, soups, or Greek lemon potatoes. Fancy something sweet? Munch on a yummy spoon of golden thyme honey!


Mint – Δυόσμος (diósmos)

Greek Aromatic Herbs

 Mint is one of the most significant culinary and medicinal herbs cultivated in Greece. There are 25 different species of this plant; however, the most commonly used in Greek cuisine is spearmint. The spearmint plant has rounder leaves with a more grayish green-like color in comparison to peppermint. The taste is also less cooling and rather sweet.It’s a native plant which grows wild throughout the Mediterranean region.

Concerning its origin, even ancient Greek tales give us a unique explanation how this aromatic plant was created. The herb was named after a mythical figure called Minthe. She was a beautiful water Nymph who presided over Cocytus, one of the five rivers of the underworld. These mysterious creatures were nearly as worshipped like Gods in some places. Residents who lived close to water springs used to organize annual ceremonies and rituals to please their local nymphs.

According to the myth, one day Minthe set her eye on Hades and decided to seduce him even though the king of the underworld was already married to Persephone. In her jealous rage, the goddess of spring growth turned the impudent nymph into garden mint. She calculated that now being a plant the nymph will be trampled on by passers-by for an eternity. Hades couldn’t help feeling compassion for his former lover and gave her a sweet intense smell that mesmerizes everyone who comes across the plant. Mint is considered the symbol of hospitality as ancient Greeks used to rub their dining table mint to give it a clean and fresh scent.

Mint has a wide range of health benefits.

Like many other species of the mint family, such as the previously mentioned thyme, this herb also has very beneficial effects on the digestive system. Mint tea is good for all sort of stomach issues, in general. A cup of spearmint tea can even relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Mint oil extract soothes stiff muscles therefore it is recommended for runners and everyone who is physically active. Due to its perillyl alcohol content, it has strong anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that mint is a potent chemopreventive agent and it can fight against colon, skin, and lung cancer (Belanger JT. Perillyl alcohol: applications in oncology. Altern Med Rev. 1998 Dec;3(6):448-57. PMID: 9855569). Steam inhalation with mint extract oil could be a good solution for a blocked nose when you have a cold or suffer from allergies. It opens the nasal tunnels thus will help you breathe more effortlessly.

Spearmint mixes well with a variety of dishes. It gives the signature flavor for many beloved Greek dishes such as gemista (stuffed tomato and paprika) and dolmades (stuffed vine leaves). Don’t be afraid to experiment with strong flavours like mint the next time you prepare something delicious!


Bay leaf – Δάφνη (dáfni)

Greek Aromatic Herbs

Among all the Greek aromatic and therapeutic herbs, bay leaf stands out with its incomparable aroma and surprising health benefits. These sweet dried leaves come from the ever-green bay laurel trees which are indigenous in the Mediterranean area. Interestingly enough, the fresh leaves have very mild flavour; the actual taste comes out after the drying process. Bay leaves belongs to the kind of herbs which have a more prominent fragrance than taste when it comes to seasoning.

According to Ancient Greek mythology, the plant was named after the daughter of the river god Peneus and his wife Creusa. Both mother and daughter were nymphs who were in charge of the fountains and streams of the Thessaly region. Nymphs were known about their attractive look and their seductive nature. Men lost their mind upon encountering their dashing beauty. That’s exactly what happened to Apollo as well. Dafne didn’t respond well to the proposals of the infatuated God. When Apollo’s attempts became even more bothersome, Dafne asked for help from Gaia the Mother Earth. At the next occasion when the God tried to pull the nymph into an embrace, Gaia used her magic and turned Dafne into a bay tree. The grieving lover broke off a couple of leaves and formed a wreath out of them. From that time on, Apollo always appeared with this wreath on his head.

Since Apollo was the god of divination and knowledge (among many other attributes), bay leaves became the symbol of wisdom and prophecy. In the Apollo Temple of Delphi, Greek priestesses used to burn or eat the bay leaves for their mildly narcotic properties. Once they had achieved a trance-like state, it helped them to deliver forecasts and prophecies for their believers.

Laurel wreaths were also given to poets, as well as, for athletes to be awarded for great achievements.

Consumed in small quantities, bay leaf is a perfectly safe culinary and medicinal herb though. Bay leaf extract contains a significant amount of good stuff. Maybe the most important to mention is the health benefit of eugenol essential oil.

The eugenol essential oil has powerful antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal activity. Due to its antineoplastic properties, eugenol can be a potent agent to stop tumor growth. According to a study, essential oil extract from bay leaves has been proven highly effective against the growth of cell mutation in various medical cases such as melanoma, breast cancer, colon cancer, and even leukemia (Bennett, L. & Abeywardena, M. & Burnard, S. & Forsyth, S. & Head, R. & King, K. et al. (2013). Molecular Size Fractions of Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis) Exhibit Differentiated Regulation of Colorectal Cancer Cell Growth In Vitro. Nutrition and cancer. 65. 746-64. 10.1080/01635581.2013.796999).

Bay leaves can be a great home remedy for cold, as well. Using the extracted oil helps to get rid of a stuffy nose. Add some drops in your purifier or into a bowl when you do herbal steam inhalation.

Due to their distinctive flavor, Greek people like to add bay leaves to all sort of local dishes such as fakes (Greek lentil soup) or fasolakia (Greek green beans). Channel your inner Greek, and throw a bunch of bay leaves into your pot the next time you cook lentils!


Rosemary – Δεντρολίβανο (dentrolívano)

Greek Aromatic Herbs

This unique herb is beloved by all for its incomparable aroma, flavor, and outstanding healing properties. Rosemary grows all over the Mediterranean region; however, you can find the best quality wild rosemary on Pindos mountain, in northern Greece. Many people are confused whether rosemary and thyme are same or different plants because of their similar appearance. Thyme has small rounded leaves while rosemary is characterized by rather longish needlelike leaves. Regarding flavor, rosemary has a stronger pungent slightly bitter taste compared to thyme which leaves a more herbal wood-like note in your mouth.

Just like oregano, rosemary is also associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and fertility in Greek mythology. In some versions of the classic birth tale of the goddess, in which she emerges from the currents, Aphrodite is draped is rosemary. There was also a widespread belief that rosemary strengthens the memory therefore students were given a spring of rosemary before the exams. Rosemary flowers were also thrown into the grave during funerals as a symbol of remembrance.

 The fragrant plant has a long history of herbal and culinary use. Due to its connection with Aphrodite, the ancient Greeks viewed rosemary as a natural fertility booster herb. Undoubtedly, rosemary tea is good for variety of ailments and conditions.

The health benefits of rosemary tea include menstruation cycle regulation, stress and anxiety relief, and brain health promotion.

Sipping rosemary tea is especially beneficial for women who have problems with menstrual cycle. Herb infusion also helps to ease cramps. Pregnant women should not take rosemary in large dose though. Some components of the extract might stimulate flow thus it risks miscarriage. People who look for a natural stress relief also benefit from a huge cup rosemary tea. The herb contains ursolic and rosmarinic acid which are proven to fight stress and burnout. Rosemary has been shown to increase blood flow in the brain as well therefore it can naturally improve memory.

As for beauty tips, it’s enough to take a look at Aphrodite’s long flowing hair as she steps out of the white foam. Rosemary oil extract is a great hair growth home remedy for men. A study from 2015 even demonstrated that rosemary oil compared to a popular hair growth drug acts more effectively when used for certain kind of hair loss conditions. Making home treatments with herb extracts always requires using a carrier agent oil. Rosemary blends well with olive or coconut oil.

Rosemary is best for cooking mushrooms or preparing marinades. In case you’ve got also hooked on making your own bread at home during lockdown, add some rosemary into the dough! Enjoy the divine aroma that will still linger around in your home long after you have taken out your rosemary bread from the oven!


Eleonora Jobst

Written by our guest writer and content editor




Vegan and Vegetarian Mediterranean Recipes for Winter – Melomakarona Christmas Cookies

Greek Christmas cookies- sugar free

Our ‘Vegan/Vegetarian Mediterranean Recipes for Winter’ Edition


IV. Melomakarona – Greek Christmas Cookies no sugar version


No holiday season can go without these soft delicious Greek Christmas cookies that literally melt in your mouth. What makes these traditional sweets so unique? First of all, they are soaked in rich Greek honey syrup which is considered the best in the world. Secondly, they are topped with crushed walnuts which gives them a yummy crunchy texture. Lastly, when you serve them your entire home will be redolent with a lovely orange and cinnamon scent. Our version contains no refined sugar, only maple syrup.

It’s a sure bet that melomakarona will be your new favourite soft cookies during this festive season.
Mediterranean Recipes for winter - Greek sugar free sweets

Refined sugar free Melomakarona

Super easy winter holiday cookie recipe from Greece that will warm you up in the cold winter days, when you are already dreaming of your next summer holiday on the Greek islands. We used maple syrup instead of refined sugar in this recipe to make sure you eat healthy.

These delicious cookies from Greece will also make a great Christmas gift idea for you friends and family.

For the dough

  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Cognac
  • 1/4 Cup freshly squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 1 Cup Almond Meal
  • 1 Cup Cornstarch
  • 4 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • pinch of Clove
  • pinch of Nutmeg

For the syrup

  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 3/4 teaspoons Cinnamon

Dough preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C/350F.

    Put the olive oil, cognac, orange juice, maple syrup and zest into a large bowl and lightly whisk together.

  2. In another bowl, sift/whisk together the almond meal, cornstarch, coconut flour, the pinch of clove, the pinch of nutmeg, baking soda and baking powder.

  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 lots, mixing well with each addition. After all the dry has been added the dough should be sticky but firm enough to form balls.

  4. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Take 1 tablespoon of dough and form into an oval shape and place on the lined tray. Repeat with the remaining dough (will make approximately 12 cookies).

  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely on the tray.


  1. Once the cookies have cooled; place the honey and water in a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium/high heat. Reduce to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened slightly (you don't want it too thick). Use immediately.

  2. Using a slotted spoon, take 1 cookie at a time and drop it in the syrup, flipping it to make sure it is evenly coated. Use the slotted spoon to allow the excess syrup to drip back into the saucepan. Place on baking paper and top with walnuts and lightly dust with cinnamon. These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Vegan and Vegetarian Mediterranean Recipes for Winter III.

Greek winter recipes

Our ‘Vegan/Vegetarian Mediterranean Recipes for Winter’ Edition

III. – Vegan Moussaka


In this post, we deliver you the ultimate veganized recipe of this legendary Greek casserole. Moussaka is the national dish of Greece and will more than likely become the favourite meal of your household, as well. It is the number one go-to dish for important occasions and family gatherings all around the country. It may take a while to prepare; however, we can guarantee that this juicy creamy delicacy will worth the trouble! In our vegan moussaka recipe we use lentils and soy instead of meat with traditional spices and some red wine. Enjoy this hearty dish!


Ideal for celebrations and for gloomy winter days when you are in need for a wholesome vegan comfort food.

Greek winter recipes

 Vegan Moussaka Recipe


For the aubergine and potato layers: 

4 large potatoes

6 medium sized aubergine

olive oil

salt & pepper


For the lentils and soy ragù: 

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion 

2-3 garlic cloves

3-4 tbsp tomato purée

200 gr dried minced soy

250 gr cooked lentils – ideally brown

200 ml red wine (Merlot Syrah but you can use any other dry red wine)

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp nutmeg

salt & pepper


For the béchamel layer: 

1 lt oat milk (soy can do as well or any non-sweetened plant milk)

120 gr all-purpose flour

120 gr margarine

100 gr vegan parmesan cheese

1tbsp nutmeg

1tbsp cinnamon

salt & pepper


Instructions to prepare the vegan moussaka:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºC). Cut the aubergine in round slices, season them with salt and pepper and bake them until they become tender. Do the same procedure with the potatoes until they become golden and then set them both aside.
  2. Thirty minutes prior to start preparing the ragù, soak the dry minced soy in a bowl of very hot water in order to make them become soft. Pour 2tbsp olive oil on to your frying pan. Add the finely chopped onions and garlic cloves and cook them until they get caramelised. Now it is time for the tomato purée, the cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Stir them well. Add the already cooked lentils and the soy that nicely absorbed the water. Slowly pour the wine on to the mixture. Season it with salt and pepper. Let the ragù cook on slow heat for about fifteen minutes while occasionally stirring it.
  3. Take another pan and melt the margarine in it. Add the flour followed by the milk. Be careful with the milk, add only a small quantity at a time and stir it constantly until it becomes thick and glossy. Sprinkle the sauce with the cinnamon and the nutmeg. Finally, add the parmesan cheese and let it melt in. Season it with salt and pepper.
  4. Place a thin layer of the béchamel sauce on the bottom of your baking pan. Add a potato layer, continue with the aubergine, and then with the ragù. Pour some béchamel on top and repeat the layers. Finish your vegan moussaka with a thick layer of your plant-based béchamel sauce. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until the top turns to golden brown. You can accessorise your meat free plant-based moussaka by sprinkling a handful of fresh parsley on top.

Busy with work and looking for easy mediterranean vegan dinner recipes?

Click below



Eleonora Jobst


Written by our guest writer and content editor


Vegan and Vegetarian Mediterranean Recipes for Winter II.

Greek winter recipes

Our ‘Vegan and Vegetarian Mediterranean Recipes for Winter’ Edition


II. – Spanakopita a.k.a. Greek Spinach Pie


We are continuing our healthy vegetarian recipes with a pie packed with nutritious spinach. If you have never tried this authentic Greek pie filled with fresh spinach and delicious feta cheese, you are definitively in for a treat! The spinach pie has a crispy texture due to the phyllo dough, while the savoury filling literally melts in your mouth.


It makes both a good hearty breakfast or a much-loved side dish on a family dinner.

Greek winter recipes



1 spring onion

2 cloves of crushed garlic

1 large yellow onion

500 g spinach

200 g feta cheese

2 eggs

6-8 sheets of phyllo pastry

100 g butter

a pinch of ground nutmeg

1.5 tbsps of fresh or 2.5 tbsps of ground drill

salt and pepper


  • Make sure to remove your phyllo from the freezer the previous day and place it to the fridge to have enough time to thaw completely
  • Preheat your oven to 200°C/392°F
  • First, prepare the filling of the pie
  • Put around 100 g of butter in the pan
  • Sauté the finely chopped onion and the garlic cloves until they turn golden
  • Add the roughly chopped spinach and continue until it becomes soft and pulpy
  • Once it’s ready set it aside
  • Add the feta cheese, two eggs, spring onion, nutmeg, and the dill to the mixture
  • Season it with salt and pepper
  • Take a 20-22 cm/ 7.8-8.6 inch non-stick baking pan
  • Place 3-4 phyllo sheets to form the bottom of the pie and spread some butter on the top
  • Add the spinach-feta filling and then cover it with another 3-4 phyllo sheets
  • You can either brush the top with extra butter or use the yolk of an egg in order to give the pie a crispy and shiny look
  • Bake it for 30-40 minutes
  • Before serving it, make sure the pie has cooled down in the pan otherwise it may break when you try to remove it. Enjoy!

Busy and looking for more healthy vegan and vegetarian Mediterranean recipe inspirations? We have collected some super easy, fast and healthy recipes below.


Eleonora Jobst


Written by our guest writer and content editor


Heartwarming Vegan Mediterranean Recipes for Winter

Greek winter recipes

Our ‘Vegan/Vegetarian Mediterranean Recipes for Winter’ Edition

I. – Traditional Greek Briam


Let’s start our ‘Heartwarming Vegan Mediterranean Recipes for Winter’ edition with a popular vegetable medley, the Mediterranean version of ratatouille. If you are looking for a simple but brilliant dish that requires no effort, this traditional Greek recipe is for you. Basically, you just have to toss together a couple of fresh veggies, and voilà dinner is served! Both healthy and vegan.


What more could you wish for a chill evening?

Vegan Mediterranean recipes - briam


½ kg potatoes

½ kg aubergine

½ kg ripe tomatoes

½ kg zucchini

1 large red onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 tsp chopped parsley

2 tsp dried oregano

2tsp dried rosemary

175 ml extra virgin olive oil

salt & freshly ground pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 220°C/425°F
  • In order to have enough space for all the delicious veggies, take a large baking pan (30*35cm) and layer it generously with olive oil
  • Slice the potatoes, aubergine, zucchini into 1cm cubes
  • Cut the tomatoes into thin slices (optionally, you can also peel the tomatoes, but it isn’t necessary)
  • Arrange all the veggies neatly in the pan by placing them evenly on top of each other
  • Between the layers, add the slices onions and the finely chopped garlic as well
  • Season well each layer with the chopped parsley, the rosemary, and the oregano
  • Don’t forget to sprinkle each added layer with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • Drizzle the veggies with the extra virgin olive oil
  • Cover the pan with aluminium foil and place it in the oven for 60-80 mins
  • Once it’s ready, you can serve it with pita bread, olives, and/or rice
  • Vegetarians can also take a hearty piece of feta cheese to accompany the Briam

Busy with work and looking for easy mediterranean vegan dinner recipes?


Eleonora Jobst


Written by our guest writer and content editor


The top 10 vegan friendly ice cream shops in Athens

Best vegan ice cream in Athens

Ice cream is a quintessential dessert to be enjoyed on a hot summer day walking around Athens. This ultimate comfort food both makes us happy and helps us to cool down in the heat. Why should you miss out on that? The good news is Greek ice cream parlours have long recognized that vegan food is not just a brisk passing trend. Hence, they are coming up with more and more options for vegans and lactose intolerant people. Gone are the days when you had to settle for a boring vanilla or a dull chocolate scoop.

Best vegan friendly ice cream shops in Athens, Greece

Prepare your taste buds for new exciting flavours as we set on a journey to try to the best vegan ice creams in the Greek capital!


  1. Cats & Monsters — It is safe to say that you’ve just arrived to Ice Cream Heaven once you step in Cats & Monsters

If opening an entirely vegan ice cream parlour was not genius enough, the bold enticing flavours will truly blow your mind! Carrot cake, caramelized cappuccino, watermelon with feta, mille-feuille, hazelnut rum – an endless list of delicious frosty adventurous! You can also find some traditional Greek flavours like mastiha rose or halva chocolate. There are always some seasonal surprises around the corner such as the spiced pumpkin with caramelized pumpkin seeds. So keep an eye on their ever-changing selection in order not to miss the new arrivals!

Patousa 4, Exarchia 106 77


  1. La Greche — This cute little gelato store at Syntagma will lure you in straight away with its mouth-watering selection of heavenly delights

Part of what makes them unique is that they use the finest ingredients imported from Italy. They offer sorbet flavors in all colors of the rainbow. Strawberry, lemon mint, chocolate, lemon-orange-grapefruit, pineapple or forest fruits? Take as many scoops as your vegan cone can handle! The store is also well-known for other – non-vegan – confections, including typical Italian desserts such as the Sicilian cannoli, the coffee-based affogato, and the festive panettone. Definitely not recommended for people on a diet, the temptation is real!

Mitropoleos 16, Syntagma 105 63


  1. Buffalo Gelato — A popular ice cream parlour franchise that operates in several different locations in Athens

Regardless of which part of the city you are visiting, you may just bump into one of their stores. Their amazing vegan flavours include pistachio, mango, nocciola, mocha and coconut. Despite the challenging times that all businesses have been facing lately, this place never compromises with the taste nor with the quality. Bufala Gelato also has extra-long opening hours (in regular times with no Covid measures they close at 2AM) therefore you can treat yourself to a delicious creamy scoop even during your night walk along the sea.

Maiou 22, Nea Smirni 171 21

Ifikratous 1, Chalandri 152 32

Artemidos 1, Glifada 166 74

Leof. Vasileos Pavlou 80, Voula 166 73

Orfeos 2, Vouliagmeni 166 71

Kassaveti 13, Athina 145 62


  1. Da Vinci — Either when you stroll around the historical neighbourhood of Plaka or when you have a shopping spree in Ermou street, popping by Da Vinci is always a good idea!

Even though they don’t offer a wide vegan selection, their central locations make them popular spots among the locals. Their fresh sorbet flavours will leave a sweet yet light taste on your palate. The texture also receives an A-plus! Why not to go a little crazy and take an extra-large portion of all the four flavours? Passion fruit, strawberry, lemon, and chocolate – one scoop just ain’t enough!

Adrianou 50, Monastiraki 105 55

Ermou 58-60, Monastiraki 105 63

Kassaveti 19, Kifisia 145 62


  1. Slim Bites — Wandering around Kolonaki  you will easily spot the dessert shop with its fairy tale décor

The confectionery offers healthy ice cream which is sweetened with stevia. Most of their vegan selection consists of sorbet; however, you can find chocolate and pistachio flavours as well. Even fitness freaks can allow themselves a refreshing scoop or two as the shop labels the calorific value of each product. Hence, there is need to worry about your next beach day. You can enjoy a tasty bowl of guilt-free delights while relaxing on their terrace. If you happen to be in the most popular seaside suburb, in Glyfada, you can also find a Slim Bites shop there.

Patriarchou Ioakim 37, Kolonaki 106 75

Artemidos 8, Glyfada 166 74


you might be interested:

8 genius vegan-friendly spots in downtown and northern Athens


  1. Full Spoon — This warm and cosy ice cream parlour is a must-visit attraction while walking along the city centre

It is situated near the Monastiraki Flea Market. Due to its location, Full Spoon is hard to miss and even harder to resist once you take a glance at those creamy mountains of ice cream. The staff is super friendly and will help you with any question you may have. Expect strong, intense flavours such as ginger, chocolate, forest fruits, and fig; all made from coconut milk. There are a good number of sorbet ice cream as well, like melon, lime, or limoncello. Toppings are mostly vegan too!

Ermou 123, Monastiraki 105 55


  1. Karavan This Mediterranean sweet shop has a whopping number or ten different vegan flavours!

The family-owned café always changes up its selection based on the season. For this reason, you can be sure that they use the freshest and ripest fruits to create their magnificent frozen delights. All ingredients are organic; there is absolutely no comparison with the store-bought ice cream! The owners are also advocates of sustainability and believe in a cruelty-free kitchen. Their traditional Greek kaimaki flavour is a must!

Geor. Kondili 13, Glyfada 166 75


  1. Arte Italiana — Italians are famous for their gelato, and Arte Italiana lives up to its name

This popular franchise is owned by an Italian manufacturer who always selects top quality ingredients to produce the most amazing taste and texture. There is a mind-blowing variety of twelve different vegan flavours which include: walnut, watermelon, cinnamon, chocolate-orange, bitter chocolate-sour cherry, hazelnut – just to name a few.

You can either opt for a fresh sorbet or some sugar-free creamy scoops. But why not to add some extra pleasure to your day and take a vegan waffle as well?

Best vegan ice cream in Athens
Delicious crispy waffle with ice cream in Arte Italiana

2as Maiou 24, Nea Smyrni 171 21


  1. Ice Queen Gelato — An ideal spot around the Acropolis if you want to cool down on a boiling afternoon

Portions are generous and each flavour strongly comes through. Nutella lovers get ready for a surprise! You can enjoy a delicious waffle and ice cream combo drizzled generously with rich hazelnut-choco spread. Take your pick: a creamy dark chocolate that melts in your mouth or something more exciting such as grape, pineapple, or espresso?

Makrigianni 9, Acropolis 117 42


  1. Caravel — Relax and enjoy the colourful life of Monastiraki area while indulging in a refreshing frozen delight!

Do you fancy something new that you hardly find in a regular ice cream shop? How do choco-orange-cinnamon and sesame bar flavours sound to you? Snickers and Ferrero Rocher fans are also in for a treat! Now you can try your favourite chocolate desserts in ice cream version! Another great news: vegan options are labelled low-calorie as well. For the classic experience, ask for the vegan cone! The portion sizes are big enough to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.

Ermou 78 and Athinas 2, Monastiraki 105 51



Eleonora Jobst


Written by our guest writer and content editor


Fava (Yellow Split Pea Puree) – The Mediterranean Superfood

Fava - yellow split peas. Mediterranean food.

This authentic Greek dish will be an absolute favorite of those who are already a fan of hummus or other veggie purees. Traditionally garnished with chopped onions and piquant green capers, fava offers a new exciting flavour.

Fava is a very popular dish in the traditional Greek taverns. In the old times it was considered the “food of the poor” in Greece for it is very cheap and easy to make.

But when it comes to the health benefits, fava is a super food.

Read the below and you will never look at fava as a second-rate food again.


Authentic Greek Fava - Mediterranean Food
Authentic Greek Fava with Capers

Fava – A golden delicacy from the island of Santorini

Interestingly enough these yellow beans are also linked to a controversial historical event. In 495BC, the well-known Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras was fleeing from an angry group of mobs. He had to escape through a field of fava beans. Despite teaching his followers, the Pythagoreans, to adhere to a primarily vegetarian diet, the mathematician himself despised the delicious yellow beans. When his enemies were just a few yards away, the wise man had to solve the most critical dilemma of his life: should he cross the field or face inevitable death? Ultimately, his fear of the plant led to his demise. A theory suggests that Pythagoras’s revulsion towards fava was triggered by the peculiar shape of the beans which resemble a human head.

On the other hand, along the history in Magna Graecia (which used to be a region in ancient Sicily) Greek settlers had a way more positive approach to fava beans. They actually considered it as a miraculous food that helped them to survive famine during extended periods of drought. On religious occasions, believers often carried fava beans to the church and also prepared several dishes using this plant as a main ingredient.

Not only they taste good, fava beans offer a wide range of health benefits as well.

They contain a significant amount of cholesterol-lowering fibers which avert fat molecules from invading the bloodstream. Regular consumption of beans also helps to regulate blood sugar level.

Fava beans prevent blood sugar to peak rapidly, thus they can be well recommended for diabetes patients.

Furthermore, beans constitute as a great source of complex dietary protein for individuals who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

According to a Harvard study, fava beans can contain 20-25% more protein than other alternatives such as rice or wheat. This golden legume also has a considerably lower glycemic index.

Crosby Dr., Guy. “Ask the Expert: Legumes and Resistant Starch.”

Despite the fact that fava is a rather filling dish, it has a low amount of carbohydrates –  ideal for people who aim to lose weight.

A lovely plate of freshly prepared lava topped with scallions and capers and accompanied with a slice of pita bread. We can’t imagine a more fulfilling and healthy choice after a long sightseeing day spent in the Hellenic capital.


Eleonora Jobst


Written by our guest writer and content editor


8 genius vegan-friendly spots in downtown and northern Athens

Best vegan places - Athens downtown

Vegan gyros, no sugar Mediterranean treats, local food inspired vegan/vegetarian dishes.

One could witness a tremendous increase in the number of vegan/vegetarian places in the Greek capital in the past couple of years.

We are sharing our favourite places around the center of Athens and in the northern suburbs.


Vegan Beat (V)

Located near the Monastiraki square, it is an easily accessible spot for tourists who crave some veganized local street food. Vegan Beat always attracts a large crowd therefore you might have to wait a couple of minutes to get a table. Their always friendly and cheerful stuff will instantly put a smile on your face. You definitely should not miss out on the Space Gyros stuffed with mushrooms, veggies and rich tzatziki sauce. In case you are looking for a lighter dish chose the Cretan Dakos salad with fresh tomatoes, olives, plant-based feta cheese and crunchy barley rusks. If you still have some space left in your belly for dessert, you can take a delicious banoffee slice or a Wicked lime pie. They also deserve extra credit for their conscious measures regarding sustainability since only filtered water is offered in the store to avoid plastic waste. Reasonable prices: 3,5€  for a gyros and 5€ for a salad.

Perikleous 56, Athina 105 60
Vegan place around Monastiraki - downtown Athens
Delicious Banoffee and Wicked lime pies
Vegan place around Monastiraki - downtown Athens
Juicy Space Gyros with mushrooms and vegan tzatziki – Credit: @swiss.vegan

Ohh Boy 

If you are looking for a hip bistro for brunch in Pagkrati area with a cool atmosphere and delicious pastries, you have just found the right spot. Ohh Boy is a top favorite gathering spot for Athenians who live in the neighborhood. Even though it is not a vegan place, they have an exceptionally large variety of meat and dairy-free choices. You can chose from superb salads, sandwiches, wraps and different kind of cakes. Either you pick the Black Bean burger with Greek eggplant salad and pickles or the beyond meat hotdog, you will definitely in for a treat! Two other popular choices include the handmade granola and the choco chia pudding. Our favourite savory dish is the tortilla with avocado, pesto, chickpeas and tahini. The mocha pie and the snickers bites are a must as well for people with a sweet tooth. For a full nourishing experience take a large cup of cappuccino with plant based milk. Almond, coconut, oat, pea, soya? You name it, they have it! Within minutes there will be delivered a delicious hot cup of coffee to your table by one of their friendly ever-smiling waiters.


Two pieces of tortilla cost 7,5€ and the prices of the cakes vary between 2,80 – 5,50€.

Tips from the editors:

If you go around noon, you may have to wait some time.

The bistro is also pet-friendly.

Amazingly, they also have an organic food store near the coffee shop, Ohh Boy “The Market” 


Happy Blender

Wandering on the streets of Monastiraki along the leather vendors and numerous other shops offering traditional handmade Greeks goods, this place stands out with its lively colorful look which instantly invites you to come in for a coffee and some small snacks. The owner and the stuff are very friendly; the place is a great example of the famous Greek hospitality. The interior radiates a happy vibe with its exotic patterns and bold colors. The comfy cushions and the cozy atmosphere helps you unwind and take a few breaths during your sightseeing tour. Happy Blender is also ideal for students or digital nomads who need a quiet place for working as the bistro is not too busy in the early hours of afternoon. In spite of being categorized as a juice and smoothie bar, they actually offer many different types of sweet and salty treats including AÇAI bowls, ice cream, veggie bowls and raw vegan bites. They have recently updated their menu by adding an entire ‘All Vegan’ section. You can opt for an avocado toast, veggie wraps, various salads or for a juicy burger made of beans and quinoa patty. The main vegan dishes cost between 6,90 – 9,90€ while you can get some yummy salty-caramel or chocolate-peanut butter bites for 3,50€ each.

Ifestou 39, Athina 105 55
Vegan place around Monastiraki - downtown Athens
Happy Blender – The Açaí Bowl Expert
Vegan place around Monastiraki - downtown Athens
Yummy Avocado Toast with Different Toppings

Veganaki (V)

Veganaki is close to two of the most famous historical attractions in the center of Athens: the Temple of Zeus and the Arch of the Roman emperor Hadrian. It is also less than half a mile away from the Acropolis. This plant-based restaurant offers veganised delicacies of the traditional Greek cuisine. There are many gluten free options as well. The staff is very attentive and eager to answer any of your questions regarding the ingredients. They are even ready to give you suggestions on where to purchase specific products in Athens if you want to prepare some vegan dish by yourself at home. They have really mastered to most iconic Greek dishes; even locals can agree that their moussaka, rich in flavor and cooked to perfection, is to die-for. Even in the case of the tzatziki, a classic dip which really stands or falls whether the right quality of yoghurt is used, Veganaki has created a perfect blend of creamy texture and fresh flavours of cucumber and mint. The maximum price for appetizers is 4€.  Main courses come in the range of 7 to 12€.

Athanasiou Diakou 38, Athina 117 43


Mama Tierra (V)

Stopping by to grab a lunch in Mama Tierra could be well incorporated into your daily sightseeing program when you are around the National Archaeological Museum. For tourists or expats who are not familiar with the neighborhood of Exarchia, the location of the restaurant may seem a bit chaotic at first and you indeed should be careful if you pass by in the late hours. On the other hand Mama Tierra is easily accessible by public transport. For the first glance, this vegan restaurant looks quite simple with minimum design; however, the quality of the food speaks for itself. They offer classic dishes in a veganised version such as burgers, tacos, burrito, paella, gyros or moussaka. Their mushroom burger which is served with sweet potato fries and BBQ sauce has been voted the ‘Best Vegan Burger in Town’ – an award by the Greek Vegan Magazine. Our tip for desert: do not miss out on the the chocolate mousse!. The restaurant has a good number of gluten free options as well for those who are sensitive to wheat products. You will definitely not leave this place hungry as each dish far exceeds the usual portion sizes. The price range of the dishes is between 5 and 10€. A rather inexpensive option compared to other vegan restaurants.

Akadimias 84, Athina 106 78


Cookoomela Grill (V)

Ten-minute walk from Omonia, this place is located in a very dense yet increasingly trendy spot of downtown Athens. Cookoomela is the first souvlaki place ever opened in Athens. Depending of the season, you may find a salad or some desserts; however, the menu is mainly focused on traditional Greek street food. Apart from the kebab, the main ingredient of the dishes is the mushroom which gives a nice and crunchy texture to the gyros. The dishes are named after colors based on which sauce each contains; mustard, tomato, mixed herb or BBQ. Fast service, pleasant atmosphere, inexpensive options. Each pita gyros costs 3,30€. Cookoomela is a great spot if you plan a night out and you want to fuel up with some juicy street food.

Vegan gyros, vegan street food - downtown Athens

Themistokleous 43-45, Athina 106 83



In case you are into ethnic Lebanese flavors, look no further! Despite it is located in a northern suburb in Cholargos, once you take the first bite it will make you feel as if you travelled to some place in the Middle East. The restaurant has a vibrant art deco interior with a warm charm, which makes it an ideal first date spot as well. Arabic cuisine is widely known for its plentiful vegan and vegetarian options such as hummus, falafel, pita (disclaimer: be aware though that some Arabic pita may contain dairy) and various colorful salads. Our fav dish: the eggplant salad, which comes with a deliciously rich tomato sauce, and the crispy falafel. The hummus is right on spot as well with its mellow garlic and fresh lemon flavors. You can have a nice flavorful tabbouleh or fattoush salad for 8€, while main courses come between 10 and 15€.

Leof. Kifisias 226, Chalandri 152 31


Avocado (VG)

A few steps away from Syntagma square, Avocado is a place which you just can’t miss during your Athens tour. Either when you go to visit the Acropolis or during a walk along the pedestrian shopping street of Ermou, Avocado is the right spot to take a small break and grab some delicious meal. Apart from serving wholesome vegan and vegetarian dishes in their restaurant, Avocado is also an advocate for the humane and cruelty-free way of living. Trip Advisor voted  this place the top vegetarian restaurant and it surely lives up for its good reputation. The hungry visitor will face a difficult decision upon looking at the various mouth-watering dishes in the menu. People who are fond of Mexican flavors can’t go wrong with the Black Bean Caponata Wrap –  a slightly spicy tortilla that is filled with rice, beans, Kalamata olives and avocado. The dish is accompanied with a lusciously creamy home-made guacamole sauce. Another authentic ethnic dish is the Om Shanti which consists of mixed vegetables and cashew nuts in yellow curry sauce over Basmati rice; mildly piquant. The costs of main dishes range between 10 and 15€.

Nikis 30, Athina 105 57

V – vegan VG – vegetarian


Eleonora Jobst


Written by our guest writer and content editor


Easy Vegan Mediterranean dinner ideas for busy weekdays

Best vegan Greek dishes - Vegan and vegetarian Mediterranean diet

The easiest vegan Mediterranean recipes from Greece, you can prepare in 30 minutes!

Enjoy healthy meals that won’t take a great deal of time to prepare.

Recently the U.S. News & World Report ranked the Mediterranean diet No. 1 out of 35 different diets in 2020. In fact, Mediterranean diet ranked first among the top diets second year in a row. Although there are some Greek recipes, which are bit more complicated, but generally the Greek cuisine prefers simple, easy to prepare dishes. This simplicity and healthiness makes the Mediterranean diet the perfect diet for busy people.


Apart from being mainly vegetarian (or vegan), here are some other benefits of the Mediterranean diet, based on our own experience in Greece:

  • No deep frying: vegetables, fish, meat, cheese are grilled, not fried. Don’t get me wrong: you will find French fries, chips and grilled calamari. But these are offered mostly on touristy places.
  • No canned food: due to the climate (how lucky), most ingredients can be found fresh. Tomatoes, cucumber, onions. All year around.
  • Homemade bread. Greeks know their grains. Bread are made of all kind of nutritious grains, like oats and Zea.
  • Enjoying food and social drinking together. This I find an important part of healthy eating. Greeks always order food to share in the middle of the table. Always! So don’t be surprised when the orders arrive to the table and everyone will grab a bite from each of the plates.
  • No thick salad dressings. Greek salad dressings are made of olive oil and vinegar (Balsamic, red wine, white wine). And they still taste amazing. No mayo and other greasy stuff.

Below are our favorite, go-to Greek recipes, when it comes to preparing my weekday dinners.

Fava – Greek split peas dip

A ridiculously simple and tasty Mediterranean food. It is easy to prepare, and also you can get creative about what to serve it with.

Greek fava with caramelized onions
Greek fava with caramelized onions – Source: Lazy Cat Kitchen

Greek fava is something like hummus, however made of yellow split peas, not chickpeas.

It is a spread that you can put on bread, sourdough, toast. However, my favorite is to eat it with freshly cut carrots, California peppers and cucumbers.

The best thing is that you can keep it in the fridge for few days – it just gets more delicious.

It is quite common in Greece that they serve fava with grilled octopus (for those who are not vegetarian).

When I was searching for recipes of fava to share here, I was looking for one extra thing in those recipes: the caramelized onions. In fact, not many recipes mention this, because traditionally only fresh onions were part of this dip.  I prefer caramelized onions though – it makes a grand combination with the Greek fava.

Fava is our ultimate favorite for its health benefits also. Read our post on the health benefits of this golden legume. Sneak-peak: fava is a super food!

Here is the perfect fava recipe from Lazycatkitchen.

Only one important addition, which the recipe doesn’t mention: best to soak the slip peas for a night in water, so they soften easier and cook faster.

Mavromatika – Greek black-eyed peas salad

We can’t hide our love for legumes. They are great for vegetarians and vegans, because of the vitamins and the plant protein.

The traditional Mediterranean black-eyed peas salad didn’t have many ingredients, but nowadays you can experiment with different ingredients.

Our favorite ingredients for this vegan Greek dinner include grilled paprika, avocado and onions. Avocado at least was not part of the traditional recipe, but it makes this salad even more delicious and filling.

We found a nice recipe, which infuses all kinds of veggies and herbs, on the Greekfoodie website.

Black-eyed-peas salad. The Greekfoodie

Again, this is a great dinner for the busy professionals: make more and you can keep it in the fridge for long time. The flavours will mend even nicer together with time.

Gemista- Stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers

Another vegan traditional Greek food, with which you can get creative while making. Gemista is a dish with tomatoes and peppers (sometime zucchini), filled with rice, chopped vegetables, and baked in a tomato-based sauce.  Most recipes mention sugar in the sauce, however I never put sugar and it still taste heavenly.

This recipe is a bit more time consuming than the above ones. The recipes I found mention preparation time between 30 and 45 minutes. This depends on what you put in the filling and of course how skilled you are with cutting. As always, I like to be fast and effective. The base of the filling is the rice. My favorite other filling ingredients include chopped zucchini, pine nuts and some raisins. Yes, believe it or not raisins are also part of the traditional recipe, and somehow, they are great addition to the savory taste. Your choice.

Follow this link for an easy-to-understand and hassle-free Gemista recipe from Mygreekodyssey.

Note that cooking time will be around 1 hour, because the rice must soften. But the preparation is so easy, and surely you will be satisfied with the result.

Looking for other Greek vegan or vegetarian dishes? Check out here: Vegan or vegetarian Greek dishes – The Greekcompass

Easy, healthy food, and meal preparation are important to ease the everyday stress. These favorite Mediterranean recipes will lighten up your weekday dinners after a busy day.

Traditional Greek Briam

Vegan Mediterranean Recipes

Briam is the Mediterranean version of ratatouille. If you are looking for a simple but brilliant dish that requires no effort, this traditional Greek recipe is for you. Basically, you just have to toss together a couple of fresh veggies, and voilà dinner is served! Both healthy and vegan.

Here is the recipe from us to you with love:

Vegan or vegetarian Greek dishes

Vegan or vegetarian Mediterranean dishes and where to try them in Athens

Everyone we know falls in love with the magical Greek cuisine: fresh ingredients, unique taste and many healthy choices.  Few knows that the original Greek diet was mainly vegan/vegetarian. (Who would think this seeing the souvalki places in every corner?)

We collected some must-try Greek vegan or vegetarian dishes.

  • Gemista: paprika, tomatoes or sometimes zucchini stuffed with rice, pine nuts and raisins (ingredients can differ slightly). Cooked in the oven to melt together.
  • Greek black-eyed peas salad: recipes vary, but usually contains tomatoes, onions and grilled paprika. With vinegar and olive dressing. Heavenly and full of vitamins and plant base protein.
  • Fasolia: green beans (and usually potatoes) braised in a tomato sauce and different spices. A simple dish full of flavour.
  • Fava: split pureed yellow beans – usually served with onions and oil. Filling dish especially if you eat with fresh sour dough.
  • Dolmades: well known across the Mediterranean. Wine leaves stuffed with rice and seasoned with dill and lemons.
    Vegan Greek food. Best vegan dishes from Greece.
    Photo source: Canva.
  • Tzatziki : heavenly creamy Greek yoghurt with graded cucumber. Best refreshing food during hot summer days (you can eat it together with the dolmades). Beware it can contain a large amount of garlic though. Many places offer a version without garlic (only cucumber). It is the simplicity that makes this food perfect.
  • Grilled Haloumi: Halloumi or haloumi is a semi-hard, unripen, brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk. Originated from Cyprus, but it is a big part of the Greek cuisine as well. It has a high melting point – so ideal for grilling.
  • Greek salad, horiatiki. The name in Greek is horiatiki. It gained its international name as Greek salad- as it’s unique for Greece and can’t be 100% perfect without the original Greek feta.
  • Briam: another type of casserole dish. Sliced eggplants baked with tomatoes, onions and sometimes cheese. Seasoned with fresh parsley.
  • Dakos or Cretan salad: a must try dish originated from Crete. It contains dried bread or rusk topped with diced tomatoes and whiote cheese (feta or other white cheese from the great Greek cheese varieties).

You want to know the best places around Athens riviera coast to try those plant based Mediterranean dishes?

Of course you do and of  course we have bring those places to you.

Grilled haloumi with caramelized onions: try it in Ark Glyfada. Enjoy all day fantastic menu in Ark- together with the best by the sea place and view in Glyfada.

Fava, black eyed peas and a large variety of starters : go to Sardellaki in Glyfada or Vouliagmeni. Sardellaki is well-known a fish taverna (traditional Greek eatery), and it’s very popular among Athenians. They will bring small starter plates – including vegetarian options –  on large wooden trays to your table.  Simply impossible to resist.

(Note above places are not pure vegan or vegetarian. They have vegetarian or vegan options in their menu).

We will keep on adding more places to go and try the famous traditional Greek dishes

Read also our guide to the best vegan/vegetarian restaurants on the south coast.