Best Greek cookbooks for delicious traditional recipes

·7-min read
 (Evening Standard)
(Evening Standard)

Greece is the full package. There’s peaceful beaches with crystal clear sea, buzzing local towns filled with historical ruins, and of course, an abundance of fresh and flavoursome food.

Thanks to its geographical location, Greek food is an amalgamation of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences meaning you won’t get a mix of spices, herbs and flavour like this anywhere else in the world.

If you’re looking to recreate those delicious dishes you tucked into on your last holiday at home, then you’ll need these cookbooks handy. Each one features heaps of recipes for every occasion and palette - there’s mouth-watering fresh fish, meaty stews and simple street-food such as gyros.

As well as scrumptious main dishes, there are plenty of sharing platters that, once mastered, will transform your next dinner party. As a country famed for its delicious mezze - a selection of small dishes including olives, cheeses and dips served as appetisers - these cookbooks will teach you not only the art of cooking, but also hosting.

When it comes to cooking these recipes, good seasonal ingredients are a must - we recommend a flavoursome extra virgin olive oil, plenty of herbs and spices (you can use premixed ones from the likes of Just Spices) and, if you’re pressed for time, trying out one of The Cookaway’s Greek food boxes that will deliver all the fresh ingredients you need right to your front door.

Shop below our top recommended Greek cookbooks for a mixture of traditional, unique and wonderful recipes that will be sure to get your taste buds tingling.

Greece: The Cookbook

For those after a comprehensive guide of Greek food, look no further than Greece: The Cookbook. Packed with over 600 recipes written by none other than chef aficionado, Vefa Alexiadou, there’s everything from simple breakfast breads and dips such as Tzatziki to extravagant meals packed with seasonal produce like the Chicken with Pickled Lemon and Stuffed Zucchini.

There’s also plenty of information on regional specialities and the significance of certain dishes - after all, food is irrevocably linked with culture and history. With 230 photographs, every dish looks as appetising as the next, and the only problem you’ll encounter is deciding which recipe to try next (we recommend the Shrimp Casserole with Vegetables).

Buy now £30.15, Amazon

Taverna: recipes from a Cypriot Kitchen

Prepare to be transported to the heart of a Greek Cypriot kitchen in this bestseller that offers a wealth of traditional recipes all modernised and transformed so they are simple to recreate in a Western home. Every recipe is easy to follow, has accessible ingredients and caters for all dietary requirements – the substitute information is a handy way to easily make a dish vegetarian or vegan.

For an entirely Greek food day, start off with one of the egg-based recipes for a leisurely breakfast (our favourite is the Sweet Tomato Scrambled Eggs), followed by a mezze lunch that features either Fennel Stuffed Flatbreads or Halloumi and Apricot Jam Sandwiches. Dinner options are endless; take time browsing the main meal recipes and admiring the beautiful photography and illustrations as you go along.

Buy now £19.15, Amazon

Aegean: Recipes from the Mountains to the Sea

It’s the fresh produce, variety of foods and high quality ingredients that makes the Mediterranean diet one of the healthiest out there. Renowned chef, Marianna Leivaditaki has compiled flavour-forward recipes from the sea, land and mountains with a focus on seasonal produce and delicious dishes that are perfect for sharing and enjoying with company.

Fish lovers will delight in the Fried Anchovies and Potatoes and the Whole Charcoal-grilled Fish with Lemon, whilst meat lovers will thoroughly enjoy cooking a Roasted Lamb Breast with Spicy Feta Sauce for an original take on a Sunday lunch. The desserts are also not to be missed - the Crispy Filo Custard and Cretan Mangoes is the epitome of summer and slightly too easy to eat. Scattered amongst the delicious recipes and words of wisdom that she picked up on her journey, you’ll find wonderful anecdotes of her childhood in Crete helping out in her family’s taverna.

Buy now £17.65, Amazon

Under the Olive Tree: Recipes from my Greek Kitchen

2019’s MasterChef champion, Irini Tzortzoglu perfectly captures Greek gastronomy with 80 accessible recipes that produce colourful and flavoursome dishes. There are quick meals such as sun-kissed salads - the Aubergine topped with Bulgur, Sultanas, Sundried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts is heavenly - as well as dishes fit for a feast such as the Moussaka and Chickpea Cumin Fritters that are perfect for dinner parties and special occasions.

Every recipe features a classic combination of flavours whilst also incorporating a modern twist that adds that extra bit of deliciousness; for example the Sweetcorn Puree perfectly elevates the divine Braised Octopus in Red Wine.

Buy now £16.99, Amazon

MAZI: Modern Greek Food

Meaning together in Greek, Mazi is a revolutionary cookbook that provides an alternative and modern side to this traditional cuisine. With mezze food at its core, each dish is designed to form part of a tapas meal and is perfect for sharing. Using authentic flavours and simple techniques, these recipes are deceptively quick and great for using up store cupboard ingredients.

We’ve made so many of these recipes but our absolute must-try recommendations are the Crispy Lamb Belly and Courgette Fritters. For a Greek dessert, the Honey Doughnuts are really special. The beautiful tablescape imagery will guide you through flavour combination pairings and provide endless inspiration for creating an aesthetically pleasing mezze. Gather your friends and family and prepare them for a feast like no other.

Buy now £25.00, Amazon

Very Hungry Greek

Craving hearty and comforting food that doesn’t also come with a calorie overload? Very Hungry Greek features 100 recipes that are soul-satisfying, take only 30 minutes to cook and are all under 500 calories. Inspired by Greek food, the dishes come from all around the world - there’s Chlli Beef, the perfect Chinese fakeaway, an Italian Meatball Marinara Sub a hearty Chicken Gyros stuffed with yogurt, vegetables and chips.

If this doesn’t get the taste buds tingling, then the exquisite photography will as each dish is incredibly appetising. So, ditch the takeaways as these family-friendly dishes are guaranteed to be more flavoursome and cost a fraction of the price.

Buy now £15.45, Amazon

The Greek Slow Cooker

Dust off your slow cooker and try your hand at any of these 75 delicious meals that are healthy, flavoursome and comforting. Straight out of Eleni Vonissakou’s kitchen in Athens, these straightforward recipes require only a few ingredients and a couple of minutes prep.

Put your feet up and have a cup of tea as your slow cooker does all the work - in barely no time at all you can have the likes of a Greek Summer Ratatouille, White Wine Chicken with Orzo and Cumin Spiced Meatballs in Rich Tomato Sauce ready for dinner. There are also recipes on how to use your slow cooker to bake cakes such as a Greek Sticky Walnut Cake that’s a definite crowd pleaser.

Buy now £16.99, Amazon

Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island

Known for the long life expectancy of its inhabitants, Ikaria is a Greek island like no other. Now, Diane Kochilas is ready to spill the secrets of this wonderful place as she provides mouth-wateringly good recipes alongside interviews with the likes of a 101-year-old weaver and words of wisdom on how to live a fulfilled life.

The recipes are hearty dishes that are native to the island and have been passed down through generations. There are sections on raw and cooked salads, savoury pies and comforting soups that are ideal for those slightly chillier day. Every recipe comes with an explanation on its importance as well as tips and tricks to simplify the kitchen process.

Buy now £20.99, Amazon