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A Greek Feast for Body and Soul

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A Greek chef brings her culinary traditions to the table in a bountiful meal.

To me, Greek cuisine is one of the very best cuisines in the world. I say this, of course, because I’m Greek, but also because this food truly celebrates local, sustainable, seasonal ingredients. In America, this is a fairly new approach to food, but in Greece, it’s old news. We’ve always eaten this way. Greek food is inherently healthy, featuring plenty of plant-based dishes. And the simple way that Greek cooks prepare ingredients allows their natural, vibrant flavors to shine.

Meals in Greece are meant to nourish the body as much as the soul. The table is a place of abundance and conviviality; families gather around the table to eat, talk, and linger for hours. The mood is celebratory, and the spread is varied. There’s something delicious for everyone.

In my own cooking, I honor traditional recipes passed down from grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on, all the way back to the ancient Greeks. I also incorporate what I’ve learned in my nutritional studies, making little tweaks here and there so that every dish I create is as healthful as possible.

I don’t believe that it takes a lot of effort to eat well and healthfully, even on a budget. The menu I share here embodies the spirit of Greek cooking: It’s all about creating authentically simple, tasty, and wholesome dishes meant for savoring with family and friends. Kali orexi!

Menu Timeline

4 Days Ahead

  • Make the yogurt.

3 Days Ahead

  • Strain the yogurt if making the Greek version.
  • Make the bottom layer and filling for the Moussaka Nistisimo. Store each separately in airtight containers in
    the refrigerator.

2 Days Ahead

  • Make the Dolmades Kasiotiki. Store covered and refrigerated.
  • Make the Kounoupidi. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

1 Day Ahead

  • Make the Tzatziki.
  • Assemble the Moussaka Nistisimo. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Make the lentils for the Fakosalata. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

2 to 2½  Hours Ahead

  • Assemble the Fakosalata.

2 Hours Ahead

  • Bake the Moussaka Nistisimo, then tent with foil.

1 to 1½ Hours Ahead

  • Bring the Dolmades Kasiotiki to room temperature. Rewarm in the microwave (about 30 seconds) or in a 200°F oven for 5 minutes just before serving, if you like.

30 Minutes Ahead

  • Grill the Souvlaki. Tent lightly with foil.
  • Rewarm the Kounoupidi over low heat. Leave on the stovetop, lid ajar.

Just Before Dessert

  • Assemble the Fresh Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries.

The Menu

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