Ancient Greek Recipes: Greek food is a wonderful mix of oriental and European dishes, cooked using different methods, from frying to broiling to boiling. Much of Greek food is seasonal and a lot of it is prepared during different times of the year, mainly around dates of religious events, such as Easter, Christmas, or New Year. Ancient Greeks also used the terms ‘gastronomy’ and ‘law’ which in effect means the ‘laws of the stomach.’ This term was first coined by Archestratos, a famous Syracusan poet and philosopher of the fourth century BCE who is thus regarded as the father of ‘gastronomy.’ He was the first to submit a cookbook in the world and it was he who studied appetite and taste. He was also the first to recognize cooking as an art and his poem “Idypathy” or “Life of Luxury” reveals the secrets of Ancient Greek cuisine and recipes.

Breakfast for the Ancient Greeks

For the Ancient Greek people, breakfast never consisted of any heavy meal. It was a light meal that typically consisted of bread or even porridge. Lunch was heavier, usually consisting of fish, cheese, legumes, and fruits. Most of them had a pretty common breakfast, bread dipped in wine. Their bread was made from barley which was the chief source of bread in ancient times. Hard to chew, the bread once dipped in wine would soften up and make it easier for the people to chew and eat.

Ancient Greek Main Courses

Greeks used olives in their Ancient Greek Recipes, the main source of fat instead of meat from an animal because they thought it was an unhealthy way of getting fat since the barbarians (non-Greeks) ate that way. In actuality, the barbarians ate meat and their products such as milk and cheese because they were nomadic and had no way of growing an olive tree or preparing olives if they saw any.


The importance of a well – prepared meal was belittled. People were at first well fed and after their body was fulfilled with exciting flavors, came wine drinking and serious conversations.

During the second phase of symposiums i.e. the Epidorpion phase, several kinds of pies, sweets, dried fruits, nuts, the cheese was offered along with wine, always mixed with water. The host was responsible that his guests get drunk very soon.

Ancient Greek Recipes

The foods of Ancient Greece were varied, with a concentration on vegetables, legumes, fruits, and fish – although meat was also eaten. Meat was roasted on spits, cooked in ovens, and boiled, while fish was often cooked with cheese. Now, coming to certain famous Ancient Greek recipes.

Five Popular and Easy to Make Ancient Greek Recipes


For preparing lentil soup, following the Ancient Greek model, the ingredients required are 1 cup dry lentils, 2 small leeks sliced, 1.5 tea spoon full dry mint, olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh ground black pepper, and 1 bunch cilantro (fresh coriander).

The cup of dry lentils have to be boiled in low heat with sufficient water to have them covered and above 1 inch. Next, the sliced leeks and cilantro have to be added. Next, the dry mint, the black pepper, and the cilantro have to be mixed in a small bowl and added to the soup. Finally, it has to be left for simmer till the lentils become soft and vinegar and olive oil are to be added for taste. This recipe is quite similar to the modern day Greek style lentil soup made with onion, garlic, and tomato.


For preparing pancakes with honey and sesame seeds, following the Ancient Greek model, the ingredients required are 1 cup of water, olive oil, 2 table spoon full honey, 1 table spoon full sesame seeds, and 1 cup flour.

The batter has to be made by mixing the flour, water and 1 table spoon full honey. One fourth of the batter has to be added to a pan, after the pan has been heated with some olive oil. After the thickening of the mixture, it has to be turned twice or thrice till it becomes golden brown on both sides. The rest of the batter will yield 3 more pancakes. Before serving, some sesame seeds should be sprinkled with honey. This recipe is quite similar to the present day “Loukoumades”, a Greek doughnut fried in olive oil and drenched in honey.


For preparing nut cakes, following the Ancient Greek style, the ingredients required are 1 cup hazelnuts, 1 cup shelled almonds, 1 table spoon full bitter almonds, 2 table spoon full poppy seeds, 7 table spoon full honey, 1.5 cup sesame seeds, olive oil, and 1 tea spoon full fresh ground pepper.

The oven has to be preheated at 350 F. All the nuts, barring the sesame seeds, have to be baked for a few minutes in the oven. Same has to be done for the sesame seeds and then letting them cool down. 3 table spoon full honey has to simmer in a small pot for about 7 minutes and then after adding the sesame seeds, it has to be profusely mixed. After cooling down, it has to be poured in an oily surface and made into a ball. Next, it has to be separated into 2 pieces, 1 piece rolled out with a rolling pin into a thin sheet that will fit in a shallow pan. The sheet has to be placed in the bottom of the pan. All the nuts and the pepper have to be blended well for 1 to 2 minutes, preferably in a blender. The rest of the honey have to be boiled for 7 minutes and then the entire nuts have to be added and mixed well. As the pan remains hot, the nut and honey mixture have to be poured on top of the sesame layer. The entire mixture should be spread evenly. The other piece of sesame seed dough have to be rolled into a sheet, covering the nut mixture. After leaving it for cooling off (for at least 1 hour), it has to be cut into small pieces. This recipe is quite similar to the modern day “Pasteli”, a honey-sesame bar.


For preparing cabbage, in the Athenian style, the ingredients required are 1 small white cabbage, 2 headed tea spoon full chopped fresh green coriander in oil, 2 tea spoon full chopped dried rue, salt, and 2 pinches asafoetida powder. For making the honey vinegar, 120g of honey and 2 table spoon full red wine vinegar is also required.

After making the honey vinegar, the honey has to be boiled and skimed. The vinegar has to be poured and reduced a little. The rest needs to be stored unless needed. The cabbage has to be finely sliced, washed and drained. It has to be tossed with the herbs and 3 table spoon full of honey vinegar. Before serving, sprinkling of the asafoetida powder and a little salt is must.


For preparing honey glazed prawns, the ingredients required are 225g large raw peeled prawns, 2 table spoon full fish sauce, 1 table spoon full olive oil, 1 table spoon full clear honey, 2 table spoon full chopped fresh oregano, and black pepper.

If frozen prawns are used, they first need to be well drained and defrosted. Before adding the prawns, the saucepan has to be placed with oil, fish sauce and honey. They have to be sauted gently in the sauce for 2 to 3 minutes till they tender. A perforated spoon has to be used for removing and keeping warm. The sauce should be continued to cook till reduced by half. Next the chopped oregano has to be added and the sauce poured over the shrimps. Freshly ground black pepper has to be sprinkled. It is best served as a first course with a crusty loaf of bread and a simple salad.

pancakes from ancient Greece

Flavors and Ingredients used in Greek Food

The basic flavors and ingredients of the Ancient Greek cuisine were: honey, vinegar, Carlos (a sauce based on salted fish), and many herbs and spices. Greeks were interested in combining sweet and sour flavors in very interesting seasonings. Fish was eaten a lot as well as oysters, mussels, lobsters, poultry, pig, lamb, birds, ducks, cheese, olives, onions, lentils, peas and other materials.


Drink of Ancient Greek Peoples

The wine was watered down and sometimes garlic was added. The technique to make the very thin phyllo dough had been discovered sometime around the fourth century BCE., so it’s likely that sweets like baklava were also eaten – but no sugar! Honey was the traditional sweetener, as were figs and products made from naturally sweet grapes. Coriander, cumin, oregano, dill, parsley, mint, pinecone and poppy seeds, fennel and aniseed are among the most famous herbs.

Most of them are accessible even now. Others are difficult to find, such as a silo, logistics etc. Sweets were also very much loved. It is important to mention that Greeks were not the first to have used herbs and spices in cooking but they were definitely the first to develop food production into a form of art.