What Foods did Ancient Greeks Eat?

Nov 30, 2018

Greek food is not just for people in the Mediterranean, it is hugely popular throughout the world. Obviously, there have been a lot of changes throughout history, especially when it comes to food recipes. So, you might wonder what did the Ancient Greeks eat, long before modern cooking and international ingredients were readily available?

Ancient Greeks ate a consistently healthy diet, mostly made up of available ingredients. So, If you want to go really old school, here are some ancient Greek foods you can easily incorporate into your diet.

1. Veggies

Lots and lots of fresh vegetables, both homegrown and purchased from neighborhood markets, were part of the Ancient Greek diet, with lentils and chickpeas as some of the most common choices. If you want to give them a modern Greek twist, try this for your next quick lunch.

While cooking lentils in a pot of salted water, add fresh chopped garlic, course onion, a bay leaf, and a generous splash of quality olive oil. This is a hearty and healthy meal.

2. Fruits

Another ancient Greek food was fruit, and it is still popular among Greeks, with the most common being figs, apples, and pears. How about incorporating these delicious fruits into a healthy greek breakfast or mid-afternoon snack?

Try drizzling figs (pears and apples also work well) with a bit of honey? Fruit is great served in this simple Greek style, or for added nutrition, flavor, and substance, place the mixture into a bowl of quality Greek yogurt, and indulge yourself on an entirely new level.

3. Olives and Olive Oil

Olives and olive oil have always been a Greek essential. But olive oil isn’t just for cooking, It’s also used for flavor.

Why not drizzle olive oil over Greek cheese and serve it as a snack? Or how about placing a tad amount on a quality bread, as a light, but flavorful, breakfast?

4. Honey

Honey has always had its place in Greek culture. Healthy, and a natural sweetener, it is used for more than desserts.

Try drizzling quality honey over Greek yogurt and sliced almonds, it will put you in touch with your Ancient Greek counterparts.

5. Less Meat; More Fish and Seafood

Availability mattered to the ancient Greeks, as well as practicality. Fish and seafood have always been plentiful in the Mediterranean. In addition, eating from the sea rather than raising livestock saved precious grain. Here’s a simple Greek seafood dish that’s always a crowd pleaser.

Yogurt with Honey and Fresh Fruit
Sauté shrimp in olive oil, add chopped garlic, coarse salt, a generous portion of halved cherry tomatoes, and then finish with a splash of white wine. After removing from the heat, try tossing in some feta cheese for a flavorful twist. This can be eaten as a stand-alone, or over a steaming bed of orzo.

6. Bread

Even in ancient times, Greeks loved their bread. And there were over 50 varieties, mostly made with barley. Long before sandwiches were a thing, Greeks were dunking dry bread into wine.

If you want to eat like an Ancient Greek, this idea is as simple as can be: for a delicious breakfast or snack item, grab a crusty loaf of bread, a glass of red wine and dunk away. Shear ancient, and modern, Greek pleasure!

7. Wine

In ancient times, the wine was frequently diluted with water. Whether it was sipped on its own, used to dunk bread, or incorporated into a meal, wine is a consistent Greek staple.

For a simple dessert with wine, take fresh fruit (berries are best) sweeten with a drizzle of honey, and give them a liberal pour over of wine. And what’s left at the bottom of the bowl is always worthy of drinking. Enjoy!
For the classic, authentic Greek foods, found at the convenience of your local grocery store, check out Lemon and Vine’s product list and neighborhood availability on our website.

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