a spread of vegan greek dishes like fava, beets, grape leaves, and tomato fritters on a table

Greek Vegan Food: Traditional Dishes Without Animal Products

For vegans traveling to Greece, you can breathe a sigh of relief—you’re not going to starve! While it’s nice to visit and support vegan and vegetarian restaurants while traveling, that’s not always possible in certain parts of the world, and I don’t know about you, but I want to try traditional dishes, too!

Well, in Greece, you can!

From small rural towns to the bustling Acropolis, you can rest easy knowing that just about any Greek taverna you wander into will have at least a couple of vegan options—Greek food is surprisingly vegan-friendly. I say surprisingly because I assumed Greek food was all feta cheese and meat before I visited. Luckily, there’s way more to it.

No matter where you travel in the country, look for some of these traditional vegan dishes.

Good Things to Know About Vegan Greek Cuisine

  • Most dishes are cooked in olive oil, like copious amounts of it! It’s uncommon to find dishes like potatoes or veggies cooked in butter. If you’re ever concerned, just ask.
  • Veganism might not be understood depending on where you are in the country. There were quite a few times when I asked what was vegan and they pointed out the vegetarian option. It’s best to say no milk, cheese, meat, etc.
  • In addition to the following dishes, other traditional favorites like Greek salad can easily be made vegan by asking for no feta.
  • Many places might have veganized options for traditional dishes like moussaka, tzatziki, gyros, pastitsio, and more.
a giant slice of greek vegan pastitsio on a black plate with a green garnish
Veganized pastitsio

Traditional Vegan Greek Dishes to Try

#1 Giant Beans (Gigantes Plaki)

This was my favorite Greek dish. I loved it so much that I bought a bag of giant beans at the supermarket and brought them home. Sadly, my giant beans weren’t as tasty as the ones in Greece! This dish is made using large white beans called “Gigantes” or “elephant beans.” The giant beans are cooked in a rich tomato sauce with onions, garlic, herbs, olive oil, and sometimes other vegetables like carrots are added. The beans are usually baked in the oven, not on the stovetop.

two bowls of vegan giant greek white beans in a tomato sauce next to a greek salad without feta cheese in greece

#2 Stuffed Tomatoes (Gemista)

I was skeptical when I first saw this dish; I thought for sure they had also stuffed meat in there, but my local guide reassured me it was totally safe (one of the many reasons to include locals in your itinerary). It’s a simple and tasty dish where tomatoes and sometimes peppers are stuffed with rice, onions, garlic, herbs (such as parsley and dill), sometimes pine nuts or raisins for added texture and sweetness, and then served with a tomato-based sauce. If you’re really hungry, you’ll also want to order something in addition to this.

a stuffed greek tomato with roasted veggies in a tomato sauce on a white plate next to an iced coffee

#3 Tomato Fritters (Tomatokeftedes)

I was amazed that these weren’t made with eggs! It’s also not uncommon to find other veggie versions of these. Greek Tomatokeftedes originate from Santorini and are made using ripe tomatoes that are grated and mixed with finely chopped onions, fresh herbs like mint and parsley, flour, and sometimes breadcrumbs to bind the mixture together. The mixture is seasoned with salt, pepper, and often spices like cumin or cinnamon for extra flavor and then deep-fried until golden and crispy on the outside. Sadly, they aren’t gluten-free, so I couldn’t try them.

#4 Fried Potatoes

I almost titled this POTATOES! You will find a variety of variations of potatoes in Greece — French fry style, fried, baked, etc. They are all delicious! All potato dishes are fried (or baked) in olive oil and seasoned with various herbs. I loved all the potatoes I tried, but I especially loved the Greek lemon potatoes — I still need to try and recreate these at home.

#5 White Bean Soup (Fasolada)

I didn’t find this dish on any of the islands, but I saw it on many menus throughout the mainland. It’s delicious and filling and goes really well with any potato dish. The soup is simple: white beans, tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, and various herbs. It’s often considered the national dish of Greece!

a large bowl of bright orange white bean soup next to a small dish with roasted eggplant

#6 Grape Leaves (Dolmades)

Grape leaves are an excellent vegan go-to dish! I didn’t find any meat versions anywhere I visited, which was a surprise; they were all veggie. If you’re unfamiliar with these delicious stuffed leaves, they are filled with a mixture of rice, pine nuts, herbs, and sometimes raisins.

#7 Greek Roasted Veggies (Briam)

Another simple veggie dish that’s super tasty and goes well with potatoes, bread, giant beans, and more! You might also find it listed as Tourlou Tourlou. It’s a Greek ratatouille-like dish made with mixed vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, potatoes, and onions, roasted with olive oil and herbs.

#8 Greek Fava

When I first saw this, I thought it was like the Middle Eastern dish Foul mudammas, but that’s not even close! It’s a delicious dip made with yellow split peas simmered with water, onions, and sometimes garlic until they become soft and start to break down. The mixture is then blended or mashed to create a smooth puree and topped with olive oil and lemon juice. Generally, you eat it with bread. I also ate it with some of the roasted veggies and lentil balls (pictured).

a round bowl with greek fava topped with pickled onions next to a bowl of lentil balls on a table

#9 Boiled Salad (Horta Vrasta)

The first time I saw this, I thought, boiled salad? Like just boiled veggies? That sounded a little rough! It’s actually boiled local wild greens, like dandelion. On its own, it can be a little bitter, but it’s served with olive oil and lemon to enhance the flavor. If you like greens, you’ll love this. I always ate it when I need a boost!

a white bowl filled with vegan giant beans in a tomatoes sauce next to a boiled green salad on a wooden table

#10 Greek Spinach & Rice (Spanakorizo)

As the name suggests, this is a pretty simple dish — seasoned and cooked spinach with rice. It’s really popular during Lent. Sometimes, it’s highlighted as a vegetarian main dish, but I didn’t think it was filling enough on its own, so if you’re hungry, order other things with it.

#11 Lentil Soup (Fakes)

I didn’t find this traditional soup anywhere near as much as the white bean soup (I didn’t mind; I like white beans more)! It’s more popular in winter; you’ll likely find it quite often in areas that get chilly or receive snow. It’s a filling soup made with lentils, tomatoes, onions, carrots, and various herbs and spices; enjoy it with crusty bread

#12 Politiki Salad

There are variations on this salad, but its traditional base is cabbage, carrots, celery, pepper, and herbs mixed with olive oil and vinegar. Some restaurants may add meat or cheese to it, but I didn’t find that anywhere that I went. Another option is a Greek salad, minus the feta!

a traditional greek salad with chunks of cucumber and tomato without feta cheese
Feta-less Greek salad

Vegan Greek Food Wrap Up: More Travel Help

If you’re looking for more inspiration or help planning your Greek adventure, check out these articles and guides!

Mykonos Vegan Guide: Where to Eat & Sleep
Naxos Vegan Guide: The Best Food & Hotels on the Island
The Best Vegan Bakeries & Dessert Spots in Athens
Athens Vegan Dining Guide: Must-Try Restaurants
Vegan & Vegan-Friendly Hotels to Checkout in Greece

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