I live in a very Greek neighborhood of Queens, but rarely go out to eat. That’s not to say I’m not piqued by what I see in the specialized grocery stores in my area. Seasonal produce, an entire wall of olive oils, SIXTEEN kinds of fresh feta, and ready meals that are not fried chicken and mushy macaroni salad, name a few examples.
This is usually a quick mid-week dinner, served alongside sautéed broccoli rabe or a simple salad with oregano and red wine vinaigrette. However, if we want something heartier, I’ll also make some classic Greek style lemon potatoes. Bonus! I’ve included said recipe below- no photo, but trust me, they’re delish ;).
Greek Style Summer Vegetable Gratin
⅓ cup quinoa (or ½ pound ground lamb, turkey, or beef for grain free/high protein version)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp sweet paprika
¼ tsp ground allspice (ground clove is a good substitute)
¼ teaspoon crushed coriander
¼ teaspoon dried dill
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper (I do about 6 turns on a pepper mill)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small/medium yellow onion, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into rounds (cut on the bias if your carrots are skinny)
⅓ cup vegetable or chicken broth
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp honey
2 medium zucchini or summer squash
1 small eggplant (I like white, Japanese, or Italian varieties)
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the topping:
½ cup grated Parmesan
⅔ cup 2% Greek yogurt
A few grinds black pepper
What to do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook quinoa in 2/3 cup water with a pinch of salt. If using meat, brown in a pan with a bit of oil over medium/high heat until fully cooked, breaking it up with a heat resistant spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks. Scoop out with slotted spoon and set aside.
Assemble spices (salt, cinnamon, paprika, allspice, coriander, dill, black pepper) in a small bowl or cup and set aside.
Meanwhile, sauté carrots, onion and garlic with olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once soft, add spices and sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant.
Add broth, zucchini, and eggplant, cover and simmer on medium for 10 minutes.
While the zucchini and eggplant cook, mix eggs, Parmesan, yogurt, and black pepper for topping in a small/medium bowl and set aside.
Add tomatoes, cooked quinoa (or meat), and honey and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, covered, until vegetables are just tender.
Pour into casserole dish and spread yogurt topping over stew. (If your pan is oven safe, skip a step and pour the yogurt topping right over stew in the pan you’re cooking in.)
Place in preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes, until topping is set. Sprinkle with a generous amount of parsley and serve.
Greek Style Lemon Potatoes
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
What to do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss all ingredients together in a baking dish and bake one hour, or until potatoes are fork tender.