1. Go With the Season
As the seasons change, so should our diet. Apart from the flavor as well as environmental issues, eating in season guides us to eating a variety of fruit and vegetables. I avoid produce that is not in season even though it is available at my local grocery store. For example tomatoes are available year round, but they certainly do not taste good. As a reminder, I keep a list of fruit and vegetables and their peak seasons on the refrigerator and check it before I go shopping.
2. Beans Are Your Friend
3. Cruciferous Vegetables the Greek Way
4. The Right Salads
Forget the Greek salad when fall comes along. The Greek salad is as a good as the ingredients you use. A Greek salad made with pale wintery tomatoes is very unappetizing and does a disservice to this wonderful salad. Instead, make traditional Greek winter salads using romaine lettuce along with spring onion with olive oil and vinegar or cabbage salad that is made with shredded cabbage, carrots, a touch of garlic and an olive oil-lemon dressing.
5. Potatoes Not Just on the Side
Potatoes are always used to accompany meat but they are often made on their own such as the traditional Greek potato salad or potatoes with celery.
7. Pies Can be a Complete Meal
Pies, known as “pites” in Greek, are savory pies made with phyllo and usually a vegetable filling. Pites are ideal to use those winter vegetables. Not only are they fairly easy to make (as you can find phyllo almost everywhere), they last for days and freeze well. These can be a complete meal. Popular winter pies include the famous spanakopita, hortopita (pie with greens), pumpkin pie, leek pie and onion pie.
8. Frozen vegetables and canned tomatoes
During the winter frozen vegetables and stewed tomatoes or tomato paste play an important role in my kitchen. I occasionally will make Greek style lathera green beans and peas using frozen vegetables. At that point I will also use preserved tomatoes or tomato paste. Tomato paste in fact was also consumed regularly as part of the Mediterranean diet. Studies have shown that frozen vegetables maintain their nutritional value if they are frozen shortly after harvest. However, when you go with frozen, use only plain frozen vegetables, not a frozen meal which is often loaded with extra fats and other ingredients you don’t want to be eating.
Again, seasonal fruit is key. Sliced apple, sections of oranges and mandarins are what you usually find on the Greek table in the winter months. You can also opt for some dried fruit such as dried figs, apricots and prunes (dried plums).