5 Traditional, Healthy Greek Soup Recipes You Should Try Out
Photo and text by Mirella Kaloglou & Panos Diotis.
It’s a cold winter day and the family has gathered around the table to enjoy a warm plate full of fasolada (traditional Greek bean soup) with a dash of fresh lemon juice for extra flavor as yiayia (grandma) Mimika always used to do. There’s a lot of freshly baked homemade bread, anchovies in extra virgin olive oil and Kalamata olives on the table as well. Mom is bringing a large pot from the kitchen and starts serving this humble and yet so delicious bean soup. The music is on somewhere in the background, but no one is paying any attention to it, as everyone is excited and eager to share the news of the day. We couldn’t wait to dive in our plates! This warm bean soup was the perfect weekday dinner after a long, difficult day. Its soothed our souls and was so comforting!
Traditional soups have a way to bring back memories. They are the quintessential comfort food. One of the reasons is that most of the times these recipes are passed from generation to generation. You were looking at your grandma or your mom while they cooked, and you tried to absorb everything they were doing. The ingredients they were using, the spices or the herbs they were adding, their techniques. Even the way they were holding the ladle while mixing all the ingredients in the pot.
Tradition brings people together and warms up their hearts. As great fans of tradition ourselves, we decided to create a post for Greek traditional soups that we grew up with. These 5 soups are in our humble opinion one of the best Greek foods you can make. They are hearty, affordable, healthy and unbelievably delicious! And we’ll guide you, step by step with photos, to help you make them at your own kitchen.
So let’s see start this delicious round-up:
Fasolada is a traditional Greek white bean soup. Many consider it to be Greece’s national food. They are not entirely wrong. For many years beans have been a great substitute to meat in the Greek diet. You see meat was quite expensive and beans were the go-to ingredient for protein. This made this soup very popular especially in the countryside.
There are many versions and combinations in the ingredients one might use to make fasolada, depending on the region. There is also a “red” version containing tomato, but in this recipe we share the older, simpler, more traditional version that doesn’t contain tomato or tomato sauce/paste.
No matter how it’s made it’s important to obtain one thing: The “hiloma”. What?! Hahahaha! We know, right? What is this hiloma that we speak of? Hiloma is the condition where the beans after a slow cooking release their starch and this begins to make the soup thicker. This can be very evident on the next day, if there are any leftovers. In our humble opinion, this is where and when fasolada is at its best; on the next day. That is why this is a great make ahead soup, that is also healthy, nutritious, naturally vegan and ideal for Lent.
You really have to give this one a try during the winter!
Tip for the soup:
Accompany it with one of the following: freshly baked bread, Kalamata olives, anchovies and/or other smoked fish, fresh chopped spring onions, sausages, or pickled veggies.
This is a famous soup right here!
When we started food blogging the first question people were asking us was “Do you have the chicken avgolemono soup recipe?”. After a few years we decided that it was time to include this soup in our recipes index.
What is so special about that soup? Well, it’s hearty, delicious, creamy (without adding any cream) and very healthy. In Greece we use it quite a lot as a remedy for various ailments. It’s probably the chicken broth that helps to overcome any illness and it does work, as scientists have concluded in the last few years!
No matter if you’re ill or not though, this soup is easy to make and it’s perfect for any cold day as it soothes one’s soul!
This soup is also very popular for the Christmas lunch / dinner in various parts of Greece, like in the Peloponnese, as a first dish. Squeeze some extra lemon juice, sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper and serve it. People will definitely ask for a second serving.
Tip for the soup:
Try to buy good quality chicken, because this will give you an excellent chicken broth.
This falls into the same category as the fasolada soup. It’s a staple here in Greece. People cook it throughout the year because it’s very easy to make, it’s a one-pot soup and it’s very healthy. This soup is also especially popular during Lent.
Just like fasolada it has two versions. The one with the tomato and the one without it, depending on the region. Our recipe is the one with the tomato in this case, but if you want the result to be lighter, just omit it. Simple right?
This brown lentil soup is an affordable, humble food, which is both tasty and nourishing; lentil is a healthy legume, that is high in fiber, but also contains a significant amount of proteins.
Tip for the soup:
Serve it with anchovies, freshly baked bread and Kalamata olives.
Magiritsa is a traditional soup, served in Greece on Holy Saturday as a dinner starter. It is usually made with dill or fennel, greens and lamb’s liver and/or other offal, in egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono). In our non-vegetarian version (it’s not on our blog), we only use the liver. There is also this vegetarian version that we posted a few years back that gained a lot of popularity in the recent years. We substituted the liver with mushrooms.
The result was amazing and much lighter for a late dinner serving, like the one of the Holy Saturday: a vegetarian stew with egg-lemon sauce (yes! We do love avgolemono sauce here in Greece!)
Tip for the soup:
Serve it with freshly baked bread and dive into this amazing broth and sauce. Don’t let any of it go to waste ;)
Yet another soup that uses egg-lemon sauce (big surprise, right?!). The Greek pork and celery stew is one of these soups that are usually served during Christmas. It’s the ideal soup for any celebratory dinner. It’s warm, hearty and full of flavors. The combination of pork and celery makes this soup the perfect winter dish. Also, this is a peasant’s dish, affordable and simple.
Tip for the soup:
Same as in Magiritsa. Don’t let this amazing broth and sauce go to waste. Get yourself a nice loaf of bread before you start cooking!
You can always find the Greek stews made with egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono), as frikasse as well, when searching on the web. For example, this stew is also known as pork frikasse. Any stew that combines some kind of protein with veggies or greens and egg-lemon sauce is often called frikasse here in Greece. So don’t get confused. They are egg-lemon sauce soups / stews.
Aren’t these soups delicious? They are comforting, hearty and most of all healthy! They combine humble, simple ingredients; and they are the epitome of traditional food.
Which one of the above is your favorite? What is your own favorite traditional soup recipe?