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20 Greek Recipes That’ll Give Your Meal Plans a Mediterranean Kick

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20 Greek Recipes That’ll Give Your Meal Plans a Mediterranean Kick

If Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and fresh lemons sound like heaven to you, you’ll love these 20 Greek recipes.

 

Your boss might frown on you up and running off to Greece without a moment’s notice, but these fresh, flavorful Greek recipes mean that you don’t have to leave home to recreate the warmth of a day spent on Santorini, Kos, or any of Greece’s other pristine beaches.

In the mood for something light? Start with the Greek Veggie Pasta Salad. Ready for your main course? Our spanakorizo replaces butter with olive oil for a healthier alternative.

It’s enough to make you stand up and yell “Opa!” in your kitchen! 

Enjoy!

Mediterranean Chicken Stew

Greek chicken stew recipe Picture courtesy of The Secret Ingredient

By now you’ve probably heard of the Mediterranean diet, which revolves around ingredients that are regional to Greece, Italy, Sicily, and Crete. The guidelines are easier to follow than most diets, including paleo, and it focuses on eating fresh veggies, choosing lean meats over red meats, and switching out butter for olive oil.

But that’s not to say that Mediterranean food can’t be stick-to-your-ribs good, as proven by this hearty Greek stew. This is a recipe by Maria Loi, who offers up family favorites like her mother’s Greek yogurt recipe in her cookbook, The Greek Diet.

the-greek-diet

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

4 cups chicken stock (or water)

1 whole chicken (3 lb.), cut into 8 pieces

3 medium eggplants, diced into 1” cubes

2 green bell peppers, roughly chopped

2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 medium tomatoes, diced

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, destemmed and chopped

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt, for serving

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 521

Protein: 54 grams

Carbs: 18 grams

Fat: 26 grams

 

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Greek Veggie Pasta Salad

Greek pasta recipe Picture courtesy of Anytime Fitness

To get a Greek pasta salad, take all the ingredients you would add to a Greek garden salad, and add rotini.

That includes red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta, chickpeas, and black olives – there’s so much in here, if you don’t like something, it won’t be a big deal to leave it out. Then instead of lettuce, there’s fresh herbs.

If you don’t have access to fresh parsley and dill, though, you can substitute with one-third the amount of dried herbs. For example, use 2 teaspoons of dried dill instead of 2 tablespoons fresh.

Serves 6

Ingredients

12 oz. whole-wheat rotini, cooked and drained

1 small red onion, diced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cucumber, diced

1/2 cup halved black olives (or green olives)

1/2 cup fresh minced parsley

2 Tbsp. fresh minced dill

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 cup crumbled feta

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2/3 cup Greek salad dressing

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 613

Protein: 28 grams

Carbs: 90 grams

Fat: 20 grams

 

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Traditional Greek Pita Bread

Greek pita bread Picture courtesy of Half-Baked Harvest

Pita has become so popular that it’s sold in most grocery stores, even in whole-wheat variety. But there are a lot of rewarding moments when you make it from scratch.

You get to knead the dough, which is an upper-body workout. Then you get to watch the pita puff up and brown in a skillet, kind of like cooking pancakes. Finally, the best part is eating them hot and fresh with hummus, keeping the rest on hand for pita pocket sandwiches.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 cup hot water, not boiling

2 tsp. active dry yeast (or instant yeast)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (more as needed)

2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 160

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 30 grams

Fat: 2 grams

 

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Greek Lentil Soup (Fakes Soupa)

Greek Lentil Soup recipe Picture courtesy of The Greek Glutton

This is a simple vegetarian soup that doesn’t take much in terms of effort or ingredients to throw together. Yet you’ll be rewarded with a comforting, protein-rich soup.

Start by sautéing the onion, garlic, and carrot, and then stir in everything else. Reduce the heat when it boils, and let it sit for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Add a splash of red wine vinegar at the end to bring all the flavors together, and serve with Greek yogurt.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup brown or black lentils

1 large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

3 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

4–5 cups water

3 bay leaves

2 Tbsp. dried oregano

Splash of red wine vinegar (optional)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 266

Protein: 14 grams

Carbs: 37 grams

Fat: 8 grams

 

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Want to know how to build muscle and lose fat eating delicious foods like these?"Dieting" doesn't have to suck. You CAN eat foods you like and have the body you want!

 

Greek Pasta with Feta & Chicken

Greek pasta salad recipe Picture courtesy of A Pinch of Healthy

Tired of pasta and marinara? Instead of tomato sauce, serve penne with fresh diced tomatoes and chopped olives, like in a Greek salad.

The pasta is served warm, but the fresh veggies are served at room temp to create contrast (and make this Greek chicken dinner easier to cook). You can also use leftover chicken breast instead of grilling it fresh, making this a great pasta recipe to keep in mind when your fridge is overloaded.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 chicken breast (about 6.5 oz.), grilled

3 oz. whole-grain penne

1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette

3 cups mixed baby greens

1/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

2 Tbsp. (1/2 oz.) crumbled feta

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 374

Protein: 27 grams

Carbs: 40 grams

Fat: 13 grams

 

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Greek Tacos with Tzatziki & Vegetables

Greek taco recipe Picture courtesy of Renée Kemps

These tacos are everything you love about the Mediterranean diet wrapped up in a soft tortilla. In fact, the only thing about this that isn’t Greek is the taco format itself, so it’s like replacing pita bread with tortillas.

A great summer recipe, these tacos are an easy way to highlight farmers’ market finds like juicy cherry tomatoes, crisp cucumber, and fresh herbs.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Homemade Tzatziki:

1 large cucumber, seeded

1 1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

3 cloves garlic, grated

1 tsp. sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Tacos:

6 small tortillas

2/3 cup cherry tomatoes

1 small red onion

1/2 zucchini

1 cup mixed olives, pitted

1 3/4 cups (7 oz.) soft feta

1/4 cup fresh mint

1/4 cup fresh oregano

1 tsp. sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 lemon, cut in wedges for serving

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 301

Protein: 16 grams

Carbs: 26 grams

Fat: 15 grams

 

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Healthy Baklava for Beginners

Greek baklava recipe Picture courtesy of The Greek Vegan

This version of baklava isn’t just healthy because the phyllo shells keep the portions small. Instead of butter, the filling uses tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds.

Butter isn’t bad in moderation, yet tahini is hands-down the winner in terms of nutrition. Sesame seeds are loaded with unsaturated fats and are one of the best natural sources of calcium. There’s a smattering of other minerals in tahini too, including copper, manganese, and iron.

Serves 30

Ingredients

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 Tbsp. tahini

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. lemon zest

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup pure honey

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 boxes (1.9 oz. each) mini phyllo shells

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 67

Protein: 1 gram

Carbs: 9 grams

Fat: 4 grams

 

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Collard Green Falafel

Greek Falafel recipe Picture courtesy of Minimalist Baker

This is an update on the timeless combo of Greek hummus & falafel. And it’s healthier than the kind of falafel you’ll find in a Mediterranean restaurant or sandwich shop.

That’s because these falafel aren’t just made from chickpeas, but are stuffed with collard greens (or Swiss chard) as well. They’re also pan-cooked in a light amount of olive oil, rather than being fully fried.

Enjoy them with or without pita bread, alongside hummus and/or tzatziki.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 bunch (4 cups) collard greens, stemmed and torn

1 can (15.5 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp. tahini

1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 Tbsp. oat flour

4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 154

Protein: 5 grams

Carbs: 17 grams

Fat: 7 grams

 

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Greek Walnut Cake (Karydopita)

healthy Greek cake recipe Picture courtesy of Souvlaki for the Soul

This cake is often served for special occasions in Greece, but it can also be delicious with a cup of afternoon tea. It’ll also be a welcome surprise at any cookie exchange or bake sale.

Instead of flour, the recipes uses both breadcrumbs and walnuts. And like baklava, this Greek dessert is finished with a pour of syrup, although it’s made with cinnamon and sugar rather than honey.

Serves 12

Ingredients

Walnut Cake:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup caster (superfine) sugar

6 egg yolks

1 shot cognac (or brandy)

Zest and juice of 1 orange

2 1/3 cups walnuts, coarsely ground

2 cups breadcrumbs

3 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves (optional)

2 tsp. baking powder

6 egg whites

Syrup:

3 cups water

2 cups caster (superfine) sugar

1 cinnamon stick

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 586

Protein: 11 grams

Carbs: 67 grams

Fat: 33 grams

 

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Mediterranean Chickpea & Feta Salad Wrap

Greek feta salad wrap Picture courtesy of Bowl of Delicious

When you replace sandwich bread with a tortilla, it might seem like you have to bulk up the meat to make it a full meal. But this recipe proves that vegetarian wraps can be filling enough to eat for lunch or dinner.

It’s packed with not just greens but chickpeas, cucumber, olives, and feta. It also includes a recipe for homemade Greek dressing, which uses yogurt to make a light vinaigrette with less olive oil.

Serves 1

Ingredients

Greek Wrap:

1 whole-wheat tortilla wrap

Handful of leafy greens

1/4 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup chopped cucumber

3–4 slices red onion

1/4 cup (1 oz.) reduced-fat feta

1/4 cup chopped tomato

1/4 cup chopped pitted olives

Creamy Greek Dressing:

2 Tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

Pinch of garlic powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 618

Protein: 25 grams

Carbs: 71 grams

Fat: 28 grams

 

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Greek Quinoa & Hummus Stuffed Tomatoes

Greek hummus recipe Picture courtesy of Cookin Canuck

When you pick up perfectly ripe tomatoes from the farmers’ market, sometimes it’s hard to turn them into a sauce or mix them up in a salad. They deserve to be the star of the plate, and that’s the role they have in this dish.

The insides of the tomatoes are scooped out to remove the seeds and make room for Greek quinoa salad.

Serves 4 / Makes 8

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup water

3/4 tsp. dried oregano

6 Tbsp. olive tapenade hummus (or any hummus flavor)

1/3 cup diced English cucumber

1/3 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. (1 1/2 oz.) crumbled feta

1 Tbsp. minced flat-leaf parsley

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

8 medium tomatoes

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 213

Protein: 8 grams

Carbs: 27 grams

Fat: 8 grams

 

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Greek Rainbow Salad

Greek salad recipe Picture courtesy of Dinner then Dessert

A healthy Greek salad doesn’t have to rely on leafy greens. This one relies on the vine-ripened tomatoes, crisp cucumber, sweet bell peppers, and salty feta to fill up the bowl. And of course there are also purple Kalamata olives, hail from the Peloponnese region of Southern Greece.

This salad is finished with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing that’s sweetened with a touch of honey.

Serves 6

Ingredients

4 medium tomatoes, diced

1 large cucumber, peeled and diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 cup (4 oz.) feta

3 oz. Kalamata olives, chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp. pure honey

1/4 tsp. salt (or more to taste)

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 182

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 11 grams

Fat: 14 grams

 

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Moussaka

Greek moussaka recipe Picture courtesy of Daring Gourmet

This elaborate casserole, the national dish of Greece, doesn’t make it outside of the Mediterranean nearly enough. It’s similar to shepherd’s pie, but with a base layer of sliced eggplants and potatoes. On top, there’s a layer of baked becahamel made with Parmesan.

Moussaka can be made with any kind of meat, with lamb being one traditional option. You could also make a vegetarian version using lentils instead of ground meat.

Serves 8

Ingredients

Moussaka:

2 large eggplants, sliced 1/4” thick

2 large potatoes, sliced 1/4” thick

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 lb. lean ground beef

1/2 lb. ground mild sausage

2 onions, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (16 oz.) crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 tsp. parsley

1/2 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup red wine

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Béchamel:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. flour

3 cups whole milk

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated Parmesan

2 egg yolks

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 347

Protein: 20 grams

Carbs: 36 grams

Fat: 13 grams

 

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Chicken Orzo Artichoke Salad

Greek Chicken Salad recipe Picture courtesy of Shockingly Delicious

Tomatoes are often associated with the Mediterranean, but they’re actually a New World food, meaning the plant originated in what’s now the Americas. But olives and artichokes? Now that’s seriously Greek.

On the flip side, while artichokes are now known for growing like weeds in California, they’re native to the Mediterranean and were first recorded by a Greek philosopher in third century B.C.E. So when you’re eating Mediterranean-style food, it’s the ideal time to add some artichokes, which are extremely antioxidant-rich and known to lower cholesterol.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Orzo Salad:

3 cups diced chicken, cooked

1/2 cup orzo pasta

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

3 green onions, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 jar (6 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

Dressing:

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

1 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 510

Protein: 34 grams

Carbs: 21 grams

Fat: 31 grams

 

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Greek Seafood Salad

Greek seafood recipes Picture courtesy of Kitchen Culinaire

This is an incredible seafood salad, starring fresh octopus, prawns, and mussels. And you don’t need a whole lot more than that for the ingredients to taste amazing.

Everything is boiled in a pot of water with a squeeze of lemon juice and splash of red wine vinegar. The seafood salad is then tossed in a marinade of olive oil, parsley, garlic, and chili. This is a great make-ahead appetizer since it has to chill for at least a couple hours in the fridge.

Serves 6

Ingredients

20 oz. fresh small octopus

Juice of 3 lemons

4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 lb. mussels

10 oz. whole prawns

3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

3 cloves garlic

1 red chili pepper

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 372

Protein: 41 grams

Carbs: 7 grams

Fat: 19 grams

 

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Greek Pasta & Lamb Casserole

Greek lasagna recipe Picture courtesy of Food Done Light

If you love Italian lasagna, give Greek pastitsio a taste. It’s also a layered pasta casserole with tomato sauce, but this “Greek lasagna” doesn’t use flat noodles. And instead of simply sprinkling shredded mozzarella on top, this has a béchamel of Greek yogurt and Parmesan.

So to American taste buds, it’ll seem like lasagna meets mac ‘n’ cheese. And that means this is comfort food you’ve probably been missing out on!

Serves 12

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

3/4 lb. ground chicken

1/4 lb. ground pork

1/2 cup dry red wine

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Pinch of cayenne

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

2 tsp. salt, divided

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups low-fat milk

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup (4 oz.) grated Parmesan, divided

7 oz. low-fat plain Greek yogurt

12 oz. whole-wheat pasta shells (or elbows), cooked al dente

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 315

Protein: 23 grams

Carbs: 33 grams

Fat: 9 grams

 

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Greek Olive Bread

Greek bread recipe Picture courtesy of A Shaggy Dough Story

Why put olives in bread? Greek brine-cured Kalamatas are the best. They lose any hint of bitterness during the baking process, mellowing out to reveal more natural sweetness along with the sharp saltiness.

Greek bread can be served with cheese, tapenades, or high-quality olive oil as a dip. This is also an amazing bread to have at the dinner table – it’s good enough to be a stand-alone side dish for Mediterranean-seasoned chicken breast.

Serves 24 / Makes 2 medium loaves

Ingredients

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, for frying

1 1/2 lb. white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. active dry yeast

12 oz. lukewarm water

5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

6 oz. pitted black olives, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh marjoram and/or oregano, roughly chopped

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 170

Protein: 3 grams

Carbs: 23 grams

Fat: 8 grams

 

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Spanakorizo (Spinach & Rice)

Greek rice recipe Picture courtesy of 30 is the New 20

This Greek rice dish is a lot like spinach risotto, only it uses olive oil in place of butter. You also don’t have to worry about picking up Arborio rice. Although it would work in this recipe, so will medium-grain white rice.

In general, this is a more adaptable recipe than a strict risotto. It’s a great way to use up fresh spinach, but a cup of frozen spinach (once thawed, of course) will work too.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb. fresh spinach, rinsed and chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup minced garlic

1/4 cup fresh chopped dill (or fresh mint)

1 Tbsp. dried Greek oregano

1 cup white rice

3 cups water

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 344

Protein: 8 grams

Carbs: 50 grams

Fat: 14 grams

 

GET THE RECIPE 

 

 

Tahinopita (Greek Lenten Cake)

Greek cake recipe Picture courtesy of Recipe of Health

Since tahini (sesame seed paste) can be a substitute for peanut butter, and peanut butter is delicious in cake, it makes perfect sense to bake a cake with tahini. That’s why this dessert is named tahinopita, yet this lightly sweetened Greek cake is packed with plenty of other delicious ingredients too.

It’s full of fresh flavor from orange juice and zest, which is complemented by walnuts and raisins. The cake also has cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice; if you have pumpkin pie spice in the pantry, feel free to use that instead since it’s typically made from a similar spice blend.

Serves 16

Ingredients

1 cup tahini

3/4 cup granulated sugar

Zest of 1 orange

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3 medium oranges)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Dash of salt

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/2 cup sultana raisins (or golden raisins)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 223

Protein: 5 grams

Carbs: 29 grams

Fat: 11 grams

 

GET THE RECIPE 

 

 

What did you think of these Greek recipes? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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    • Lisa

      Mike,

      These recipes look amazing! Thank you! I’m 49, 5 ft.7, 125lbs, with 13% body fat. I had 4 kids in 5 years. Ladies, if I can do it, you can too! I also have a huge passion for helping people get into the best shape of their lives. I try to encourage anybody who needs help at my gym. Really appreciate your mission to give people the truth about getting in shape, all wrapped up in a realistic plan that works. Just wanted to stop by and say thank you! I ordered your book last night. Never to old to learn something! May the Lord bless you and your beautiful family.

      • Thanks! YW.

        Great job on getting so lean after having kids. You rock. Love the passion you have and I appreciate you helping everyone out. 🙂

        Thank you for the kind words and support.

  • Jim G

    These are some great healthy recipes of traditional Greek foods. If I were on death row, a well made Pastitsio or Moussaka would probably be my last meal of choice, lol.

    But you forgot the most popular Greek food by far, the Souvlaki! Here’s a healthy Pork Souvlaki recipe: http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/recipes/2015-06-pork-souvlaki.html?referrer=https://www.google.gr/

  • Dave

    How did you calculate the Moussaka macros? I’m getting significantly more fat, especially with the Béchamel sauce.

    • I have someone that helps with that. I’ll get it checked out. Thanks for the heads up.

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