Greek

Falafel Rice Bowls and Tzatziki Sauce

Falafel Rice Bowl and Tzatziki Sauce

These are a spin on the Greek Lamb Rice Bowls I posted a few weeks ago. On Mondays, much to my husband’s dismay, I try to make either a vegetarian or seafood dish (he’s generally not a huge fan of either). Falafel is one of the few vegetarian dishes that I can get away with serving. Usually I’ll serve falafel in some store-bought naan bread, with homemade tzatziki and a side salad. On this past Monday, however, I decided to change things up and apply the rice bowl model to our falafel dinner. It worked perfectly, and I loved the rice with the tzatziki sauce. Read More

Greek Rice Bowls

greek lamb rice bowl

Rice bowls are definitely having a moment (although it’s been going on for a while, so maybe it’s more than just a “moment”). Anyhow, I am a huge fan – we eat them once or twice a week. There’s obviously a template – rice, protein and/or cheese, veggies, beans, and some kind of sauce. But there’s so much room for creativity and experimentation with that.

For me, the sauce of a rice bowl is so key. Often it’s something pretty simple – like a thinned out guacamole. But sometimes I’ll put a bit more effort into it. Take this Greek rice bowl, for example. I went with the obvious sauce (and one of my faves): tzatziki sauce. I’ve posted the recipe on here before. It takes a little bit of work (mainly just planning ahead), but so worth it. This bowl would be awesome with souvlaki-style chicken, but since I had lamb on hand, I went with that.

Greek Rice Bowls

Serves 4

2 cups of prepared brown rice
1 14 oz can of chickpeas
1 lb of ground lamb
2 tsp Cavender’s seasoning

1/2 cup of feta cheese

1 recipe of tzatziki sauce

Cucumber-Tomato Salad
1/2 English cucumber, small chop
1 cup of tomatoes, small chop
1/4 cup of diced red onion
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt

Parsley and lemon, for garnish

When I make this recipe, I generally make most of the components ahead of time. The tzatziki is best if it’s sat for at least four hours, in my opinion. And the cucumber tomato salad is best when it’s had a few hours for the flavors to meld.

For the salad, chop the tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion in approximately the same sized dice. Mix the vinaigrette (the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey and salt) and toss with the veggies and parsley.

Prepare brown rice according to package directions. Brown ground lamb in skillet. Drain excess fat and return lamb to pan. Add Cavender’s seasoning.

Arrange the bowls. Start with rice, top with cucumber-tomato salad, chickpeas, and lamb. Drizzle with tzatziki sauce and sprinkle with feta cheese. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.

 

Moussaka (Greek Comfort Food)

Moussaka is a pretty classic Greek dish (I’ve already detailed my love of Greek food). Yes, Moussaka is usually made with eggplant. However, on the day of the conception of this recipe, I did not have eggplant on hand. Plus I was a little worried about how my darling family members would respond to being served eggplant (as discussed before, a couple of them are super picky).

I love how this dish turned out. I’m a sucker for cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in savory dishes. Gets me every time. And the family? They loved it. My husband had three servings and took the leftovers for lunch the next day. Definitely a hit.





































Moussaka (sans eggplant)


Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 potatoes, thinly sliced

2 tsp olive oil
1 lb ground lamb
1 medium onion, diced
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup of water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

2 tbsp parmesan

Bechamel Sauce

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup milk
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
6 tbsp grated parmesan

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Using a mandolin, slice potatoes a little less than 1/4″ thick. Arrange in a layer in skillet.

Heat oil in another skillet. Add onion and bay leaves, cook until onion is translucent. Add ground lamb and brown. Drain off excess fat. Add tomato sauce, red wine vinegar, garlic, spices and water. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Pour meat and tomato mixture over layer of potatoes, add another layer of potatoes on top.

Next, start your béchamel. Melt butter in a small saucepan and add flour to make a roux. Slowly whisk in the milk. Cook on low heat until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add salt and nutmeg. Remove from heat and mix in parmesan.

Pour sauce over top layer of potatoes and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.

Cook for approximately 1 hour, until béchamel is browned and potatoes are cooked through.

My Best Tzatziki Sauce

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but Greek food is my absolute favorite. I fell in love with it while I lived in Toronto during graduate school. Toronto’s Greektown has, in my opinion, some of the best Greek food outside of Greece. My favorite? Lamb Rosemary Pie at Ouzeri.  Not fancy, but just the ultimate comfort food in my book. With that said, I’m pretty happy snacking on some warm pita bread with some good tzatziki sauce.

Tzatziki, the ultimate and super-delicious Greek sauce / condiment, works with so many foods – meats, salads, breads, sandwiches, etc. Believe it or not, my tzatziki recipe is probably my most-tested recipe. I’ve tweaked it for YEARS and will likely continue to tweak it for years to come. (I’ll update the recipe accordingly).

Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

1 7 oz. container of greek yogurt (I use FAGE Total – not light or fat free)
1/2 cup shredded cucumber
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Directions

Shred cucumber with a grater. Put in colander and sprinkle with a little bit of salt to help drain the water from the cucumber. Let sit for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes have passed, press down on the cucumber with a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

Mix shredded cucumber in with greek yogurt. Add minced garlic, lemon juice, salt and sugar. Finally, drizzle in olive oil. Ideally, chill sauce for an hour or longer prior to serving.