Thanksgiving isn’t just about turkey, so here are 5 Greek appetizer recipes for thanksgiving that can really be an asset to your thanksgiving spread. Thanksgiving usually conjures up ideas of turkey, corn, yams and cranberry sauce, but in Greek households across America, the thanksgiving table is quite different.
Pastitsio is a traditional Greek baked pasta dish. The pasta is baked with meat (usually ground beef) and topped with béchamel sauce. The word ‘pastitsio’ translates to ‘hodgepodge’.
- ½ cup olive oil
- salt, pepper to taste
- 3 tsp breadcrumbs
- 1 diced onion
- 4 egg whites (keep yolks for béchamel)
- 1 cup white wine
- 14 oz tomato puree
- 3 tsp allspice
- ½ cup butter
- 500g penne pasta
- 1½ cups grated parmesan
- 1 cup butter
- 1 quart milk (warm)
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 cup flour
- ground nutmeg
- In a pan, brown ground beef in olive oil on high heat for five minutes.
- Add onions, cook another five minutes.
- Add tomato puree, add spices, simmer for ten minutes.
- Whilst simmering boil water for pasta.
- Cook pasta as directed, then drain.
- Add breadcrumbs to meat sauce.
- Add ½ cup butter to pasta and mix well
- Stir in egg whites. Add cup of cheese, toss.
- Layer lasagna pan as follows: half pasta, all meat sauce, remaining pasta.
- Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare béchamel sauce.
- Melt butter and add flour.
- Add milk then simmer until thick.
- Take off heat and add yolks & nutmeg.
- Add béchamel on top of pasta layer. Sprinkle parmesan.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 350 F.
It’s highly unlikely that the pilgrims shared this food during their traditional November feast. Nevertheless, dolmathakia are standard fare on Greek thanksgiving tables. This is a dish of grape leaves stuffed with herbs, pine nuts and rice. It is usually served cold.
- 2 x ½ cup olive oil
- 6 minced onions
- 60 grape leaves
- ½ cup dill
- ½ cup rice
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp dried mint
- lemon juice
- 1 cup parsley
- Boil grape leaves for four minutes, drain and set aside.
- Heat ½ cup oil in a skillet and sauté onions.
- Stir in rice, nuts, herbs & spices. Take off heat and add lemon juice.
- Add tablespoon of filling to leaf and roll.
- Place rolls in saucepan, pour remaining olive oil into pan and cover rolls with water.
- Bring to boil. Simmer for 45 minutes.
This delicious appetizer is made from phyllo pastry stuffed with cheese and folded into triangles. It is so popular in Greek households that many Greek children do not realize it is not standard thanksgiving food.
- 1 lb. Feta
- 16 oz Ricotta
- 1 oz bleu cheese
- 5 tsp. grated parmesan
- 5 eggs
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1 – 2 lb. phyllo pastry sheets
- Mix all cheeses well.
- Add eggs and stir until combined.
- Place tablespoon of filling onto pastry, fold into triangle.
- Bake at 350 F for fifteen minutes.
Spanakopita is a spinach pie with feta cheese. This recipe again calls for phyllo pastry and feta cheese. Because this dish freezes and reheats very easily it is very often made before thanksgiving and frozen to ease preparations on the big day.
- 1lb. phyllo pastry
- 2 bunches diced green onions
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup butter
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup parsley
- ½ cup dill
- ½ lb ricotta
- 2.5 lbs chopped spinach
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ½ lb feta
- 4 diced onions
- Saute onions and green onions.
- Add spinach, dill and parlsey.
- Cook ten minutes until spinach has wilted.
- Add nutmeg. Set aside.
- Mix all cheeses.
- Add spinach mixture then combine.
- Place filling between two layers of phyllo pastry
- Bake at 350 F for twenty minutes.
Saganaki is an all time Greek classic that can't be missed on any Greek table. It is named after the traditional Greek pan that is used to prepare the dish.
- 1 pd feta cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2/3 cup flour
- 2-3 lemons
- Cut cheese in 1/2 inch slices.
- Wet slices with water
- In a frying pan, heat oil until hot
- Sear cheese on each side until brown
- Squeeze lemon on cheese
- Serve hot.