Naxos promises to be a culinary experience you’ll never forget.
Food in this island has a long and rich history and its gastronomic treasures are endless. You’ve come to an island blessed with a rare Mediterranean beauty – Naxos is the largest and the most fertile of the Cycladic islands, it has abundance and wealth and it has been self-sufficient since antiquity.
What you will enjoy during your holidays in Naxos except the Greek sun and beaches is: local fine meat, fresh fish, healthy fresh vegetables, excellent dairy products which are accredited worldwide, mouth-watering fruits, and, of course, the local wine, the miraculous olive oil, the famous Naxian potatoes and the variety of the amazing cheeses such as the arseniko, graviera, myzethra, xinomyzethra, anthotyro, afromyzithra, kefalotyri, kopanisti, ladotyri, manouri. All these, when combined successfully, undoubtedly produce the finest of dishes that will satisfy your palette with the richness of tastes.
Good cooking is all about good ingredients. The island produces all the essential ingredients for creating the best-tasting dishes. Herbs such as oregano, thyme, mint, basil, parsley, coriander, bay leaves and sage are produced in abundance and they are playing an important role in the Naxian cuisine. They not only add unique flavors to the food, but contribute color and variety as well.
Make sure you try the local dishes -created to be shared- placed in the center of the table and enjoyed as part of a big group. This is known as “mezethes” dining, a word eponymous with communal dining meaning “taste, flavor, and snack” and it is a wide spread tradition all over the island. The mezethes purpose is to complement and enhance the taste of the drink (raki, wines, ouzo), and provide the backdrop for a social gathering. Naxos produces raki drink in abundance.
The custom is for family and friends to gather or go out for mezethes, share several local delightful dishes, a drink, conversation, and laughter. The little plates are shared by everyone at the table, which not only provide a wonderful variety of flavor and texture sensations but also create the kind of happy, convivial atmosphere for which Greeks are well known.
The cuisine of Naxos is primordial and reflects its deep cultural history. With its distinctive character, heady aromas, and fruit and vegetables ripened in bright sun, it is a separate chapter of the Greek gastronomic tradition and indeed of world culinary history. Hundreds of traditional recipes have been handed down from generation to generation and a plethora of flavorful dishes is waiting for you to taste!
The restaurants of Naxos island are highly respected by devotees of haute cuisine and authentic eating experiences. Come, try something new, and explore cuisine “Without Borders!” Visitors to our island have the opportunity to experience farm-to-table cooking.
We have listed below the most representative traditional and tasteful recipes of Naxos island, try them at home on your own and savor with family and friends. Eat healthy Greek cooking may just add a few more healthy years to your life.
Sefoukloti is a green pie with chard, fennel and other herbs.
0.5 kg Fillo dough
1.5 kg chard
4 brown onions
8 spring onions
1 bunch dill
1 bunch fennel salt & pepper to taste
1 cup rice 200 gr oil
1.5 cup raisins
Method: Cut the chard into thick pieces. Roughly chop the spring onions and grate or chop the brown onions, then add them to the oil to brown a little. Add the chard, dill, fennel, salt and pepper and saute for 7-8 minutes. Add the rice and raisins and stir a little on the heat and then remove it from the heat. Lay half of the phyllo on a greased baking tray, pour in the mixture, cover it with the remaining phyllo and bake for about 45 minutes on a moderate heat. Rosto (a delicious local dish made with pork) This food is made with pork, garlic and red wine, combined with thick pasta. Ingredients 1 pork loin (3kg) 5-6 cloves garlic salt and freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup olive oil 2-3 ripe tomatoes, grated 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste 1 cup red thick wine Pasta Method: Cut holes into the pork loin with a knife and spike them with small pieces of garlic which you dip in salt first. Salt and pepper the meat and then brush it with oil. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over a high heat and brown the meat on all sides. Add the wine, reduce the heat, simmer for 4-5 minutes while turning the meat to absorb the wine and add hot water to cover the meat. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, cover it and let it simmer until tender. Always make sure there are juices in the saucepan. Boil the pasta, strain and pour into the sauce.
This food is made with pork, garlic and red wine, combined with thick pasta.
1 pork loin (3kg)
5-6 cloves garlic salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 ripe tomatoes, grated 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red thick wine Pasta
Method: Cut holes into the pork loin with a knife and spike them with small pieces of garlic which you dip in salt first. Salt and pepper the meat and then brush it with oil. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over a high heat and brown the meat on all sides. Add the wine, reduce the heat, simmer for 4-5 minutes while turning the meat to absorb the wine and add hot water to cover the meat. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, cover it and let it simmer until tender. Always make sure there are juices in the saucepan. Boil the pasta, strain and pour into the sauce.
Melachrino is among the most famous sweets in the island. It is very similar to Greek walnut cake or “karydopita”, but flavored with the famous local citron liqueur.
15 tablespoons sugar
15 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup citron liqueur
1/2 teaspoon baking soda lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 soup spoon cocoa syrup
6 cups sugar
4.5 cups water
3 soup spoons thyme honey
Method: Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until it whitens. In another bowl, beat the egg whites into meringue. Mix all remaining ingredients, except for the citron liqueur, add them to the yolk mixture and little by little, add the meringue. Pour the mixture into a buttered tray and bake for 40 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Once cooked, let it cool and wet it with the citron liqueur. Prepare the syrup by warming the sugar, water and honey. Boil the syrup and pour it over the cake.
Makes 1 quart
What you’ll need:
1/2 sweet onion
2 red bell peppers
Extra-Virgin olive oil
Salt and cracked black pepper
1 cup crumbled Greek feta
1/2 tsp dry Greek oregano
2 tspoons chopped fresh parsley
pinch of ground cumin
1/2 tspoons of grated lemon zest
1 small pickled yellow pepper (pepperoncini), stem removed, optional
Sprig of fresh dill for garnish
1. Thinly slice the onion slices and the pepper slices and place in a swallow pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle liberally with olive oil, and roast in a 375˚ oven until tender and slightly char-marked. Set aside to cool.
2. In food processor, combine all ingredients and process until very smooth. Taste for seasoning, but be careful not to add too much salt because feta is very salty.
3. Smear some on pita wedges, and top with a slice of pepperoncini and a sprig of dill.
1 Kg peppers (preferably red ones)
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil
1 cup vinegar
2-3 laurel leaves
2-3 cloves garlic
Wash peppers, remove seeds and grill for about 20 minutes until the skin blisters. Allow to cool and then peel. In a pan, slowly boil for 5 minutes the vinegar, peppercorns, garlic, salt and laurel leaves. Strain the vinegar and leave to cool. Put the peppers in a jar and pour on the vinegar. Add the olive oil to cover the peppers. Close the jar and keep in the fridge for 20 days or more.
1 cup olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
pepper, oregano, thyme or parsley (optional)
Mix all the ingredients together and shake well. Use the dressing (ladolemono) immediately in salads, on greens, on grilled meat or fish, etc.
300 grams strained yogurt
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 small grated onion
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Beat yogurt with onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Continue to beat the mixture, adding olive oil and lemon juice until well mixed. You store in the fridge.
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 small grated onion
2 tbsps finely chopped parsley
2 tbsps lemon juice
2 tbsps olive oil
Peel avocado, remove the stone and then mash it in a deep bowl. Add the other ingredients and beat with a whisk until creamy. Garnish with parsley and keep the dip in the fridge. Use it on its own to dip appetizers and small vegetable pieces or on meat or fish or even on salads.
½ kg strained yogurt
2 large cucumbers
3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
4-5 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped mint or dill (optional)
Peel and grate cucumbers. Squeeze as hard as possible to remove the water completely. Mash the garlic with salt in a mortar. In a medium-size bowl, mix the yogurt with the cucumber and garlic. Slowly add vinegar and olive oil and combine well. Finally add the mint or the parsley. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In the fasting periods of the Orthodox Church which lasts for long, some particular dishes are usually made, one of which is taramosalata. It is a traditional food of Clean Monday and the first days of the Holy Week before Easter Sunday. Apart from its use as a food for fasting, it is a well-known Greek appetizer. It is made from cod roe. Cod roe is the preserved eggs from various types of fish such as carp, grey mullet, etc. It is sold either packed or loose. There are two types, the pink and the light pink, which Greeks describe as white. The light pink is more expensive but is the best because it does not contain coloring agents.
100 grams tarama (cod roe), preferably white
200 grams stale bread
2-3 medium boiled potatoes
½ cup olive oil
4 tbsps lemon juice
1 small grated onion (optional)
Soak bread and squeeze it until to get rid of the water. Combine cod roe, potatoes, bread and onion in a mixer. Slowly add the olive oil and the lemon juice alternatively until taramosalata becomes soft and creamy. Garnish with olives and parsley.
½ kg carrots
300 grams strained yogurt
2 cloves mashed garlic
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup roughly ground walnuts (optional)
Scrape the carrots and grate them (or grind) in the mixer. Whip yogurt with remaining ingredients, throw in the carrot and mix everything very well.
1 kg meat (veal, pork, chicken or rabbit)
½ cup olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped or 3-4 fresh onions
3-4 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ cup white whine
3 tbsps vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
2 laurel leaves
200 grams green olives, cracked or slit
Little salt and little pepper
Boil the olives for three minutes in water and then get rid of the water. Do the same process again. Then pit the olives.
Wash the meat, scone it and brown in a pan with the olive oil and the onions. Add the wine and the vinegar followed by the tomatoes, the cinnamon, the bay leaves and a cup of water. Simmer for half an hour and then add the olives. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes, adding if needed a little more water. In the same way we can cook fish (grouper, cod, sea bream) with olives.
300 grams spinach
3 tbsps olive oil
6 tbsps milk
150 grams grated hard cheese or feta cheese
150 grams pitted olives
100 grams grated toasted bread
A little salt and a little pepper
Clean, wash and chop the spinach. Then put it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and drain completely. Heat olive oil in a pan, add spinach and cook for a few minutes until all liquid has evaporated. Whisk the egg yolks with the milk and add to the spinach along with the cheese, the olives, the bread crumbs, the salt, pepper and the egg whites beaten stiff. Mix carefully and pour the mixture into an oven dish. Bake in medium heat for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
1 kg spinach
2 medium dried onions or 5-6 spring onions
½ cup finely chopped dill
½ cup finely chopped parsley
A little salt and pepper
1 cup self-rising flour
Olive oil for frying
Wash the spinach and put it in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and chop tit finely. In a large bowl, mix the spinach, onions, dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Make a thick batter with 1 cup flour and 1 cup of water and add to the mixture. Combine well, adding a little more salt if needed. Heat olive oil in a frying pan almost to the point of smoking and put in tablespoons of the spinach mixture. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Dry on kitchen roll.
3 cups (750 ml) olive oil
2 large cauliflowers cut into florets
2 dried bay leaves
1 medium size onion
1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp pepper
2 cans of tomato sauce or 1 can tomato paste
Wash cauliflower well, strain and let dry.
In a large saucepan, put the onion finely chopped along with the olive oil and the potatoes cut into medium size pieces. Heat the oil and sauté the potatoes and the onions until translucent. Then put into the pan the salt and pepper and the tomato sauce (or paste.) Put water as much as to just cover them and let everything cook for about 30-40 minutes. Then put inside the pan the cauliflower and let everything cook for about 15 minutes.
Serve hot. It tastes delicious with bread and feta cheese on the side of the plate.
For a family of 4 people
6-8 potatoes in their jackets
2 large onions cut in long pieces
10-15 black olives
3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Lemon or vinegar (according to your taste)
Salt and a little bit pepper
3-4 carrots cut into small round pieces
2 zucchini whole
1 green pepper and 1 red pepper
3-4 fresh tomatoes cut in pieces like you do in salad
2-3 tbsps oregano
Put the potatoes into a pan with a lot of water to boil until soft (approx. 45 minutes depending on size). At the end put the zucchini for about 5-10 minutes since it gets cooked very quickly. Strain and let them cool after for a while.
Peel potatoes and onions and cut them in cubes (or a little larger size if you like).
Then put them into a large open serving bowl along with all the other ingredients: tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, black olives, peppers, salt and pepper and either lemon or vinegar (according to your taste). After mixing all of them sprinkle with oregano and olive oil and serve.
This is one of the most popular and classic salad in Cyclades. The recipe above is typical of the island of Naxos. It is a very healthy salad and ideal also for the Lent period before Easter. Especially the kids love it. Many people add other things also such as sardines or feta cheese or cauliflower. Other people instead of boiling the potatoes they wrap them and the onions together in aluminum foil and close tightly and bake in the oven until soft for about 45 minutes.
2 pounds pork shoulder, cut in portions
2 onions, finely sliced
2 large celeriac roots, cut in large cubes
1 large celery stick cut in 1.5 inches pieces
3-4 cup of water
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup (250 ml) extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup (180 ml) dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper
Heat the oil and sauté the onions, until translucent. Wash and dry the portions of pork. Add them to the onions. Turn once or twice until golden. Add wine, one cup of water and simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Add celeriac roots, celery and 2-3 cups of water. Season. Add pepper and simmer. Cover pot for 45-50 minutes. Finish up cooking with temperature in off position. In the meantime prepare the egg and lemon sauce. Whisk eggs until frothy. Add gradually the lemon juice and warm broth from the pork, beating continuously. Pour the lemon and egg sauce in the pot and shake it gently, to allow sauce to mingle with pork and vegetables. Serve hot.
Small, half moon shaped, fried pies, stuffed with soft white cheese and mint.
Ingredients for the Dough:
½ cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 cups all purpose flower
3-4 drops of lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¾ cup (180 ml) lukewarm water
2 cups olive oil for frying
Sugar to sprinkle
For the Filling:
3 cups soft white cheese, cut in small cubes
1 tsp fresh mint, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp powder cinnamon
Mix flour, lemon juice, oil and warm water, in a mixer bowl with a medium speed for approximately 4 minutes, until well combined to a soft mixture. Add water or flour if needed. Place dough on floured surface, cover with a cloth for 10 minutes.
Mix cheese, mint, sugar, cinnamon and egg yolk together. Divide dough in half. Roll out to about 1.2 cm thick. Cut rounds, 5-6 cm diameter each. Place 1 tsp of filling in the middle. Fold over to half moon shape and press edges together, making sure they are completely closed. Deep fry in hot oil. Serve immediately, sprinkled with sugar.
1 ½ cup (375 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds plain flour
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cup lukewarm water
½ cup (125 ml) brandy (koniak)
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 ½ cups raisins cut in half
1 tbsp powder nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
A pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda, dissolved in the orange juice
1 tsp baking powder
In a large bowl, mix with your hands in circular movements sugar, and olive oil, until completely blended. Add water, brandy, spices and soda dissolved in orange juice. Mix flour and baking powder. Add gradually to bowl and mix well until the dough is thick. Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled oven proof dish, sprinkle with a little oil and bake for 45-60 minutes at 350F. To check readiness, pierce the center of the cake with knife. (It should come out clean). Cool and cut cake in squares.
1 pound chick peas
1 grated medium-sized onion
2 egg yolks
4 tbsps of ground dried rusk or toasted bread or bread crams
½ cup finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
½ cup grated cheese (optional)
Flour, olive oil for frying
Soak chick peas overnight and the next day drain and rub them to remove the husks. Rinse with cold water and then boil them in a pot until soft. Drain again and place in a food processor along with 2-3 tbsps of the water from boiling. Grind for 2-3 minutes, add the other ingredients and grind to combine them well. Take a tablespoon of mixture at a time and shape into croquettes. Dredge in flour and fry them in olive oil. Serve alone or with tomato sauce. In the same way we can make croquettes with split peas or with different pulses together (dried beans, broad beans, chick peas and split peas).
2 pounds meat (lamb or veal)
2 pounds spinach
6 tbsps olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 pound tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash meat and cut into cubes. Heat the oil in a saucepan and soften the onions until they take on a little color. Add the meat and turn a few times on all sides to color evenly. Stir in tomatoes, one cup of water and cook gently for about 50 minutes. In the meantime wash and chop spinach. When meat is almost cooked, stir in spinach, salt and pepper and continue cooking until almost all liquid has been absorbed.
1.5 cup water
1.5 envelope active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil
¾ of pound flour (preferably wheat)
1 medium onion, grated
2-3 firm tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Dilute yeast in warm water, add half olive oil, salt and flour, a little at a time until you have a soft dough. Knead well. Place the dough in the center of an oiled baking pan and spread all over the bottom of the pan with your oiled finger tips. Leave it in a warm place to rise until double in bulk and top with onion, tomato, oregano, (feta cheese) and remaining olive oil. Bake in moderate heat for about 50 minutes.
1 tbsp (15 mL) oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
2 pork tenderloins
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 oz (125 mL) cognac
2 tsp (10 mL) butter softened
2 tsp (10mL) all-purpose flour
2 cups (500 mL) beef broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) In a skillet, heat oil and 1 tbsp butter. Sear tenderloins. Remove fat from skillet, except 1 tbsp. Lightly brown onion and garlic. Mix in cognac. Simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove tenderloins from skillet. Transfer to a roasting pan. Cook in oven for 30 minutes or until tenderloins are done. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, blend softened butter and flour to paste. Set aside. In the same skillet, pour beef broth. Simmer until liquid reduces by one-third. Fold in butter and flour paste. Pass sauce through a sieve. Set aside. Carve each tenderloin in half. Arrange on individual plates. Coat with sauce. Serve with a vegetable medley, if desired.