7 Quick-and-Easy Greek Appetizers

In Greek, appetizers are known as orektika (ορεκτικά) and pronounced oh-rek-tee-KAH). They can be hot or cold and are intended to whet the appetite for the meal to come. They differ from mezethes, which are small plates of food used to complement and enhance the taste of alcoholic beverages and be the backdrop for a social gathering.

From simple grilled foods and vegetable dishes to rich layered casseroles and delicate pastries, Greek food is a wonderful mix of dishes that appeal to all tastes. The traditions of healthy country cooking have been expanded over the centuries and, today, Greece is famous for a diverse range of family meals, holiday foods, and elaborate presentation dishes.

Ask someone about Greek food, and some version of all or most of these dishes will be mentioned. These hot and cold appetizers require 15 minutes or less of preparation and, if hot, the combined prep/cook time is 30 minutes or less. Now that's quick and easy.

  • 01 of 07

    Dakos: Rusks With Tomatoes and Cheese

    Dakos
    Fabio Bianchini / Getty Images

    Almost too quick and easy to be called a "recipe," dakos, often called Greek bruschetta, is a signature dish on the Greek island of Crete and is a favorite served with drinks, from beer to raki to wine. If you don't have rusks, try it with grilled bread.

    Total prep/cook time: 5 minutes

  • 02 of 07

    Olive Tapenade (Spread)

    Olive Tapenade
    jeangill / Getty Images

    This quick blender olive tapenade recipe is made with black or green Greek olives and has a tart taste in comparison with the rest of the appetizers in this list.

    Total prep/cook time: 15 minutes

  • 03 of 07

    Roasted Greek Cheese

    Roasted cheese
    Danita Delimont / Getty Images

    Every appetizer selection needs a warm, gooey cheese addition (at least in Greece) and this classic roasted Greek cheese is made with feta and kasseri cheeses.

    Total prep/cook time: 20 minutes

  • 04 of 07

    Hot Pepper Cheese Dip

    Greek Cheese Dip

    Wikimedia Commons

    Use mild to hot peppers depending on your preference to add the right touch of heat to this hot pepper cheese dip. Scoop it up while still warm with pita chips, crusty bread, or vegetables.

    Total prep/cook time: 15 minutes

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Saganaki: Fried Greek Cheese

    Saganaki

    Steven Depolo / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Greeks do love their cheeses and this saganaki dish is one of the most popular. It's made with graviera cheese that is dredged in flour and sautéed in a pan. If you're brave, add 2 tablespoons of brandy and flambé it just before serving.

    Total prep/cook time: 25 minutes

  • 06 of 07

    Spicy Stuffed Peppers With Feta Cheese

    Greek Spicy Stuffed Peppers
    N. Gaifyllia

    Bull's horn peppers (long, light green, and mild) are stuffed with a mixture of feta cheese and finely chopped hot peppers, then roasted or grilled. This is a quick-and-easy spicy stuffed peppers with feta cheese recipe to make and a delicious appetizer or meze for holiday entertaining.

    Total prep/cook time: 30 minutes

  • 07 of 07

    Tzatziki: Yogurt, Cucumber, and Garlic Dip or Spread

    Tzatziki and pita
    Alexandra Grablewski / Getty Images

    The most well-known of Greek appetizers, tzatziki is great as a dip with pita bread, fresh veggies, or crackers, or just eaten to accompany other foods like grilled meats or gyros.

    Total prep/cook time: 15 minutes