Vegetarian And Vegan Dining Tips For Mediterranean Restaurants

Food & Cooking Blog

Mediterranean food features plenty of light breads, tantalizing spreads, and fresh vegetables. Salty tidbits, like lush feta or perfectly brined olives, help brighten the flavors further. Dining out at a Mediterranean restaurant can be a great choice for a vegetarian or vegan, although it's important to have an idea of your options. The following tips can help improve your dining experience.

Tip #1: Always check the bread

Pitas and similar flat breads are the main option at most Mediterranean restaurants. Fortunately, most traditional pita-style breads do not contain egg or milk so they are both vegetarian and vegan friendly. Of course, recipes can vary and some restaurants may outsource their bread, so it is still important to ask about the ingredients before you order.

Tip #2: Decline most sauces

Many, although not all, Mediterranean style spreads contain yogurt. This is particularly true of Greek cuisine. Tzatziki is spread liberally on many wraps, including veggie pita wraps, so always ask about the spread before ordering and decline if necessary. Yogurt sauces are also popular for dipping, which is an issue for vegans and dairy-free vegetarians. Fortunately, hummus and tahini based spreads are also popular at Mediterranean establishments, so you can always substitute these for the yogurt-based sauces and spreads if you do not eat dairy.

Tip #3: Watch out for feta

Feta is a quintessential cheese for many Mediterranean dishes. It is so common, it is often sprinkled on top of pitas, salads, and other dishes as a garnish, which means it may not even be mentioned in the menu as being part of the dish. When ordering, ask your server if the dish contains feta or any other cheese crumbles. If so, you can usually request that the crumbles be left off of your dish.

Tip #4: Avoid puff pastry

Many dishes are made with puff pastry. For example, spanikopita is a Greek spinach pie that contains spinach and feta sandwiched in layers of puff dough. Naturally, a vegan will want to avoid spanikopita, but even cheese-free fare made with puff pastry should be avoided. The pastry sometimes contains eggs and it almost always contains copious amounts of butter.

Tip #5: Salads provide a filling choice

Mediterranean salads are a work of art that consists of a variety of fresh greens, sweet fruits, olives, tomatoes, onions, and a multitude of other fresh vegetables in season. Nuts often make a showing, as well. Make sure there are no feta crumbles on the salads if you are vegan. For vegetarians that eat dairy, though, feta adds flavor. Even better, see if the restaurant serves halloumi, a type of sheep's milk cheese that doesn't melt. It is served grilled on top of greens, providing a hefty dose of protein as well as flavor. As for dressings, any of the vinaigrette options at a Mediterranean restaurant is sure to please.

For more help, contact a restaurant such as Maura's Mediterranean Cuisine to review the menu.


22 October 2017

Exploring the Cooking Process

Hello, my name is Desmond Richardson. Welcome to my website about cooking your favorite foods. My love for cooking started at a young age as my family spent their time in the kitchen most days. I always strived to learn how to cook the best dishes with help from my family members. I created this site to share my passion for cooking with you all. I hope to inspire everyone to experiment with the cooking process to create their favorite meals. I will explore ingredient, herb and spice combinations that work together the best. Thank you for coming to visit my site.