Are you a breakfast person? For me, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A filling, healthy breakfast sets me up for a great day!
To eat breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, so you burn more calories throughout the day; it also sets you up with the energy you need to focus on work, school, or whatever you’re doing. If you skip breakfast, you aren’t replenishing your blood sugar, a necessity to make your muscles and brain function at top capacity. And this leaves you susceptible to overeating during other meals.
Ikarians have their own way to approach breakfast. The Ikarian longevity breakfast can start with a glass of herbal tea, herbal infusions that are thought to help promote a long, healthy life. They are one of the secrets to longevity on Blue Zone islands, but truth be told, people all over Greece drink herbal teas, usually made with herbs they pick themselves and dry. The morning breakfast routine also includes a Greek coffee, like the one I make in my video here.
On my island, a longevity breakfast can also sometimes mean a simple spoonful of extra virgin Greek olive oil or honey every morning. A glass of warm goat’s milk is another Ikarian classic. But don’t worry, we don’t just confine ourselves to small spoonfuls! Greece is also full of heartier morning fare, including lots of egg dishes and rusk recipes. Rusks, or paximadia, basically derive from the ancient Greek dipyros, which means twice-baked, essentially a savory biscuit, and one that makes an excellent addition to so many Greek dishes.
Scroll down for a few of my favorite Greek and Mediterranean diet breakfast recipes (and check out even more breakfast options from my site here!).
Greek yogurt on its own is a great breakfast option – it’s good for your gut, packed with protein, and could benefit your heart. And while I am a huge fan of Greek yogurt on its own, or with a little drizzle of Greek honey, I’ve got a few recipes that use it in creative ways too. This Lemon-Olive Oil-Yogurt Cake with Honey is a favorite for breakfast in my house, and the addition of Greek yogurt in these Greek Yogurt Pancakes makes the whole stack tangy, silky, and fluffy.
You can even add yogurt to a classic pie – I include it in my Leek Phyllo Pie with Greek Yogurt and Herbs.
That leek pie is a great transition into another of my favorite breakfast categories: the breakfast pie. This Feta Cheese Skillet Pie, aka tiganopita, is a classic recipe from the cuisine of Epirus, and it’s almost like a pancake, making it an even more perfect breakfast pie.
Or you can go the longevity route, with a classic Ikaria Longevity Zucchini-Herb Pie, stuffed with fresh herbs, summer zucchini, and feta. Looking for something a bit faster? Sorrel and Cornmeal Pie (Aradopita) is made with a cornmeal crust, so it’s healthful, filling and much less time-consuming than pies that require layer after layer of hand -made phyllo pastry.
Yes, you can enjoy some toast for breakfast – but why do that when you can take your bread one step further? I love this recipe, Tahini-Honey Toast, because it features one of the most important, nutritious and traditional Mediterranean diet ingredients for breakfast: tahini. It is full of vitamins and minerals, and it’s a great source of easy-to-digest calcium.
Then there are a load of paximadi recipes to pick from for breakfast – it makes a great side for something like this Spanakopita Shakshuka, as well as a super base for Eggs Benedict with Feta Hollandaise. And you can go ultra simple and traditional, with a classic tomato dako, or something a bit more contemporary, like this Cretan Bread Salad with Tomatoes, Green Apples & Herbs.
The Greek kitchen is packed with egg dishes that make great breakfasts (but can also easily be enjoyed for lunch or dinner!). Kayianas – Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes and Olives is a real crowd-pleaser, a Peloponnese classic that is wonderfully filling.
Greek Briam Baked with Eggs is one of the classics of the Greek vegetarian table, a wonderful dish made with thinly sliced zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers. It’s delicious and springy, the best way to start the day. And there are a billion frittatas and omelets that use Greek ingredients, from cheeses to cold cuts and more.
One of my favorites is this Asparagus, Basil and Tomato Frittata, an easy, elegant Greek recipe packed with flavor, extra virgin Greek olive oil, fresh herbs, Greek cheese, and a special Greek superfood, mastiha.