Eating healthy or being on a diet does not necessarily mean that you should eat bland and boring food. I have been watching my diet and loosing weight just by eating a little bit healthier. Maybe I have not lost many kilos but I am satisfied loosing 1 – 2 kilos a month, without being hungry.
I have a lot of posts with healthy diet food but as I will be taking a break during August, I will try in each post to give more than one recipes. You can also find many healthy recipes with a comprehensive analysis of The Mediterranean Diet, in my cookbook “More Than a Greek Salad“.
Mpiftekia are the Greek burgers and although the word mpif (tekia) is derived from the word beef (steak), the French then called it bifteque and we translated it into mpifteki, now the Greek word generally means burgers. Mpiftekia may be made with beef, pork or chicken or even veggies.
In Greece we do not eat them in a bun but we either cook them in the oven with potatoes, grill them in the oven or barbecue them and serve them with a salad and other side dishes.
Now that it’s summer, we go to the beach most of the mornings and going to a decent beach near Athens, is about 40 – 45 km far, so it’s an hour to go and and an hour to come back, so I don’t want to spend much time cooking.
When I make burgers, I usually make a large quantity. I form them into patties and then freeze them. They are so easy to cook and make a very light meal if they are accompanied by a salad. I just thaw them in the morning before going to the beach and when we come back, while I am preparing a salad or an other side dish, I grill them in a robot grill and they are ready in just fifteen minutes, without having to turn them over, as they are cooked with air which circulates under the meat as well. If you grill them in the oven it will take more time, depending on your oven and if you barbecue them they only need a few minutes on each side.
I have made them many times this past month and I served them with either Vlita (amaranthus viridis) or potatoes and carrots wrapped in parchment paper and accompanied them with a cucumber salad.
Each burger I have made weighs 200 grams (uncooked), but it’s up to you to make them bigger or smaller, but this size is quite satisfying even for the men in the family. I also made a batch with feta inside and for the stuffed ones I used the Tupperware Hamburger press. I put half the amount of the meat, pressed it, then added a thin slice of feta, added the remaining meat and pressed it again. It’s easier to enclose the feta inside but you can also do this by making the ground meat flat in your hand palm, putting the feta on top and then covering it on top, then shaping it into a patty.
When served hot, the feta oozes out of the meat making it delicious!
Mpiftekia (Hamburgers) – Recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time:20 minutes
- 2 kilos pork mince or mixed with veal mince
- 2 onions, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 100 ml olive oil
- 150 grams bread crumbs, grated in a food processor (or panko)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup white dry wine
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp oregano
1 cup parsley, finely chopped
- Remove the crust from the bread and process it in a food processor. Put it in a large bowl.
In the same food processor, add the onion, garlic and some olive oil and purée. Put it into the bowl.
- Add the mince, the remaining olive oil and all remaining ingredients and mix well.
At this stage, we can divide them into portions of 200 grams each, wrap them in cling film and freeze them.
- Thaw before cooking.
- You can either bake them in the oven with potatoes or grill them on a cast iron griddle, under the grill of your oven or barbecue them.
In order to bake the burgers in the oven with potatoes and keep them juicy, we start by cooking the potatoes first. After peeling and washing the potatoes, we cut them into wedges and season them with salt, pepper and oregano. We put them in a baking tin and add 1 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup lemon juice and water to almost cover them. When they are baked on the one side, we turn them over and when they are almost done, we make some room for the burgers and put them among the potatoes. We continue cooking them until they brown on top.
Vlita (Amaranthus viridis) is a cosmopolitan species in the botanical family Amaranthaceae and is commonly known as slender amaranth or green amaranth.
Vlita (βλήτα) is one of the varieties of “horta” or greens known in Greek cuisine which are boiled and served with olive oil, vinegar, salt and garlic or olive oil, salt and lemon juice. I prefer the second dressing and have added some boiled potatoes and courgettes and served them with some grated feta on top.
Vlita is a leafy salad with high nutritional value. It pairs well with grilled meat, fish, and other dishes.
Vlita (Boiled greens) with Zucchini
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: about 20 minutes
Serves: about 6
1/2 kilo baby zucchini
1 kilo of vlita (Amaranth)
- Zucchini Flowers (if any)
- 2 liters of water
1 tbsp salt
Olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and oregano
Note: Those who are on a diet, only 1 tbsp olive oil per portion.
- Clean the vegetables and remove the coarse stems. Wash them thoroughly as follows. In a large bowl or basin put water with vinegar (5 litres water to 4 tbsp wine vinegar) and let the leafy greens soak for half an hour in the water. Remove from the basin and discard the water. (This is done in case there are insects on the greens). Then rinse them twice. Wash the courgettes and remove the two edges. Remove the back side of the the zucchini flower as well as the stamen.
- Bring the water to a boil, add salt and add the zucchini. After five minutes test with a fork to see if can be pierced. Once the fork can penetrate add the leafy greens and boil for 7-10 minutes (depending on how tender they are).
- Just before the end add the zucchini flowers and boil for 1 minute.
- Let them strain in colander and cool. Cut the leafy greens into smaller pieces as well as the zucchini.
Serve warm or cold with olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and salt.
Note: if you are on a diet add one tbsp olive oil per portion and as much lemon juice as you like.
Another lovely accompaniment is of course, tzatziki.
One day, when I made mpiftekia, I served them with a Garlicky Cucumber Yoghurt salad. I saw this recipe at Choosy Beggars and I knew I would love it as Cypriot cuisine has an influence from Lebanese cuisine as well.
A delicious salad which is similar to the Greek Tzatziki or Cypriot talatouri, but with all the juices in the cucumber, makes it very refreshing.
Garlicky Cucumber Salad with Yoghurt and Mint – Recipe Choosy Beggars
Preparation time: 10 minutes
- 2 small cucumbers
- 250 ml yoghurt
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
- A little lemon zest (optional)
1 tbsp dried mint
- Wash the cucumber, drain and chop into small cubes with the skin on.
- Put in a strainer with a little salt and leave it for half an hour to remove some of the water.
- Pound the garlic with salt and mix with yogurt, cucumbers, lemon juice, mint and olive oil.
- Refrigerate for a while before serving.
For a side dish, without a lot of calories, I make potatoes and carrots baked in parchment paper.
Roasted Potatoes in parchment paper
Preparation time: 10 minutes
- 2 potatoes, cut into wedges
- 4 carrots, cut into thin slices (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup lemon juice)
- Salt, freshly ground pepper and oregano
- Wash and peel the potatoes and carrots and cut them as above.
- Lay a large piece of aluminum foil and top with a grease proof paper. Put the vegetables as well as the remaining ingredients and mix.
- Wrap the grease-proof paper and wrap them around in aluminum foil to prevent steam escaping and bake in preheated oven to 180 degrees for about 1 hour.
- Unfold the aluminum and grease-proof paper and let them cook some more until they roast. Be careful not to spill the juices.
You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.
Other related Recipes:
Juicy Turkey Burgers
Mpiftekia (Greek Beefburgers)
Sheftalia in Cyprus Pita
Tzatziki or Talatouri
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,