two round white plates next to each other, one with small preserved fish fillets arranged like rays, the other with a black eyed pea salad

Looking for recipes rich in olive oil these days? Here are some from homemakers on the Greek island of Crete: a black eyed pea salad; a spinach, walnut, and garlic dip; octopus cooked in wine; and spicy meatballs (soutzoukakia) with olives and tomato sauce. They are worth trying, because they are part of the Traditional Cretan Diet: The Secret of Longevity.

black eyed pea salad in a glass bowl

This is more of a suggestion than a recipe: cook your black eyed peas, add the chopped vegetables you’d like to eat with them, and toss them all together with salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar. Corn, beans, and sweet pepper can provide an appealing sweetness; vinegar and extra virgin olive oil add a nice contrast. The possibilities are endless!

chickpeas in a glass bowl with yellow and white plumeria flowers next to it

This easy, economical, healthy vegetarian (and vegan) chickpea recipe is a Greek classic commonly eaten by just about anyone. It’s even better if you squeeze fresh lemon juice onto your bowl of chickpeas before eating. Start with dry chickpeas rather than using canned, and soak them overnight; it’s healthier, cheaper, and not at all difficult.

stuffing with olive oil and herbs

This is a wonderful stuffing recipe in which I do not miss the butter one bit; good bakery bread and an excellent extra virgin olive oil make it perfect. The herbs do have a strong flavor, so you can use less than called for if you prefer. See the link at the end for my inspiration and enough suggestions for almost endless variations on this theme.

oranges hanging from trees like Christmas decorations

I've always enjoyed dessert, especially my mother’s holiday creations. But when I learned I was following my mother into pre-diabetes, I decided it was time for a change. If you’ve resolved to eat more healthy food and less added sugar in the New Year, consider my method: stop the sugar, increase the tasty healthy foods, allow yourself bits of sweet treats.

a plate piled high with brown melomakarona cookies, with angel decorations near the plate and a bit of Christmas tree in the background

Melomakarona, traditional Greek Christmas cookies, tend to be rich in olive oil and honey (with the beginning of their name coming from meli, the Greek word for honey). Dr. Eleni Melliou, president of the World Olive Center for Health in Athens, shared a version of her grandmother’s cookie recipe that uses super healthy high phenolic extra virgin olive oil.

Melomakarona cookies and other baked goods in a Greek bakery

Many ask what Christmas time is like in Greece. Is Christmas a major holiday? Yes. Is it on the same day as in the USA? Yes. Are there Christmas trees and gifts? Yes, plus charity bazaars, shopping, choirs, special church services, and Nativity scenes. However, Greek customs and flavors differ from those central to my American holidays in many ways.

apple pie made with olive oil

Okay, so I’m not exactly Greek, but my olive oil is, and my family will tell you that I’m obsessed with it. So obsessed that I almost forgot about Thanksgiving for the first time in 14 years in Crete. So when I decided on a healthier Thanksgiving, that meant one with more olive oil. Let me explain, and then I’ll offer some Thanksgiving recipe suggestions.

Vegetarian Dishes

Desserts, Sweet Snacks, Breakfast Items

Appetizers/Snacks

Salads

Other Main Dishes