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Nistisimes Syntages – Food for the Soul (Lenten Recipes)

Nistisimes Syntages –  Food for the Soul (Lenten Recipes)

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“Nistisimes Syntages” are the Lenten recipes the Orthodox can eat during fasting periods.   The Orthodox religion has a lot of fasting periods.  The period of the Great Lent starts on Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday) and this period is called Saracosti. 

During the period of Saracosti  the faithful fast for a period of 48 days and not 40, as it is falsely believed: the six weeks of Lent and Holy Week.  This is not obligatory and most people fast for a couple of weeks before Easter.  

The fasting period of Easter ends after the resurrection of Jesus.  

The Christmas fasting period starts on the 15th November and ends on the 24th December.  From the 15th November till the 17th December, fish is allowed to be consumed but not on Wednesdays and Fridays, which in any case all Wednesdays and Fridays of the year are fasting days.

The fasting period before the Assumption of the Virgin, starts on the 1st of August and ends on the 14th of August and of course there are many other days when fasting is part of our religion.

Meat and animal prod­ucts (cheese, milk, butter, eggs, lard), fish (meaning fish with backbones), olive oil and wine (all alcoholic drinks) are not consumed during the weekdays of Great Lent.   

Octopus and shell-fish are allowed, as is vegetable margarine, shortening, and vegetable oils, gelatin, olives, as well as honey are allowed.collage Nistisima image

On weekends, olive oil and wine are permitted. Fish is permitted only on two Sundays during the Lenten period: on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) and on Palm Sunday (one week before Easter).

The purpose of fasting is to cleanse the body as well as the spirit in preparation for accepting the Resurrection at Easter, which is the most sacred of all observances in the Greek Orthodox faith.

Through fasting, we also learn to feel compassion for the poor and hungry and to save our own resources so that we can help those in need.

During this period I shall try and post mainly Nistisimes Syntages (Lenten recipes).   However,  I do have lots of recipes I have prepared before Lent, which I shall also post.

If you exclude the recipes with seafood, gelatine and honey all other recipes here are vegan:

I apologize if in some of the links you do not find some of my Cypriot “nistisimes syntages”.  This means that they have been included in my cookbook and had to be removed.

However, feel free to email me and I will send you the recipe.

Collage Lenten Recipes image

Nistisimes Syntages (Lenten Recipes)

Main Dishes:

Arakas Laderos (Peas with carrots in tomato sauce)

Agginares (artichokes) a la Polita

Ampelofassoula or louvi (fresh black-eyed peas salad)

Aromatic Blackeyed Peas with Wild Greens and Quinoa

Black-eyed peas with spinach and Swiss chard in tomato sauce

Black Giant Beans with Spinach and Pasta

Briam (vegetable medley)

Chickpea Burgers

Gemista (stuffed tomatoes and peppers)

Gigantes Plaki (Baked Giant beans)

Koupepia (Dolmadakia) Gialantzi (stuffed vine leaves with rice and herbs)

Fasolada (White beans in tomato sauce)

Fakes Moutzentra (Cypriot lentils with rice)

Koukia (Fava Beans) with Lemon  Sauce

Kounoupidi me Patates Kapamas (stewed cauliflower with potatoes)


Mpamies Giahni (stewed okra)

Koukia (Broad Beans, peas and artichokes à la Polita)

Fasolia Mavrommatika (Black-eyed peas)

Fassolia Piaz (Greek White beans salad)

Fasolakia Giahni  (Braised Green beans in tomato sauce)

Lentils with Carrοts, Orzo and Caramelized Onions

Lentils and Bulgur Spicy Salad/Pilaf

Patates lemonates (oven baked lemony potatoes)

Patates Antinahtes (whole potatoes with red wine)

Penne with Mushrooms, Roasted Garlic, Cilantro and Marinara Sauce

Penne Skordalia (garlic dip) with Courgettes and Olives

Pilafi pourgouri- (without the meat) Bulgur wheat pilaf

Pommes Lyonnaises (potatoes with onions)

Revithia (stewed chickpeas with spinach)

Revithokeftedes me Garides (Shrimp – chickpea patties)

Revithokeftedes (chickpea patties)

Rice pilaf with vegetables and vermicelli

Spanakoryzo (Spinach with rice)

Veggie burgers


Garides (Shrimps) Saganaki

Htapodi me makaronaki Kofto (Octopus with pasta)

Htapodi (Octopus) Salad

Kalamaria Gemista (Stuffed Squid)

Octopus Risotto

Shrimp Risotto

Shrimp Risotto (2)

Stewed Thrapsala (squid) with Mushrooms 

Three recipes with Thrapsala (Short fin squid)


Borscht (beetroot soup)

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Fakes (Lentil Soup)

Fava and Pumpkin Soup

Hoummous Soup (chickpeas soup)

Vegetable puree soup with pasta

Bread / Snacks:

Aladoti Eliopita (No Oil Olive Bread with Tahini)

Bourekia me manitaria (turnovers with mushrooms)

Eliopita (olive pies)

Eliopsomo (Olive Bread)

Eliopsomο (olive bread) with Pesto

Elioti (Olives Roulade)

Focaccia with Kalamata Olives

Kolokotes (Squash Turnovers)

Koulouri Thessalonikis

Koupes with Mushrooms

Ladenia (Greek style pizza)

Lagana with Garlicky Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Rosemary

Lagana (a flatbread)

Olives and Carrot Bread Sticks and rolls

Tahninopita (Tahini filled pastry)

Tahinopsomo (Tahini Bread)

Tahinopita me Mila (Tahini Bread with Apple Filling)

Dips / appetizers / mezedes:

Taramosalata (Roe dip)

Melitzanosalata (Eggplant dip)

Houmous (chickpeas dip)


Elies tsakistes (green crushed olives)

Elies Kalamon (kalamata olives)

Pantzaria Xydata (Beets preserved in vinegar)

Spanakopita nistisimi (vegan spinach pie)

Black-eyed pea patties

Revithokeftedes (Chickpea Patties)

Mpiftekia Revithion

Snails Stiffado Saganaki (without the feta)


Acquafaba (vegan meringues)

Almond and Strawberry Halvas

Akoumia (Symian Doughnuts)


Bougatsa (a vegan custard filled pastry)

Butternut Squash Mandarin Cake with Butternut Squash – Almond Glaze 

Carrot cake with chocolate

Carrot and Banana Cake

Cherry Olive Oil Cake

Chocolate Avocado Cake

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Carrot Cake with Chocolate-Tahini Glazing

Chocolate Orange Cake and Muffins

Chocolate Puddings

Coconut Whipped Cream

Daktyla (almond filled lady fingers)

Fanouropita (olive oil spice cake)

Halvas (store bought) and Bourekia me Halva

Halvas with Chocolate, Nuts & Dried Fruit

Halvas with fruit and almonds

Halvades:  Creative Pot Halvades

Kalon Prama (Samali)


Ladlokouloura (Olive oil biscotti)

Loukoumades (Doughnuts)

Mini Apple Turnovers with Homemade Apple Sauce

Meringues with Acquafaba

Moustalevria (grape must pudding)


Pischies (Pastry bathed in syrup)

Pastelli (Sesame Honey Candy with Peanuts)

Roxakia (Orange Dough Cookies)

Rosotto (Rose flavoured rice pudding)

Ryzogalo (Rice Pudding) Gluten and Lactose Free

Samali (semolina cake with mandarin and coconut)

Shiamishi (pastry filled with semolina pudding)

Strawberries with Chocolate

Tahinopita (Tahini Bread) with Apples

Tahinopsomo (Star Shaped Tahini Bread)

Vegan Butternut Squash Mandarin cake

Vegan Dessert with Store Bought Halvas

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.

Lenten Recipes

During the Greek Orthodox Fasting period, meat and animal prod­ucts (cheese, milk, butter, eggs, lard), fish (meaning fish with backbones), olive oil and wine (all alcoholic drinks) are not consumed during the weekdays of Great Lent.    Octopus and shell-fish are allowed, as is vegetable margarine, shortening, and vegetable oils, gelatin, olives, as well as honey are allowed.

Main Dishes




Collage Getting Ready for Easter image

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

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Thursday 10th of September 2015

Amazing Recipe and excellent experience of Cooking . This recipe seems easy to me i will try this within this week :)


Wednesday 18th of March 2015

looking so delicious and easy to make, thanks for sharing such a wonderful article.


Tuesday 5th of August 2014

Nice collection of recipes. The shrimp risotto looks really good. I will be preparing some meals for lent as well.


Tuesday 31st of March 2009

This is absolutely wonderful, Ivy. Thank you posting these lenten dishes. I'm going to make fakes soupa tomorrow. Take care!


Friday 6th of March 2009

Wow Ivy - and what will you cook for tomorrow (hahahaha). I love these customs and how people can change and do things they don't normally do when they feel purpose. Beautiful array of yummies.

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