Greek Horta Dish is one of the healthiest foods there is. A mix of leafy greens that are truly fragrant and delicious. With flavors of garlic, tomato, lemon, dill, and lots of extra virgin olive oil!
What Does Horta Mean?
Horta in Greek means greens. It refers to the actual greens and not so much to the type of dish or preparation.
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What's Horta Made From?
Greek Horta is made of mixed wild or cultivated (or both) leafy greens.
In Greece, Horta greens are either served cold as a salad or sauteed and served warm like we do in this recipe.
To make a Horta Salad you need to boil the greens in a big pot with plenty of water. The ratio of greens to water should be at least 1:4. For example 1 kilogram of Horta to 4 liters of water.
You also need to keep the temperature high so the water boils not simmers. In order for the greens to soften properly.
Once cooked, drain the greens in a strainer. Then cool them in an ice bath by sinking the strainer into the water. Or keep the strainer under cold running tap water for a minute or two.
Finally, serve them with some extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice on top. Or add red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice. Another favorite Greek addition is a piece of feta cheese on the side.
In this recipe, Horta (greens) get sauteed along with onion, garlic, green onions, tomato, and plenty of extra virgin olive oil. They're also flavored with dill and lemon.
They're so flavorful and fragrant cooked in their own juices. Can't really call it a sauce as it's too watery, but this juicy herby, lemony, tomato-flavored liquid, produced by the cooked greens is something so tasty to dip your bread in.
How To Make
To make sauteed greens first you need to blanch any wild or bitter greens. Unless they're flavor will be too overwhelming and their texture not too soft. If you prefer greens with a bite and don't mind them being overly bitter you can skip this.
After blanching the wild greens (will mention all varieties in a bit), you begin to saute the onion and garlic, then add the cultivated greens and cook until wilted. Next, add the blanched greens, grated tomato, and olive oil.
Lastly, cover the pan to allow the greens to cook for a couple of minutes. Depending on the greens you are using you may need to add a splash of water if they appear too dry.
Types And Varieties Of Greek Greens (Horta)
Below are the types of greens you can use for making a Horta Dish. You can use as many different types as you like or can find.
- Dandelion greens, either wild or cultivated (both require blanching)
- Amaranth greens (require blanching)
- Collard Greens
- Curly Endive
- Common Sowthistle (requires blanching)
- Mediterranean Hartworth (requires blanching)
- Wild Radish (requires blanching)
You can see more wild greens here.
Greek Horta are usually served as a side dish to fish dishes or sometimes even meat. You can serve them together with a Grilled Sea Bream for example, or Grilled Squid, or even some Oven-Roast Sardines.
Greek Horta Recipe
- 500 grams (17.6 ounce) mixed greens (spinach, collard, amaranth, dandelion, common sowthistle)
- 12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 40 grams (½ medium-sized) red onion
- 30 grams (1 small) green onion minced
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- 180 grams ( 1 large ) ripe tomato grated on hand-grated skin discarded
- 2 ½ tablespoons dill minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice fresh
- ½ lemon zest
- OPTIONAL: feta cheese
Prepare The Horta:
- If using wild greens (amaranth, dandelion, common sowthistle) you will need to blanch them first. Add plenty of water to a large cooking pot and bring to a boil. Fill a large bowl with cold water and toss in some ice cubes.
- After washing the greens thoroughly (see note 1) add them to the hot boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes and then transfer to the bowl with the cold water. Once cooled transfer to a strainer and let them drain. Once drain chop into smaller parts.
- The spinach and collard greens don't need to be blanched. Chunky chop them cutting the stems a bit more finely.
- Separate the green parts from the white parts of the green onion. Finely chop both but keep them separately.
Cook The Horta:
- Heat 8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan. Add the red onion and cook over low heat until caramelized.
- Add the white parts of the green onion and the garlic. Cook for a minute. Then add the spinach and collard greens in batches. Raise heat to high and saute until greens are wilted.
- Stir in the blanched greens as well. Cook for a minute and add the grated tomato and green parts of the green onions. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil turn the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the stems of the greens are tender enough. If necessary add a splash of water.
- Add the dill, lemon juice, and zest and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Serve warm with bread for dipping.