This horta recipe has been one of our most popular recipes on Mediterranean Living for a long time and now the Instant Pot version is here! The normal version takes around an hour to cook. Horta (Greens) and potatoes in the instant pot takes only 15 minutes! The end result is amazingly the same.
Different versions of Horta and potatoes are eaten every day in Crete. In the springtime, it’s a normal sight to see the older ladies of the village foraging on the side of the road for wild edible greens.
All year long there are a wide variety of edible greens available at the farmer’s markets. Potatoes are a staple in the Cretan diet. The flavor of both Horta and potatoes are enhanced with fresh lemon juice. Citrus trees grow everywhere in Crete so it’s as simple as walking to the nearest lemon tree and picking them. Combine these greens, potatoes, and lemon with lots of fresh extra virgin olive oil and you have one of the healthiest, inexpensive, and fulfilling dishes from Crete.
Horta and potatoes are a perfect example of why scientists believe the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle is so intertwined with longevity. Physical activity is a large part of this dish because whether you forage for the greens, grow and harvest the potatoes, or tend to the olive trees and pick the olives, there is some amount of physical activity needed to bring this dish from nature to your plate.
Daily physical activity is definitely one of the reasons for the Cretan’s longevity. Another aspect is the daily intake of dark leafy greens. I see new scientific studies all the time finding health benefits from eating dark leafy greens. One of the most recent studies shows the correlation between dementia and daily green intake.
The most important part of this horta recipe is the extra virgin olive oil. This dish shows how much extra virgin olive oil is used in Crete. Extra virgin olive oil is at the heart of their diet and of the Mediterranean diet in general. Just like greens, new studies are coming out almost weekly about all of the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil. Cretan people consume the most olive oil in the world and Horta and potatoes are always dripping in the liquid gold.
Is it a coincidence that the place with the highest consumption of extra virgin olive oil in the world also has the lowest rates of heart disease in the world? This horta recipe is much more than wild greens and potatoes. Thousands of years of tradition and knowledge have led the Cretan people to eat amazing foods like this.
The Instant Pot we use is the 6 quart version. It is just right for recipes that serve 4 all the way up to 8 servings. For us, it seems to be the perfect size. Below is the one we purchased from Amazon. I highly recommend it!
George studied International Business in Greece in 2015 for three semesters. His family is from the island of Crete, and he lived with them for a whole summer. During that time, he started working for Mediterranean Living and contributing his firsthand experiences of the traditional Cretan diet. He learned fluent Greek along the way, being fully immersed in a traditional Cretan village. He is since graduated with a business degree from Worcester State University. George loves language and traveling, so he completed a TEFL certificate program at the Boston Language Institute in order to teach English abroad and travel the world. He currently works full-time blogging, recipe formulating, and social media marketing for Mediterranean Living. His passions include language, gardening, hiking, skateboarding, and watching sports. He dreams of living in Crete one day, after he travels the world learning as many languages and cultures as possible.