Horta and potatoes are a Mediterranean diet recipe 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. The most recent study shows the correlation between dementia and daily green intake.
The most important part of this dish is the extra virgin olive oil. This dish shows how much extra virgin olive oil is used in Crete. 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 daily 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 dish 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.
Check out the Instant Pot version of this recipe here!
Horta (Greens) with Potatoes (Recipe and How-To Video)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 2 bunches swiss chard, stems removed and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 package spinach, stems removed and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 6 baby potatoes, peeled and cut into halves
- 10 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/2 lemon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium sized pot (the less wide, the better) add olive oil and water.
- Add all other ingredients except for lemon juice.
- Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer.
- Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring often. Add more water, if needed, but most of the water should boil out leaving mostly olive oil.
- Add lemon juice in last few minutes of cooking. Salt and pepper, to taste.
This is a great recipe for a healthy and delicious side dish. I love the addition of the potatoes.
I have been waiting to make this recipe for way too long, given I love most of your recipes. But I found myself with a bunch of extra potatoes and decided to get the greens and finally do it. It is simply delicious. Not only does it take only a few prep minutes , it is so good. Will definitely be putting it into my regular recipes. Thanks once again for showing us the good side of Mediterranean dieting!
Glad you enjoyed it. I love the rustic and healthy feel of this recipe.
This is one of my favorite recipes I’ve made so far from this website. I ended up using purple potatoes I got from the farmers market. I appeared to have a higher ratio of greens to potatoes than what the picture shows, which was fine with me. Additionally, I ended up using spinach and kale because I couldn’t find any Swiss chard when I made this. No matter, it was still delicious! Can’t wait to make this again!
This was great!!! Thanks!
This was delicious! Thanks!!!
Absolutely stunning. Full of simple yet well married flavours and exquisite on the palate.
Due to the amount of oil necessary I tried to find something more authentic than my usual extra virgin olive oil and found a Greek Kalamata oil in my local supermarket. More expensive than my usual but oh so worth it.
This dish is a total winner with me. I used British spring cabbage in place of the chard [as the supermarket with the Kalamata oil didn’t have chard] but everything else I followed to the letter.
Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad you loved it so much!