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!

 

Mediterranean Diet Weight Loss Plan

Horta (Greens) with Potatoes (Recipe and How-To Video)

4.75 from 8 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine Crete, Greek
Servings 6
Calories 401 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 401kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 5gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 257mgPotassium: 912mgFiber: 4gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 10558IUVitamin C: 61mgCalcium: 118mgIron: 4mg
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.
About the Author: Koula Barydakis
Koula Barydakis was born into a long tradition of eating and living Mediterranean on the Greek island of Crete. She is a chef who has worked in many of the top restaurants in Crete and in Greek Town in Toronto, Canada. Koula is the co-author of “Foods of Crete, Traditional Recipes of the Healthiest People in the World” and is currently completing her second cookbook. Koula teaches cooking classes to tourists in Crete and has been hired to teach classes in other countries as well.

5 Comments

  1. Roger A Wyatt August 22, 2022 at 1:18 am - Reply

    5 stars
    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!

  2. Batbara Jahn July 7, 2022 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    This was great!!! Thanks!

  3. Batbara Jahn July 7, 2022 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    This was delicious! Thanks!!!

  4. Deborah May 14, 2018 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    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.
    Bliss.

    • George Zikos May 15, 2018 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad you loved it so much!

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