The Mediterranean diet is good for your health
Spring is an important time of year in the Mediterranean diet. On the Greek Islands, locals are known to forage for an abundance of wild greens that nature provides known as “horta”. In Greece there are over 300 different edible wild green species such as dandelion, chicories, arugula, spinach, endive as well as an abundance of wild herbs. Their health benefits are believed supreme and are considered a superfood.
In Australia, many of these species can be purchased through supermarkets, organic produce outlets and farmers markets. Of course, you can also grow an abundance of greens yourself which takes eating your “horta” to the next level. There’s something so satisfying about watching something grow, cultivating it and preparing it into a healthy meal. You also know where it’s come from and can whole hearty know that your produce is organic.
One thing to remember when preparing Horta is that your greens will wilt to nothing so more is better!
There’s no limitations to the greens you can include, whatever you like will work. The recipe is flexible and will of course work with more greens or less. Adjust the herbs and spices to suit your palate – there really is no right or wrong here.
2 large bunches silverbeet
1 large bunch mixed kale
1 large bowl mixed spinach varieties
1 large leek
1 large cup freshly finely chopped parsley
1 large cup fresh finely chopped dill
1 lemon (or more to taste)
Olive oil (locally produced or Greek extra virgin olive oil is best for this)
- Start by soaking your greens for at least an hour in some water and apple vinegar. Give them a good rinse and roughly chop the leaves and finely chop the stems.
- Boil a large pot of water and add the greens to the water. Cook until the stems are soft.
- Once cooked, drain the greens- water from this can be reserved for drinking (the Greek use this as an elixir) or simply use it to water the garden.
- Finely chop the leek (white part and some of the green) and fry in some olive oil until translucent and soft.
- Add your drained greens to the leek and throw in the dill and parsley.
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Add the juice from your lemon (add more/less to taste) and combine the mixture by giving it a good stir.
- Drizzle with as much olive as desired.
Horta is perfect to eat on its own, or it can be used as a lovely side dish for chicken, lamb or fish.
It can be kept in the fridge for two days after being prepared, but to be honest it makes you feel so good it probably won’t last that long.
Try giving your Horta an extra special twist by:
- Adding some dried chilli flakes
- Swap out the lemon juice for finely chopped preserved lemon
- Swap leek for white onion
- Use melted grass fed butter instead of olive oil for frying and drizzling