Horta - How My Parents Got Me to Eat Nourishing Greens As A Child



My love affair with "horta" all began one summer in Greece when I was 7 years old.   I'm not talking about a romantic affair but a love of eating typical Greek cuisine.  I couldn't get enough of horta.  I asked for it morning, noon and night which made my parents very happy. I loved squeezing the fresh lemon juice on it.  I still love it!  It's super easy to make and extremely nutritious.  The Greeks serve it hot or cold.  

So what is Horta?

The definition of "horta" literally means weeds.  My Greek stepfather explained to me that horta really comes from "wild mountain greens" that are native to Greece's countryside.  These include wild spinach, fennel leaves, nettles, poppy leaves, dandelions, purslane, amaranth, beetroot leaves and much more.  He told me he would pick these wild greens from the hillsides with his mother and sister while his father was out fishing.  Even today in the countryside you can still see old Greek women collecting these greens and putting them in their baskets.  How I wish I could go home with them and eat dinner.  

Horta is basically steamed greens with fresh lemon juice, first cold pressed olive oil and a little sea salt.  You can make it with just about any greens.  I have made horta by using fresh organic spinach, swiss chard, baby dandelions and beet greens.  Today I made Horta from swiss chard!  YUM!  Dandelion Tip: Dandelion Leaves tend to be bitter so use younger leaves if possible.  Dandelion also taste milder when combined with another milder green such as Swiss Chard. 

So here is my stepfather's simple yet delicious recipe for horta.  

How to make Horta:

  • A bunch of (organic) wild greens, dandelion greens, swiss chard or any other king of greens you like.

  • 1/2 - 1 lemon (juice)

  • 1-2 TBSP of 1st cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Wash your greens of choice,

  2. Add a little water to the bottom of a sauce pan, boil and add the greens. Or steam them till tender.

  3. Drain the water and add to a medium sized bowl.

  4. Add olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a little salt right before serving.

Mix it together and enjoy!!  Horta tastes good cold too!


Question:  What was your favorite meal your mom made you when you were a kid?  I always asked for lasagna and the funny thing is when my little nieces come over they always ask me to make them lasagna with meatballs.  LOL!  Looking forward to your response in the comment box. 

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