Boiled Greens (Horta Vrasta)

20 min Cook
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Boiled Greens (Horta Vrasta)

Boiled Greens (Horta Vrasta)

From winter to spring, you will see many Greeks foraging for wild greens with a knife in hand and a plastic bag or basket. I was 8 years old when my grandmother and aunts taught me which greens are edible, and which are not. Not all greens are created equal. Some are tart, while others are sweet, and yet others are bitter. Some, like wild chervil, are aromatic and fragrant. All my aunts knew which greens go with which type of food, which makes the best pie, and of course my favorite would be when my grandmother would mix all the kinds up and boil them. She would then drink the broth, where today that would be considered a total detox cleaning drink. Who knew. In today’s US grocery stories, I can find spinach, red and green dandelions, chicory, mustard greens, chervil and even purslane; although these are professionally cultivated, I would find their “wild” equivalent out on the foothills of our village on Lesvos Island.
prep time
15 min
cooking time
20 min
total time
35 min


  • Large Stock Pot


  • 3 lbs. Greens (Spinach, Chicory, Red Dandelions, Green Dandelions)

  • 1 Tbsp Salt

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Salt to taste


Using a large stockpot, approx.. 2 quarts or more, bring water, and 1 Tbsp salt to a rolling boil. While you wait for the water to boil, start washing your greens.
In order to properly wash your greens, make sure your kitchen sink is clean and sanitized. The best way is as follows. Fill your sink with water and add all the greens. Makes sure all the greens are submerged in water. Wash them thoroughly. You MUST do this 3 times until you see no more dirt at the bottom of your sink.
Put them in a colander and strain all the water out. By now, your water should be boiling. Add all your greens to the large pot.
As your greens begin to boil, you will notice they float to the top. As a result of this, you may have to use a big wooden spoon to keep submerging them under the boiling water. You may have to do this for the first 5 minutes or so.
Once the greens come to a rolling boil, continue boiling for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off.
If you ARE going to save the broth to drink, then you must use a slotted spoon to remove the greens.
If you are NOT going to save the broth, then place a colander in the sink, turn on the cold water so you don’t burn your pipes, and then slowly pour the greens into the colander, ensuring you don’t get burned.
Once fully drained, place the greens in a platter, add the olive oil, lemon and salt to taste, and serve either hot, warm, or cold.
Enjoy! Bon Appetit! Kali Orexi!


Usually, US stores, like Wholefoods, sell these by the bunches. So I would buy 1-2 bunches of spinach, 1 bunch of chicory, 1 bunch of red dandelions, and 1 bunch of Green dandelions. This recipe follows this mixture. If you are going to save the nutrient-rich broth, strain it through a cheese cloth, or strainer, and save it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Take 1 cup, microwave it, and add some lemon and enjoy.

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