Greek food is all about simple, fresh ingredients that aren’t fussy, expensive or hard to come by. You’ll rarely see a Greek dish use more than a couple of spices, often relying on fresh herbs, lemon juice and olive oil for flavor.
This dandelion salad is the epitome of Greek simplicity, it’s incredibly easy to prepare and so, so versatile. You just boil a bunch of dandelion greens until tender, strain, drizzle with high-quality olive oil, lemon juice and salt. It’s traditionally enjoyed either warm and cold, although I personally find it tastes better warm.
I usually have mine with some fish, dried olives, pickled veggies and/or feta cheese drizzled with olive oil and dried oregano.
Below I’ve served them with some steamed halibut, pickled carrots and salt-cured “botija” olives (aka LIFE).
Another combo I like a lot, is “horta” with spicy eggs, whether poached, fried, or baked. I love Turkish poached eggs with yogurt (“cilbir”), as well as soft-boiled eggs fried in ghee with sumac or zaatar seasoning (pictured below).
For Greeks, “horta” is a go-to salad, besides the world famous “horiatiki”, and it’s especially common when tomatoes are out of season. Don’t let it’s simplicity fool you! The bitterness of the dandelions, the tartness of the lemon and warm aroma of the olive oil create a beautiful, yet simple flavor profile.
Just make sure you use high quality (cold-pressed, organic) olive oil!
- 1 bunch washed dandelion leaves
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (or mor to taste)
- 2 glugs olive oil
- salt to taste
- 1-2 garlic cloves (optional)
- Soak dandelion greens in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tsp salt for 10 minutes. Drain. (optional but will help reduce the bitterness)
- Bring medium pot of water to boil.
- Reduce heat to medium, add the dandelions and let them cook for 4-5 minutes, until tender but not mushy. The dandelions should preserve their bright green color. If they are brownish, they are overcooked. If you’re worried, keep an eye on them while they cook and taste them as you go along.
- When the dandelions are soft, take them out and let them strain.
- Transfer to a bowl, and drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Mix well and transfer to a serving plate.
- Tip: If you can tolerate raw garlic, top the salad of with some crushed fresh garlic!