Crete’s powerful horto (green leaf)

Stamnagathi is a wild chicory variety with spiny leaves that grows mainly in the island of Crete. It is considered as one of Cretans’ hidden secrets for well-being and longevity.

stamnagathi1Combining a bitter and sweet flavor with an exquisite aftertaste that no other wild green can match, stamnagathi stands for a trademark of Cretan cuisine.

Stamnagathi’s spiny leaves contain a sour and sugary substance featuring therapeutic properties. It is rich in Vitamins E and C, Omega 3 fats, and it has a high concentration of calcium and iron.

Known since ancient times, it has been used as a medicine due to its antiseptic and anti-rheumatic properties. In Crete, people boil Stamnagathi leaves as a remedy for stomachache, while the leaves can also be consumed with salt and lemon to increase the defense of the peptic system from various diseases, as they have been proven therapeutic for liver, gallbladder and kidney deficiencies. Eaten raw it is ideal for the detoxification of the liver and it can also reduce blood glucose levels, being a strong natural diuretic.

Stamnagathi is ideal for salads and pies, boiled or stewed dishes, experimenting with gourmet recipes, and it is even eaten raw, in combination with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice to make a complete and healthy meal full of antioxidants.

MLGFB Tip: Hot to make a hot stamnagathi salad (4 serves)

stamnagathi2Ingredients: 600 gr. stamnagathi stemmed and washed, 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 lemon, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Add water in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the salt and stamnagathi. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Drain and squeeze out excess water.
  • Chop the onion and garlic
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add onion and garlic and sweat on low heat until translucent, about 4-6 minutes
  • Add Stamnagathi and continue to cook for another 2 minutes
  • Place Stamnagathi in a large bowl and mix in salt, pepper and lemon juice
  • Serve hot

Photo Credits: Photo 1, Photo 2, Header Photo

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