Greek boiled greens with faux feta

By Wendy Andresen | May 09, 2018
Photo by: Wendy Andresen

Boiled greens, or horta vrasta, are a staple of the Greek diet. You can use any combination of dark greens in this dish, such as chickory, turnip greens, curly endive, kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, or dandelions. Dandelions are abundant now, both in the wild and at the supermarket. I’ve taken liberties and kicked it up a notch with the raisins and pignolis. Just be sure to rid the greens of all sand and dirt before cooking. Wash twice to be on the safe side. Greens reduce to a fraction of their original quantity when boiled, so this recipe makes just two generous portions.

Toasting pignolis intensifies their rich flavor. To toast them in the oven, place them on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 9 to 15 minutes or so, checking and stirring often until they’re slightly golden, with hints of butterscotch color. They’re so expensive it would be a shame to scorch them, which can happen in the blink of an eye. But as long as you’ve got the oven heated up, you might as well toast quite a lot of them and then refrigerate them until you’re ready to make pesto or something else yummy.

Ingredients for boiled greens

1 1/2 pounds dark greens, thick stems removed, cut into 3-inch pieces

1/4 cup toasted pignoli nuts (pine nuts)

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (use your best!)

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of baking soda

Directions for boiled greens

1. Bring a cauldron of water to a rapid boil and add salt and a pinch of baking soda. The baking soda helps the greens cook faster and keeps them greener. Don’t add more than a pinch, or the greens will turn to mush. Boil for five minutes, or more if necessary. Pull out one of the thicker pieces and taste for texture.

2. Drain the greens thoroughly in a colander and toss them in a serving bowl with pignolis, raisins, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper to taste.

3. Garnish with plenty of faux feta and serve with garlic bread and extra lemon wedges.

Ingredients for faux feta

7 ounces extra-firm tofu, such as Heiwa

1 tsp. lactic acid powder or 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried marjoram

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted

Directions for faux feta

1. Line a small bowl with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of extra hanging over the edges. The bowl must hold a little over a cup. A cereal bowl works fine.

2. Slice the tofu into five slabs or so and press them very dry on a tea towel.

3. Crumble the tofu into a food processor and add the other ingredients, except the coconut oil. Process well. Add the coconut oil and process until creamy and thoroughly mixed.

4. Transfer the mixture into the plastic-lined bowl and press down firmly, folding over the plastic wrap to help press down.

5. Chill thoroughly for several hours.

This feta is so delicious you’ll want to smear some on your bread, too, or make a Greek salad very soon.

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