Boiled Amaranth Greens aka Vlita

2014-12-04 21.10.14Greeks eat alot of greens in their diet and you should too! Amaranth greens or as we call it, “Vlee-ta” (βλήτα), is eaten lot with fish and seafood and it can be found growing wild throughout Greece.

What others consider weeds and a garden nuisance is someone else’s culinary gold!
It’s of course also cultivated to supply the large Greek demand for the tasty, slightly bitter greens.

Amaranth is a close relative of spinach and beets so you know it’s packing lots of iron and this kind of stuff it’s good for your blood.

For those in North America, I’ve attached a photo of Amaranth as it looks like when you’re seeking it out at the market. The beautiful photo is provided by Alanna Kellogg of Kitchen Parade.

I often find Amaranth in Asian markets (sometimes labeled “red spinach” or “callaloo”). I’m sure you will too!2014-12-04 12.00.46

Amaranth Greens (Vlita/βλήτα)

1 bunch of Amaranth greens (about the size of a bouquet of roses)
 2 cups water
sea salt
extra virgin Greek olive oil
juice of half a lemon

  1. Fill your kitchen basin with water. Chop your greens and place in the water to soak and release it’s sand and dirt. Repeat the process until the water is no longer sandy or dirty (usually 2 or 3 times).
  2. Rinse your Amaranth and a large pot on your stovetop, add water and bring to a boil. Add enough salt where you can taste it and once the water returns to a boil, add the thicker stemmed pieces in first. Allow them to steam/simmer for 4 minutes. Now add the remaining (thin stemmed pieces and leafs) to the water steam/simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until just fork-tender.
  3. Empty your boiled vlita into a large colander and run cold water over it until cooled to warm and allow to drain.
  4. Lower to medium and simmer for approx. 15 minutes or until the stems are fork tender.
  5. Empty into a bowl and add some extra virgin olive oil, juice of half a lemon and toss to coat well. Adjust for seasoning with salt.
  6. Serve warm or cold with fish or seafood or with a dollop of Skordalia on top.

© 2014,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

31 Comments for “Boiled Amaranth Greens aka Vlita”

San Francisco Photos

says:

Hi there …

Foreign Cinema is still alive and kicking in San Francisco. Although I have not been there lately I hear it’s still doing well. I do see their advertisements for films once in a while. I do think the idea of Foreign Cinema is great but with our unpredictable weather here in San Francisco it might be best suitable for a warmer city.

Bellini Valli

says:

The next step after reading about something is trying it. I do rememeber seeing it on some menus..I guess another trip to Greece is in order for fresh figs and vleeta.

Anna Haight

says:

Ditto Pam. What a find! I’ll be looking for it locally. Thanks for participating in this week’s WHB.

Wandering Chopsticks

says:

I never knew Greeks ate this too. Vietnamese eat it in soup or simply blanched and dipped in fish sauce. :)

Heather

says:

That looks just lovely as usual, Peter. Amaranth grows well here, maybe I’ll throw some in the garden this spring!

bigfish_chin

says:

Oh… i thought this is only appear on the Asian Dinning Table :)
This is great… can even serve with some fried mini sardines!

Laurie Constantino

says:

Peter! You know I love my horta, and vlita is a great one. I’ll bet they were great with the fried mussles. YUM!

Núria

says:

Never eaten Amarantos, Peter. I thought it was a ornamental plant/flower! I don’t think it’s sold in the markets here… maybe I need a trip to Greece to get the real thing!!!!! :D

Instead, today for lunch, we are having Acelgas con papatas – Chard with potatoes. I love green!

Ivy

says:

Sorry Peter but it’s the only greens I can’t eat.
Nuria, I am not sure but I think the plant/flower amarantos meaning the “one that does not wither”, or the never-fading (flower),is of the same species but not the same.

Maryann

says:

We love the bitter greens also. As a child, I remember going to pick dandelion greens (and others) with my grandmother. I never had this Peter. If I come across it, I will def give it a go.

winedeb

says:

Have never seen this green, but have heard of it. Not sure where I will find it down here, but will check it out. Such a pretty green!

kellypea

says:

Hmmm…do they always have the purple center? I purchased something similar last fall at Chino Farms and loved it but can’t remember the name. I’ve never seen it in any market locally.

MVerivakiAThotmailDOTcom

says:

when you buy amaranth, do you know where and when it was grown? in greece, amnaranth is only grown in summer, and never in a greenhouse

Peter M

says:

Maria, here in Canada markets must & do label where produce comes from.

At this time of the year, produce can come from any warm climate and/or greenhouses.

Amaranth can & does grow in a Canadian summer but if we only ate local, we’d have a mighty diet of snow.

nightship538

says:

My mom grew it in her garden (here in California), brought seed over from Greece. It totally took over the whole space and we got very sick of vlita year after year, LOL

maria

says:

Does anyone know where I can buy the seed to grow it? I had it in Greece, brought it over to New York, grew it and loved it. Now I’m in California, anyone know where I can buy the seed?
Maria

Julie

says:

I know that plant as pigweed; I’ve always heard that it was edible, but never had it. It grows in my garden plot as a weed.

I’m already weeding out and eating purslane. I’ll have to try this next summer too.

Anonymous

says:

I just returned from a trip to Tanzania, in east Africa. Several times we bought bunches of a leaf vegetable in the markets, which was called mchicha in Swahili; I liked it very much but had no idea what it was.

A bit of later research revealed that it was amaranth– and that its “pigweed” form was one of the most vexatious unidentified weeds in my garden! Just yesterday I found it in a local (Portland, OR) Chinese grocery… funny how often these things come full circle.

Pat

says:

I found these at my local chinese market. They were tasty chopped and mixed with diakon, green onions and vinagrette. I’m looking forward to trying them steamed.