Blog ENG, Nature & Food, Rhodes island
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Recipes from Rhodes – The Beetroot – παντζαρια

This winter on the island of Rhodes gave me the chance to meet beetroot a bit closer. In Hungary we have a kind of beetroot salad, but I was never into that so much. In general about food I prefer the ‘mediterranean’ approach with its simplicity and always fresh and seasonal ingreedients. During December, January you could see beautiful fresh beetroots with huge stems and leafs everywhere on Rhodes – on the market, in grocery stores, supermarkets, etc. So I could not resist to buy a big bunch of them. I wanted to prepare them the way I usually do, and then my Greek friend Katerina came and gave me some lessons about beetroot. And then Vangelis Pavlidis came and shared some other secrets with me about this fantastic plant, and the way how Greeks prepare it in the traditional way. Which is so simple – as Greeks don’t like to make things difficult – and quick. So now I am sharing this knowledge with you too. Spread the word and cook like Greeks! 🙂

Okay, the first big difference between the Hungarian and the Greek way of preparing beetroot is the parts of the plant that we use. Greeks use the whole plant – not only the root. The stem and the leafs are really popular and precious ingredients in Greek kitchen.


I faced this first when Katerina came over and went crazy when she saw me throwing out the stems and the leafs of the beetroot. Yes, that time I was a bit under-educated about beetroot – but this is how we learn. 🙂 Greeks cook these parts also, and serve them together with the roots as part of the salad, or separate as ‘horta’ (χόρτα). And Katerina also taught me some very simple ways of making beetroot salad together with any ingredient from the fridge.

So let’s see this little collection of recipes I gathered in Greece recently.

The basic beetroot salad – παντζαρια (panzaria) – also known as κοκκινογούλια (kokkinogoulia) in some parts of Greece


one big fresh bouquet of beetroot, salt, water


Take the whole bunch of beetroot and cut off the greens. Wash and rinse several times. Separate the red stems from the leaves. Scrub the beets well and cook in boiling salted water for about 30 minutes, and then add the stems. After 5 minutes add the leaves too and cook them together until the beets are tender. Skin the beets, chop into pieces and place into a bowl. Top with the boiled leaves and stems.

So simple, so majestic. And now according to your taste here you are three varieties of dressing to boost the taste of beetroot:

Dressing #1 – by Vangelis Pavlidis: σκορδοστουμπι / skordostoupi – The Original One

Vangelis told me that this dressing always came together with the panzaria in a separate bottle in most of the Rhodian taverns in the past. Nowadays you could hardly find a place where they serve this skordostoumbi. Because of the western-influenced gastronomy wave, slowly it disappeared from the tables of the tavernas…

The σκορδοστουμπι (skordostupi) is: finely chopped garlic with vinegar.

Dressing #2: variation of σκορδοστουμπι (skordostupi)

Mix them together: vinegar, finely chopped garlic, olive oil, plus some spoon of the water where you boiled the beetroot in.


Dressing with vinegar and garlic / Source: wikimedia commons

Dressing #3: σκορδαλιά (skordalia) – The Greek garlic sauce

stale bread pieces chopped, few cloves of garlic (depending on the taste), salt, few tablespoons of white vinegar, olive oil, some water
Remove crusts from bread and cut roughly into pieces. Place into an electric blender and add the garlic, salt, olive oil and vinegar. Blend it carefully and add some water to have a smooth dressing at the end.


Panzaria with skordalia in Patmos island / Photo: Mariann Lipcsei

Katerina’s beetroot salad

So this is my friend, Katerina’s beetroot salad that she made the last time when she came over to visit me. Whatever she found in my fridge and kitchen, she put inside and mixed them together. The result was an amazing number one healthy salad! 


2-3 beetroots, a half cabbage (I had the white one at home), carrot, parsley (finely chopped), olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, 1 mandarin, feta cheese


Clean the beetroots and grate them with a cheese grater. Cut the cabbage into slight pieces. Mix them together with the finely chopped parsley. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and some feta cheese – according to your taste. At the end you can squeeze the mandarin and add its liquid too. I had one grapefruit in the kithcen, so Katerina chopped some and we put it also into the salad.




Anastasia’s beetrootsalad

Anastasia is a real Greek housewife and a good friend from Kalithies village. We spent the last Christmas day in her house and of course it was a never-ending meal with amazing food creations. My favourite was her simple but unforgettable beetroot salad.


beetroot, avocado, olive oil, red vinegar, salt, pepper


Clean and peal the beetroot, than grate it with a cheese grater into small pieces. Peel the avocado and smash it well. Mix them and add the rest ingredients according to your taste.

+1 EXTRA: mediterranean beetroot salad with thyme 

I have learnt this recipe in Hungary from a chef, but I share it here too as it fits to the Greek kitchen’s ingredients too. 🙂


Thyme, salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, beetroot


Wash the beetroots carefully and then bake them in aluminum foils with some thyme, salt and olive oil. If it is tender peel it, slice it and add fresh thyme, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, pepper according to your taste.


And of course there are many many more other recipes with beetroot. It depends only on your fantasy and creativity…


Καλή όρεξη ~ Kali orexi! ~ Enjoy!



This entry was posted in: Blog ENG, Nature & Food, Rhodes island


//EN// I am a Hungarian woman living on the Greek Dodecanese archipelago where I have been researching the characteristics of the local landscape and culture since 2015. This journey and work on the Aegean sea gives me the fuel to share what I've found: through written materials (on this blog and at other venues), and to create artworks of pressed flowers and herbs which is a great botano-mythical journey, a worship in the great temple of Mother nature that widens my whole world each day a bit more. My interests: human integrity, interactions between a culture and an individual, recognizing and understanding nature's orderly movements and the cosmic patterns in the human (body and psyche) and their interconnectedness with the non-human world, mythology & archetypes, the Great Mother archetype, women's health, and healing through rebonding with nature (especially with the plant world). //HU// Főként a szavak és a képek nyelvén közlő, önálló utat kijárni próbáló, gondolkodó, örökösen válaszokat kereső embernek tartom magamat. Jelenleg Rodosz szigetén élek, ahol 2015 óta próbálom megfejteni a Mediterránum ezen szegletének (engem mágnesként fogva tartó) géniuszát a helyi természetben, szociokulturális vonásokban, egyéni történetekben - valamint próbálom megfejteni saját folytonosan formálódó viszonyulásomat e költészettől parázsló tájhoz, annak ambivalens jelenkori kultúrájához. Ez a kimeríthetetlen felfedező munka lett írásaim (és egyben önismeretem) epicentruma. A Rodoszi Herbárium pedig a görög szigetek természeti gazdagságának és éteri szépségének egyszerre megidézési- és megismerési kísérlete. A helyi növények gyűjtésével, préselésével és képekké alakításával nem csak a teremtés szépségében gyönyörködöm, hanem segít kapcsolódnom a fény útjához, a vegetáció diverzitásához és ritmusához, mitikus történetek, archaikus elfeledett bölcsességekhez, tudattalanomban szunnyadó képekhez, kozmikus analógiákhoz, és mindezen keresztül saját lényegemhez.


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