Tsigaria – Greek sauté of dark leafy greens and herbs

Just made “Tsigaria”, which is made of any dark leafy greens 🥬and herbs🌱 that you want or have available. “Tsigarizo” means “I fry”. I used baby spinach, leeks, scallions, basil, mint, dill, parsley, oregano, shallots, garlic. Sauté in olive oil & a little water on medium flame. Salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon. 🍋

This recipe was taught to me by my mom, Julia, on my last visit to see them in Kefalonia. Ate it my whole life, but never actually knew how she made it!


1 bunch of spinach or chard, or any at her dark leafy green. You can even mix them.

1 bunch leeks

1 bunch scallions

1 bunch basil

1 bunch mint

1 bunch dill

1 bunch parsley

2 shallots

3 cloves of garlic

Dry oregano

1 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of water

Salt & pepper to taste


Rinse & coarsely chop your greens and herbs, garlic and shallots. Heat up a large pot with olive oil. Sauté the shallots and garlic till soft, toss in everything else. Add the water. Cook it till it all becomes soft. Add salt, pepper and oregano to taste.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon. Greeks eat this with a big piece of feta cheese and crusty bread. If you make keto bread, for it! Or just skip it. You can use this as a filling for spanakopita or for an omelette as well.

This is a great side dish or meal.
Kali Oreksi!

Chopped and rinsed and ready to go!
Listen to that sizzle!
Perfectly cooked & ready to serve!
My mother, Julia cleaning the greens that she will use in her “tsigaria”. She taught me this recipe.

11 thoughts on “Tsigaria – Greek sauté of dark leafy greens and herbs

  1. Thank you for posting the TSIGAR I a recipe. Simple as it is, I never bothered to try to re-create it after my father passed away. I didn’t know how he was doing it. It just tasted so wonderful. My father used to call it “poor people food”, But I loved it! I wanted to make it for my kids!


    1. I am so glad! I hope that your kids love it as much as you & your father did.

      “Poor people food” is often the best food! Simple and flavorful & full of love!

      The little old village yiayia that lives inside of me is so happy that you found my recipe. 🥰


  2. Thanks for this — my father used to make it all the time, but for some reason when I googled Tsigaria in the past not much would come up, so I thought maybe had the word wrong. This seems very similar to what he used to make, which I assume he picked up from my grandmother back in Kefalonia. I plan to give it a try this weekend!


      1. I just saw in your “about” section that your Yiaya and Papou were named Georgopoulos — my grandparents were also from Moussata and everyone there seems to have the same last name! We may or may not be related… Either way, I am sure our grandparents would have known each other, given how small the Xopio is!


      2. That’s because all of us are blood related!!! And the family originates from the Knossos area of Crete abd was once named Georgakis. They raised stafida grapes. Left during the Ottoman rule and landed in Peloponnesus and changed the last name to Georgopoulos. They later migrated to Kefalonia via Lefkada. My pappou always said one branch remained in Lefkada, and the rest moved on to Kefalonia & landed in Moussata. There they continued to cultivate the stafida grape. My pappou’s parents were Miltiades & Marigoula Georgopoulos.

        There home is still there. My uncle (my mom’s first cousin) is still in the village and continues to cultivate the land.


      3. I never knew that migration history! The Peloponnesus connection makes sense, since most Greeks ask if that’s where my family is from when they hear my last name. My papou and yiayia were Zaxapias and Efthalia, Was your mother born in the village, or had your grandparents already migrated to the U.S.? My father was Dionisis (nickname in the xopio was “pathologos”). They may have known each other if she grew up there. What a small world. I have a massive family tree that someone in the xopio started and that my father appended over the years – let me know if you’d like a copy (I’d have to send it by snail mail in a poster tube — there’s no scanned copy that I know of, but I have quite a few paper copies.


      4. My pappou’s nickname was “Karamanis”. My mom was born there and they lived her first few years in Moussata and then moved to my yiayia’s village (down there hill) Karavados. They immigrated when my mom was 16. We all lived in NY.

        I would love a copy if it actually!


      5. So my mother just told me that Zaxarias & my pappou (her father) were best friends in the village. She just recounted a story to me (that I remember pappou telling me way back when)

        “In 1953 they both went by the church to see what was going on with the earthquake and they witnessed the earth crack open up and close 3 times. They were separated on with side of those cracks. They thought they were going to die and gave each other messages for their families if one was killed.”

        If you know about the earthquake of 1953 it leveled the island.


      6. The world just keeps getting smaller! My father had left the island at the time of the earthquake, and was out traveling on a merchant ship, but I’ve heard many stories from my grandparents, aunts and uncles over the years. This story does ring a bell — I’ll have to ask one of my aunts if they remember it! I just sent you an email with a picture of the men in the Xopio dressed for Apokries.


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