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Legumes, the king of the Cretan diet

Legumes, the king of the Cretan diet


Crete has one of the healthiest and most delicious cuisines in the world and a diet that has its roots in the Minoan era. The findings in the archaeological excavations reveal that the ancient Cretans 4.000 years ago consumed quite the same foods as modern Cretans do. A large number of ceramic pots and jars were discovered in the Minoan palaces where Minoans used to store oil, wine, cereals, honey, and… legumes!

The value of the Cretan diet in maintaining a healthy life was underlined by the Seven Countries Study that investigated diet and lifestyle along with other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases across several countries and cultures. The Cretan diet that includes olive oil, fiber, fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, and legumes shielded the Cretans from serious diseases while increasing their lifespan.

Legumes have a central role in the Cretan diet, and they are consumed at least once per week in every Cretan household. They have a high nutritional value as they contain significant amounts of protein, but also slow-absorbing carbohydrates that give us plenty of energy. They are also rich in fiber, B-complex vitamins, iron, folic acid, and magnesium, whereas, at the same time, their low glycemic index makes them an excellent choice for regulating blood sugar.

Do it like a Cretan: Legumes Salad

This recipe by Pithos restaurant is a Cretan alternative to your salad. It combines four different legumes with rice, greens, and herbs and is aromatic, healthy, and filling. Plus, it’s easy to make, and you can store it in the fridge for a few days.


100 gr dry beans, boiled
100 gr lentils, boiled
100 gr chickpeas, boiled
100 gr black eyed peas, boiled
200 gr wild rice, boiled
1 bunch green onion
1 tomato, chopped
½ bunch fennel, chopped
½ bunch parsley, chopped
5 tablespoons white vinegar
7 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, pepper


Boil the legumes and the rice carefully, not to mash them. Next, mix all the ingredients and let the salad for a few hours in the fridge before serving, for a stronger taste.

Bon appétit!