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Dakos (also known as “Koukouvagia” or “Ntakos”)

dakos recipe

Dakos is a simple and delicious dish that showcases the island’s high-quality olive oil and tomatoes. It is a flavorful and refreshing dish with a slightly sweet and salty taste.

History of Dakos: Dakos is a traditional Cretan meze (appetizer), often referred to as “Cretan rusk salad.” It has its roots in the island’s storied past where hard, dry barley rusks were staple foods for sailors and farmers due to their long shelf life. Over time, locals began to moisten these rusks with water or olive oil and topped them with fresh ingredients, leading to the creation of Dakos.

Ingredients for Dakos:

  • 4 Cretan barley rusks (can substitute with whole wheat rusks if unavailable)
  • 2-3 large ripe tomatoes, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 cup feta or mizithra cheese, crumbled
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half (optional)
  • Dried oregano
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black olives, for garnish (optional)
  • A few capers for garnish (optional)


  1. Prepare the Rusks: Moisten the rusks slightly under running water or sprinkle them with a bit of water to soften them just a little. This step is especially important if the rusks are very hard. Place them on individual plates.
  2. Garlic Flavor (Optional): If you’re using the garlic clove, gently rub the rusks with the cut side of the garlic. This imparts a subtle garlic flavour.
  3. Tomatoes: Spoon the grated or finely chopped tomatoes over each rusk, making sure to cover the entire surface.
  4. Cheese: Sprinkle a generous amount of crumbled feta or mizithra cheese on top of the tomatoes.
  5. Olive Oil and Seasoning: Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and season with a pinch of salt and dried oregano.
  6. Garnish: Add a few olives and capers on top if desired.
  7. Serve: Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the rusk to absorb the flavours and soften slightly before serving.

Calories: Each serving of Dakos can be roughly around 250-300 calories, depending on the amount of olive oil and cheese used. Remember, while this dish is simple, it’s the quality of the ingredients (especially the olive oil and tomatoes) that makes it truly shine.

Let the Dakos sit for a few minutes, or up to 30 minutes, to allow the rusks to absorb the flavours and soften slightly before serving.

Dakos is typically served as an appetizer or a light lunch. It can be enjoyed on its own, or paired with other dishes such as grilled meats or seafood

Dakos is a testament to the famed Mediterranean diet, highlighting fresh ingredients in a balanced and flavorful dish. Enjoy it as an appetizer or a light lunch!

Learn to prepare Dakos salad and the most known Greek and Cretan recipes in our Cooking Classes in Rethymnon!