Koliva – a whole grain European dessert

Thank you for sharing!

Last Updated on November 13, 2019 by Chef Mireille

 Koliva - a European whole grain dessertKoliva – a whole grain European dessert from Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. Perfect for a #vegan Easter treat!


Koliva is a traditional dish of the Christian Orthodox Chuch of Eastern Europe, specifically eaten in the countries of Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. It is usually served at Christmas and also on the first day of Lent. Additionally, it is eaten at funeral services and blessed at Divine Liturgy memorial services, performed at different intervals after a death. This dish is also made in Greece, but does not have the religious attachments in Greece and can be served at any occasion there.

The history of this dish in Greece dates back before the Christian Orthodox Church to the times of Greek mythology. The wheat symbolizes Demeter, the earth goddess, while the pomegranate seeds represent her daughter Persephone, queen of the underworld. Almonds were sacred to Aphrodite and raisins to Dionysis. Sesame seeds were said to open the doors of consciousness. (source: Wikipedia)
While enjoying this wholesome dish, you could also teach your kids about Greek mythology at the same time!

Before we get to this great snack, let’s take a look at some other wheat berry treats!

Wheat Berry Recipes

Want to see how this delicious recipe comes together in action – Check out the video here!

This is a very customizable dish. Other ingredients often included are ground walnuts, parsley and other dried fruit.

Koliva – a whole grain European dessert makes a great #kidfriendly after school snack

Koliva 3 -edit


Koliva - Romanian Wheat Berry Dessert
Print Recipe Pin it for later!
No ratings yet

Koliva – a whole grain European dessert

This Eastern European dessert is common in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece where it has religious significance for the Orthodox Christians.
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time52 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Romanian
Servings: 6


  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • powdered sugar for garnish
  • chocolate or candy for garnish


  • Boil wheat berries in a large pot of water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.
  • Add all other ingredients, except garnish ingredients. Stir to combine.
  • Garnish with powdered sugar and chocolate or candy.


Traditionally, the powdered sugar is garnished in the shape of the cross of the Christian Orthodox church.
In Romania, it is garnished with cocoa, chocolate or candy. However, this garnish does not occur in the Greek version.
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I'd love to share them!


Koliva - a whole grain Easter treat

Thank you for sharing!

Join the Global Kitchen Travels community!

Sign up for updates!

Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

Reader Interactions


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.