Greek Salad

May 14, 2020 By Aneesha |

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This traditional Greek Salad recipe is brimming with crunchy cucumbers, sweet tomatoes and creamy Feta cheese delicately tossed in a tangy lemon dressing. It’s a simple and elegant salad recipe served with warm pita or as part of a beautiful Mediterranean meal!

chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta with lemon dressing in black bowl

Traditional Greek Salad Recipe

Something I always order when I go to a Mediterranean restaurant, along with the mezze platter, is a Greek salad. It’s simple, refreshing and balanced, just like any salad should be. And it is SO easy to make it at home!

This traditional Greek Salad recipe is the type you would find on the cobblestone streets of Greece, and in just about most Mediterranean restaurants. It’s crunchy, creamy and tossed in an easy lemon vinaigrette – with plenty of kalamata olives, of course.

I love this salad since it requires simple and easily available ingredients like crunchy vegetables, creamy Feta cheese and a tangy dressing that can be made with basic pantry ingredients, and, it is practically a meal in itself.

All it takes is a few minutes of chopping and slicing the veggies, a quick mix of the dressing and you have an authentic Greek salad ready in 10 minutes!

In my home, we almost always have a big salad with our meals, and THIS is our go-to salad whenever we have any kind of grilled protein. The fresh and zesty flavors pair beautifully with the bold charred flavors.

Horiatiki – Greek Village Salad

Did you know that Greek Salad is also known as Horiatiki Salad!

Horiatiki, (which means village in Greek), or Greek Village salad, is served in Greece from early spring to early fall to showcase the seasons’ best produce – cucumbers, tomatoes, onions.

Greek Kalamata olives are always included and sheep’s milk Feta is the crowning glory – literally. In a traditional salad, the cheese is never crumbled but served in a large block on top of the salad.

A drizzle of good olive oil and splash of lemon juice (or vinegar) is the finishing touch.

chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta in black bowl

Does Greek Salad Contain Lettuce?

Unlike most salad recipes, there is no lettuce or any leafy green in Greek salad.

The unique quality of a Greek salad is the crisp, crunchy vegetables that are cut into large chunks (never small cubes) and whole (or halved) olives that add that special briny bite.

What Is Greek Salad Dressing?

Greek salad dressing typically contains vinegar, lemon, fresh herbs and good-quality olive oil. The vinegar is added due to the cucumber and adds an extra hint of tang to balance the saltiness of the feta.

In many cases, Greek households drizzle a generous amount of olive oil and red wine vinegar straight on top of the salad – no whisking required! Now that’s my kind of dressing 🙂

Is Greek Salad Healthy?

Just like most Greek foods, Greek salad is healthy and almost decadent at the same time. It is:

  • Rich in fiber and antioxidants thanks to the tomatoes and red onion
  • Full of healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil
  • Provides a necessary amount of protein from the Feta cheese

Ingredients Availability & Substitutions

The ingredients to make villager’s Greek salad are simple, but for the best results, make sure to purchase ingredients that are in season and good quality.

diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta cheese, herbs in glass bowl

Salad

The salad ingredients include cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, Kalamata olives, Feta cheese and fresh herbs such as mint or dill.

  • Cucumbers: Use half of an English cucumber or two Persian cucumbers. These varieties are seedless with thinner skins. That being said, if a regular cucumber is all you have on hand, make sure to peel away the waxy skin and scoop out the large seeds with a spoon.
  • Tomatoes: Although larger tomatoes are used in Greece, grape tomatoes are super ripe during the summer months and my go-to tomato when in season. Look for ones that are vibrantly red and glossy. You can also use super-sweet cherry tomatoes, which can typically be found year-round.
  • Onions: To take the bite off of the onion, soak in water for 10 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  • Olives: Use pitted, halved Kalamata olives for authenticity and the best flavor. Look for them at the olive bar of your grocery store. I would not use California-style black canned olives as they have a completely different flavor.
  • Feta: Real feta is Greek, so if you’re on the lookout for the real deal, make sure you purchase a Feta cheese imported from Greece. I love to purchase Feta cheese in the whole block (the pre-crumbled Feta typically contains anti-caking additives), then cube or crumble it to my desired size when I get home. Look for it in the cheese section of most grocery stores.
  • Fresh Herbs: Mint or dill are my favorites, but fresh parsley can be used as well. Oregano is another common herb in Greek salad recipes, but I find the fresh variety to be too strong against the crisp vegetables. Alternatively, use dried oregano and mix it into the dressing.

Lemon Salad Dressing

The dressing ingredients include red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.

Lemon-Vinaigrette Salad Dressing in a mason jar
  • Red Wine Vinegar: For added tang and acidity. Feel free to use white wine vinegar if that is all you have on hand.
  • Lemon Juice: Make sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice and not the pre-bottled variety.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Any cold-pressed, single-origin extra virgin olive oil will do. Good-quality olive oil will taste fruity, with a somewhat peppery finish. If you really want to stick to authenticity, Greek olive oil would work wonders in this salad.

How To Make The Best Greek Salad

This delicious Greek salad is easily prepared after a bit of chopping, whisking and tossing. It’s a simple salad ready in 10 minutes!

  • Chop, slice and assemble all the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta cheese, herbs in glass bowl
  • Add vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a small mixing bowl and drizzle in olive oil while whisking. Alternatively, add all the ingredients for the dressing to a small mason jar, and tightly secure the lid. Shake the jar vigorously for a few seconds until the dressing is fully mixed.
two hands whisking lemon dressing in glass bowl
  • When ready to eat, pour the dressing over the salad and toss with tongs or salad spoons until well mixed.
red wine dressing pouring over chopped greek salad

Mediterranean Greek Salad Add-Ons

This Greek salad recipe is a homemade version of the classic village salad. It’s wonderfully simple and elegant. Feel free to also add one or all common additions, such as:

  • Thinly Sliced Green or Red Bell Peppers
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Shaved Fennel
  • Pickled Pepperoncini
  • Caper Berries
  • Diced Avocado
  • Grilled Chicken – for an added dose of protein!
chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta with lemon dressing in black bowl

What To Serve With Greek Salad

Greek salad is a meal in itself – crunchy vegetables, healthy fats, protein from the cheese. I love to serve it with warm pita as a light lunch or dinner any night of the week.

Here are some of my favorite pairings with this salad: Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Shawarma, Fish Tikka, Mediterranean Chicken and sometimes I’ll just toss some Roasted Chickpeas on it and call it a meal.

Create A Beautiful Mediterranean Meal For A Crowd

This simple Greek salad works as a wonderful appetizer or side dish for those occasions when you need to serve a crowd. All you have to do is double or triple the recipe, then serve it alongside:

chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta in black bowl for salad

Make-Ahead Greek Party Salad

This crunchy salad is a great make-ahead recipe for a summer BBQ, party or potluck. Feel free to prep the ingredients a few hours (and up to one day) ahead of time. The recipe written below is enough for 4 people as a side dish, but will be enough for 6 at a party. Double or triple the recipe as necessary.

To prep ahead of time without losing the integrity of the vegetables, simply:

  1. Dice and slice the vegetables, then store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  2. Crumble or cube the feta cheese and store it in a separate container in the fridge.
  3. Assemble the dressing and keep it aside in a mason jar.
  4. When ready to serve, assemble the prepped veggies and crumbled cheese in a large bowl. Give the dressing a good shake, then drizzle over the salad and toss. Enjoy!

Recipe Tips:

  • Purchase in-season produce and authentic Greek ingredients. Crisp, crunchy vegetables and Greek staples including Kalamata olives, Feta cheese and extra virgin olive oil will offer the best textures and flavor.
  • Soak the sliced onions in water for 10 minutes. This helps take the bite off the raw onions.
  • Add oregano or honey to the salad dressing. One teaspoon dried oregano highlights those Mediterranean flavors. For a touch of sweetness, add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon honey as well.
  • Add dressing and seasonings to taste just before serving. You can even do it right at the table.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. The salad will last up to 2 days.

More Salad Recipes From My Kitchen

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chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta in black bowl for salad

Greek Salad

This traditional Greek Salad recipe is brimming with crunchy cucumbers, sweet tomatoes and creamy Feta tossed in a tangy lemon dressing ready in 10 minutes.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 206kcal

Ingredients

Salad

  • ½ English cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup onion thinly sliced (about ¼ medium onion)
  • cup Kalamata olives pitted, halved (add to taste)
  • ½ cup Feta cheese crumbled or cubed fine
  • 2 tablespoon mint or dill finely chopped

Dressing

Instructions

  • Chop, slice and assemble all the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
  • In a small mason jar, add all the ingredients for dressing and tightly secure the lid. Shake the jar vigorously for a few seconds until the dressing is fully mixed. Alternatively, assemble dressing in a bowl and whisk till combined.
  • When ready to eat, pour the dressing over the salad and toss with tongs or salad spoons until well mixed.

Notes & Recipe Tips

  • Purchase in-season produce and authentic Greek ingredients. Crisp, crunchy vegetables and Greek staples including Kalamata olives, Feta cheese and extra virgin olive oil will offer the best textures and flavor.
  • Soak the sliced onions in water for 10 minutes. This helps take the bite off the raw onions.
  • Add oregano or honey to the salad dressing. One teaspoon dried oregano highlights those Mediterranean flavors. For a touch of sweetness, add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon honey as well.
  • Add dressing and seasonings to taste just before serving. You can even do it right at the table.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. The salad will last up to 2 days.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 680mg | Potassium: 184mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 579IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword: greek salad recipe, Mediterrenean greek salad, traditional greek salad recipe
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HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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