- Serves 4
- Makes 1
- 20 minutes
- Difficulty Easy
- 11 Ingredients
If Greek Salad is one of your favourite salads, join the club!
If you’re anything like the team at MoM.CookClub HQ, a good Greek Salad is sensational. Sadly though, there are a lot of Greek Salads out there that feel like all you’re doing is chewing through a bowl of vegetable chunks – and hit an onion chunk and wowsers – it’s all over. Or worse, discover that the cucumber has been stewing in a zesty dressing for so long that it’s gone slimy – ewwww!
Where does Greek salad come from?
You probably think that people in Greece have been eating Greek Salad for centuries. Wrong! Because according to an article about Greek Salad on Educational Tours, the tomato was not even introduced to Greece until the end of the 19th century. Fancy that – all those delicious Greek sauces and dishes that include tomato and it’s only a recent visitor!
But back to Greek Salad …
In Greece, this salad is called ‘Horiatiki’, which means village or peasant salad – basically a combination of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, olives and feta cheese, dressed in olive oil and sprinkled with oregano.
A traditional Greek Salad also does not include any lettuce or leaves because it began life as a Summer dish and lettuce never grew in Greece in Summer way back when.
In terms of where Greek Salad originated, from its Greek name we can assume that it was a rural dish. It is true that the salad’s essential ingredients were often what a farmer would take to the field for his mid-morning snack, only he would keep the ingredients uncut and wrapped in a cloth with a piece of bread. When the time came, he would bite straight into his chunk of feta, his tomato and even his onion! (no kisses from this Farmer’s wife that night)
What’s the trick to an amazing Greek Salad?
We believe there are 4 things to remember if you want your Greek Salad getting rave reviews:
- Lovely fresh quality ingredients – look for plump juicy and importantly perfectly RIPE tomatoes, really fresh and crisp cucumbers, petite salad onions and lovely fresh lettuce leaves.
- Use a creamy fetta but one that still holds its shape (not Persian Fetta as it is too soft) – we like to use fetta that comes in olive oil with herbs. Once we’ve removed the fetta, the oil is perfect for drizzling over the salad.
- Proportions and chunk sizes – if you think about the way you eat a Greek Salad, you can really only fit one or two pieces onto your fork at a time. If you imagine one of those is a tomato and the other cucumber, the chunks can be the same size and your mouthful is delicious. However think about a chunk of onion and cucumber being the same size – the onion would completely overpower everything else. So we like our ingredients in this order of size – tomatoes and cucumbers followed by capsicum (if you decide to add) followed by fetta then black olives and finally salad onion/red onion. We tend to use lettuce to line the salad bowl but you might also like to toss lettuce through the salad as well.
- When you add the dressing to a Greek Salad can make a big difference to the flavour – because the dressing is acidic, it will start breaking down the other ingredients almost right away. Some ingredients love this and absorb the flavours so you could dress these a day ahead for a richer, deeper flavour (e.g. you could put the tomatoes and black olives into the dressing hours before you assemble the salad). Other ingredients like the onion, would do well to be added an hour or two before serving (to soften the flavour) whereas cucumber will be best added right at the last minute. From a visual point of view, we always suggest adding the fetta cheese right at the end and right on top – mixing fetta through your salad makes everything just a bit too mushy and streaked with white (not attractive).
What does Greek Salad go well with?
Greek Salad is brilliant with pretty much anything – it’s a great barbecue salad as it contains ingredients (tomatoes and cucumbers) that even the youngest child will eat. It’s obviously going to be perfect with any Greek dishes – lamb, souvlaki, chicken and of course a Moussaka.
This Greek Salad is so quick – in fact, if a hungry horde arrived right now, you could probably be giving them a Greek Salad in minutes!
We hope you enjoy!
Ingredients (serves 4 | makes 1 Medium Salad)
- 3 large Very Ripe Tomatoes
- 1 large Lebanese Cucumber
- 1 medium Red Onion
- 1/2 cup Seeded Black Olives
- 1 medium Red Capsicum
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil (not required if you are using fetta cheese that comes marinated in oil)
- 3 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 - 2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 Clove Garlic, crushed
- 1 cup Fetta Cheese Cubes
- Salt & Pepper
- Wash all the salad ingredients in chilled water and pat dry. Cut the tomatoes and capsicum into bite sized pieces (not too small though). Peel and slice the red onion into rings 1 - 2mm thick. Slice the cucumber into 2mm thick rings.
- Tear the lettuce leaves into pieces and arrange around the edge of the salad bowl you will use to serve.
- If you are using fetta cheese that was in oil, drain the oil off into a large mixing bowl. If your fetta cheese is not in oil, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large mixing bowl. Add the crushed garlic clove, the oregano, the lemon juice and a little salt and pepper and whisk to emulsify to a smooth dressing.
- Add all the chopped vegetables and the black olives to the dressing bowl (except the lettuce which should already be in the salad bowl) and toss gently to coat everything in dressing.
- Pour the salad into the salad bowl in the middle of the lettuce leaves and sprinkle the fetta cheese cubes on top. Add a few fresh oregano leaves if you have them and sprinkle with a little black pepper.
Here's a few more classic salads you might like to try: