A truly traditional Greek Salad with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, and creamy feta cheese; plus tips and a step-by-step video. I’m sharing everything I learned from my visit to Greece!
I was lucky enough to visit the Greek island of Patmos and Kos a few years ago and I fell in love with the local shops and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. I loved observing the Greek life and partaking of the simple, finger-licking Greek food.
In a small, family owned restaurant in Kos, I enjoyed a Greek Salad that opened my eyes to what a truly traditional, uncomplicated Greek salad should be! And, that’s exactly what I have tried to re-create with this simple Greek Salad recipe.
Horiatiki: Greek Village Salad
In Greece, Horiatiki, or Greek village salad, is served most often from early spring to the early part of fall. Best use of the season’s quality produce including juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, green bell peppers, and onions.
Quality Greek kalamata olives and creamy feta cheese, made from sheep’a milk, are a must in a traditional Greek salad. And the cheese is never crumbled, but served in large chunks or blocks crowning the salad. And the dressing is as simple as they come, a splash of good extra virgin olive oil and citrus.
This villagers’ Greek salad is super simple, with no shortage of flavor, BUT it begins and ends with the quality of ingredients used. If you go to Greece and end up ordering Horiatiki, here’s what you’ll find
- Tomatoes – Choose Perfect ripe tomatoes (somewhat firm but yielding slightly to the touch; glossy skin; fragrant
- Cucumbers– choose firm, smooth-skinned cucumbers. I prefer English cucumbers, which are seedless and tend to be sweeter in taste. choose firm and smooth looking green bell pepper and onions.
- Red onions- choose firm and smooth looking onions
- Kalamata Olives– I love Greek kalamata olives.
- Green Bell peppers– choose firm and smooth looking green bell pepper. No other colored bell peppers are used in a traditional Greek salad.
- Dried oregano
- Kosher Salt
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil For authentic and best tasting Greek salad, I like to use this Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil. It’s an exquisite cold extracted and unfiltered oil with a perfectly balanced complexity— rich green, fruity and pungent with a peppery finish.
- Red wine vinegar- You can also use another citrus option like fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
- Creamy feta cheese – made from sheep’a milk and served in large chunks or blocks crowning the salad (not crumbled).
- No lettuce or any leafy greens
- No additional fillers
- No fancy dressings
What about the dressing?
With this Greek salad recipe, you don’t need to do the work of making a dressing. Traditional Greek Salad is served with a splash of citrus and extra virgin olive oil, very basic and elegant.
No fuss presentation
If you’re wondering how to put Greek salad together, it could not be any simpler. How do they serve it over on the Greek islands?
The base ingredients of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and onions are typically cut in large slices or chunks and served in salad bowls.
Sometimes, the oil and vinegar are set aside for each person to add whatever amounts they need. I really like this idea because I feel like I could always use an extra drizzle of good olive oil!
Feta cheese is always served in large blocks on top of the salad, never crumbled like you might see here in the States.
No extra garnishes or fillers needed.
Serve Greek Salad with
This vibrant salad full of color and flavor will easily compliment just about any entree you’ll find on this site. Here are some ideas:
- Chicken Gyros
- Chicken Souvlaki,
- Greek burgers
- Lamb Chops
- Fish: Baked Cod, Grouper, Lemon garlic Salmon, or Salmon Burgers
- Vegetarian Entrees: Spanakopita, Greek Green Beans, Mediterranean Three Bean Soup
How to Make Traditional Greek Salad Video:
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A truly traditional Greek Salad with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, and creamy feta cheese; plus tips and a step-by-step video.
- 4 Medium juicy tomatoes, preferably organic tomatoes
- 1 Cucumber, or 3/4 English (hot house) cucumber preferred, partially peeled making a striped pattern
- 1 green bell pepper, cored
- 1 medium red onion
- Greek pitted Kalamata olives
- Salt, a pinch
- 4 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil (I used Early Harvest Greek olive oil)
- 1–2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Blocks of Greek feta (do not crumble) a good amount to your liking
- 1/2 tbsp quality dried oregano
- Cut the tomatoes into wedges or large chunks (I sliced some and cut the rest in wedges).
- Cut the partially peeled cucumber in half length-wise, then slice into thick halves (at least 1/2″ in thickness)
- Thinly slice the bell pepper into rings.
- Cut the red onion in half and thinly slice into half moons.
- Place everything in a large salad dish. Add a good handful of the pitted kalamata olives.
- Season very lightly with salt (just a pinch). Pour the olive oil and red wine vinegar.
- Give everything a very gentle toss to mix; do NOT over mix, this salad is not meant to be handled too much.
- Now add the the feta blocks on top. Sprinkle the dried oregano.
- Serve with crusty bread!
- Category: Salad
- Method: Mixing
- Cuisine: Greek
Keywords: Greek salad, Traditional Greek Salad, Greek salad recipe, horiatiki
*This post appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2019 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers benefit.