A truly traditional Greek salad recipe is meant to be of few ingredients–uncomplicated, super fresh, and utterly delicious! And this Greek salad is all that! It’s exactly as served on the Greek islands and villages with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, and creamy feta cheese. The perfect finish is a good splash of quality Greek extra virgin olive oil and a little red wine vinegar. Be sure to grab my tips and watch the video for how to make this Greek salad below.
I was lucky enough to visit the Greek island of Patmos and Kos back in 2006. Our group spent a good bit of time doing the touristy things and taking in the mix of Greek, Roman, and Ottoman landmarks. But the part I favored most was our visits to the smaller, off-the-beaten-path places. In particular, the local shops and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. I loved observing the Greek life and partaking of the simple, finger-licking Greek food.
It was at a small family owned restaurant in Kos that my eyes were first opened to the refreshing, uncomplicated, truly traditional Greek salad. Not the first time I ever had a Greek salad, but it was my first time having the “real deal” Horiatiki villagers’ salad.
What goes in a traditional Greek salad Recipe?
Horiatiki, or traditional Greek salad, is one of the most iconic Mediterranean diet recipes. In Greece, it is served most often from early spring to the early part of fall. It features the season’s quality juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and green bell peppers. The seasoning is simple: a pinch of salt and dried oregano. And the dressing is a generous splash of exquisite Greek extra virgin olive oil, and you may also add a little red wine vinegar.
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.
What does not go in a traditional Greek salad? There are no red peppers or yellow peppers. And there is no lettuce, nor any other leafy greens or vegetables in traditional Greek salad.
The key to the best Greek salad?
This villagers’ salad is super simple, and there is not shortage of flavor. But it does begin and end with the quality of ingredients used.
Choose Perfect ripe tomatoes (somewhat firm but yielding slightly to the touch; glossy skin; fragrant); and firm, smooth-skinned cucumbers (I prefer English cucumbers, which are seedless and tend to be sweeter in taste). Similarly, choose firm and smooth looking green bell pepper and onions.
Equally important here is to make sure and dress your carefully selected produce with the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can find or afford. A lower quality olive oil will be tasteless, or worse, rancid and can ruin this simple salad for you.
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.
What to Serve Along Greek Salad
Because it is so simple, fresh and delicious, Greek salad is often on repeat at my house. It goes with many Mediterranean recipes here on the blog.
Here are a few ideas to complete your Greek-style meal:
See the video for How to make Traditional Greek Salad:
See our collection of Mediterranean diet recipes here.
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A truly traditional Greek salad recipe is meant to be of few ingredients: tomatoes, cucumber, green peppers, red onions and feta cheese. A simple dressing of excellent extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Comes together in 10 minutes!
- 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, Mediterranean Salad with feta