This traditional Greek Salad recipe is the real deal! I'm sharing everything I learned from my visit to Greece. This salad is easy, made with 7 simple ingredients and a no-fuss dressing of good olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Learn how to make it and serve it the Greek way!
I was lucky enough to visit the Greek island of Patmos and Kos a few years ago. Every part of the trip was special, but I absolutely fell in love with the people, their local shops and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. I loved observing the Greek life and partaking of the simple, finger-licking Greek food.
In one of the small family-owned restaurants we visited, I enjoyed a fresh salad that opened my eyes to what a truly traditional and 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. And it's truly the 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’s milk, are a must in this salad. And the cheese is never crumbled, but served in large chunks or blocks crowning the beautiful fresh salad!
The dressing is as simple as they come, a splash of good extra virgin olive oil and citrus (a little red wine vinegar or lemon juice).
Greek salad ingredients
Horiatiki, the real deal traditional Greek salad consists of a few simple ingredients: tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onions, olives, and blocks of creamy feta cheese. The vegetables are typically cut into large chunks, and there is no lettuce or other fillers added. A dash of kosher salt and dried oregano to season. And the dressing is typically a drizzle quality extra virgin olive oil and vinegar (I typically use red wine vinegar).
- Tomatoes - Roma tomatoes or vine-ripe tomatoes will work well in this salad. Choose Perfect ripe tomatoes that are somewhat firm but yielding slightly to the touch.
- Cucumbers- I prefer English cucumbers which are seedless and tend to be sweeter in taste. Choose firm, smooth-skinned cucumbers.
- Onions- I like red onions in this salad. And if you want to take the edge off, soak your sliced onions in a solution of iced water mixed with vinegar for a bit before adding them to the salad (I do this in the video below).
- Olives- Greek kalamata olives are the ones to use here, but black olives will work also.
- Bell peppers- Green bell peppers are typically used. Choose firm and smooth looking green bell pepper. No other colored bell peppers are used in a traditional Greek salad.
- Creamy feta cheese - If at all possible, use quality Greek feta made from sheep’a milk. Never crumble the feta, cut it into large chunks and add it on top of the salad.
- Do not add lettuce or other leafy fillers.
Greek salad dressing
Like I mentioned earlier, horiatiki salad is simply seasoned with a dash of salt, and maybe some dried oregano. It is typically dressed with nothing more than good extra virgin olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. Very basic and elegant. But sometimes, if I have some ladolemono dressing in my fridge, I will use it on this salad instead.
I recommend a good tasting bold olive oil for this recipe like Greek Early Harvest EVOO or our Spanish hojiblanca EVOO, both have a slight peppery finish. But, if your tastebuds lean toward a milder-tasting olive oil, you might like to try our Italian Nocellara EVOO.
A few tips for how to make the best Horiatiki:
If you're wondering how to put this salad together, it could not be any simpler! Here are a few tips from my Greek friends on how to prepare and serve this salad:
- Cut the vegetables into large slices or chunks. The base ingredients of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and onions are typically cut in large slices or chunks and served in a bowl (or in a small bowl for each individual).
- Use pitted kalamata olives or black olives and assemble them on top of your vegetables.
- Season with a dash of kosher salt and dried oregano. I like to finish with a bit more dried oregano at the end.
- Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. OR, place bottles of oil and vinegar on the table so that each person can dress the salad to their liking.
- Add blocks of feta (never crumbled feta) on top.
- Serve immediately!
Serve it with
This vibrant salad full of color and flavor can easily work as a side dish to complement just about any entree you'll find on this site. If you're looking for a way to serve this salad as a snack or appetizer, try these easy Greek salad skewers.
Here are some ideas for serving Greek salad:
- Chicken: Chicken Gyros; Chicken Souvlaki; or, a less obvious but perfect choice, Grilled Harissa Chicken. And for soup and salad night, I like to start with this salad before something like a warm bowl of chicken soup.
- Lamb: Greek burgers, Lamb Chops, or Lamb Meatballs With Caramelized Onions
- Fish: Baked Cod, Grouper, Lemon garlic Salmon, or Salmon Burgers
- Vegetarian Entrees: Spanakopita, Greek Green Beans, or Briam.
This salad is best enjoyed fresh. But if you have any leftovers, store it in a tight lid container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
More salad recipes to try:
Featured in this recipe
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Traditional Greek Salad Recipe
- 1 medium red onion
- 4 Medium juicy tomatoes
- 1 English cucumber (hot house cucumber) partially peeled making a striped pattern
- 1 green bell pepper cored
- Greek pitted Kalamata olives a handful to your liking
- kosher salt a pinch
- 4 tablespoon quality extra virgin olive oil I used Early Harvest Greek olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Blocks of Greek feta cheese do not crumble the feta, leave it in large pieces
- ½ tablespoon dried oregano
- Cut the red onion in half and thinly slice into half moons. (If you want to take the edge off, place the sliced onions in a solution of iced water and vinegar for a bit before adding to the salad. I do this in the video).
- Cut the tomatoes into wedges or large chunks (I sliced some into rounds and cut the rest in wedges).
- Cut the partially peeled cucumber in half length-wise, then slice into thick halves (at least ½" in thickness)
- Thinly slice the bell pepper into rings.
- Place everything in a large salad dish. Add a good handful of pitted kalamata olives.
- Season very lightly with kosher salt (just a pinch) and a bit of dried oregano.
- Pour the olive oil and red wine vinegar all over the salad. 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 and add a sprinkle more of dried oregano.
- Serve with crusty bread.
- Leftovers? You can refrigerate leftovers for 2 nights or so.
- Another dressing option: if you've made my ladolemono Greek Dressing (which is made of lemon juice and olive oil), you can use a few tablespoons on this salad.
- Visit our shop to browse our olive oils, spices and more!
*This post appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2019 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers benefit.
Nothing beats the traditional and original Greek Salad. I had the taste of this awesome flavor at El Greco. A friend and I dine-in there through their special dine-in offer. The experience and taste was unbelievable. Their Greek Salad is a big thumbs up to me.
Thanks for sharing, Helen!
This is my favorite salad. When I bring it to barbecues people always ask for the recipe. You are the best Suzie!
Awww! Thanks, Evelyn! You're very sweet! So glad this salad has been such a hit for you!
I made this salad for a Greek friend, actually, and served it for lunch with your wonderful homemade pita bread recipe! She was so pleased with the salad and said it was very similar to what her mom makes. Big THANK YOU for such a wonderful and simple recipe.
So glad to hear it, Steven. Thank you for sharing!
People will do themselves a favor buying superb heirloom tomatoes instead of fake ones. To my astonishment Trader Joe's sells a 2 pound clamshell for $5 and they've been excellent every time I got them. Also, only "English" cucumbers will do or Persian small ones. It's salads like this for which I use my remaining artisan olive oil bought on a French farmer's market in Provence. I had hope to go back to buy more alas Americans are not welcome coming from the world's center of infection.
Thank you for sharing, Martin!
I have been to Greece many time and to many different places and never, ever have I been served green peppers in it or any other vegetable apart from, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes and olives. I can´t imagine how awful it would taste with peppers in it. It should also be made fresh, not hours in advance. It is supposed to taste fresh, crisp and vibrant and also try and use fresh oregano. Basil! What!?
I don't know which parts of Greece you claim to have been to, Derrick! I just happened to stop by to leave my review of this AMAZING Greek salad recipe. And by the way, I have Greek roots and have traveled to Greece on a yearly basis. This Greek salad is as close to traditional as you would get here in the states. And yes, we use green bell peppers all the time. There may be variations of this recipe because it largely depends on what is available. But by gosh, this recipe is EXCEPTIONAL and the real deal.
Thank you for sharing, John.
I have also been to Greece and have never seen peppers in their salads. Thank You
I love the peppers for the extra crunch a flavor!
I traveled a lot in Greece when I was younger (1970s). In the Cyclades, you can find many varieties of the Greek salad but my favourite of all omitted the peppers and had fresh basil leaves on top. The olive oil smelled like freshly mown grass and there was always plenty of bread to mop up the plate at the end. I stayed once in a tiny little pension on the back island of Schinoussa. Our host got most of the ingredients from her garden. She had pots of basil everywhere and the smell of sun-warmed tomatoes straight off the vine was heavenly. She preferred to use dry-cured olives which added a bit of intensity and home-dried oregano.
Thanks so much for sharing, Marco! Sounds wonderful
This is a perfect potluck dish. Everyone always raves, and it can sit at room temp for so much longer than some salads!
Thanks for sharing, Natalie!
Great recipe with perfect ratios of veggies and dressing. Made it a couple hours ahead and all the flavours mixed really well. I used to use different colours peppers but I do like it like this with just green ones - I might just do this from now on. Also soaked the onions in water for a bit before adding to remove the harsh bite - the ones we have are quite strong and not mellow like the ones in Greece (which are soo tasty!).
Thank you so much for sharing, Dana! So glad you enjoyed it!
Thank you, Joe!
Honestly the BEST Greek salad recipe by far!!! I went to Greece on vacation last year and had the most authentic Greek salads, this is right up there with the best of the best! And it's homemade!!! I have made it a million times already and it never gets old(: Also, the sheep's milk/block feta and Greek olive oil are GAME CHANGING decisions that you cannot go wrong with!
Quick nutrition question, does the info you provided for nutrition account for the feta cheese?
So glad to hear it! We love this salad so much over here. Yes, it takes into account the use of feta cheese (a generous portion between 3 to 4 oz in total)
The absolute best Greek salad I’ve ever made!! Does the nutrition info include the feta and dressing?
So glad! Yes, the nutrition info accounts for all the ingredients in the recipe. It's a best estimate, of course, so allow a bit of a margin.
Added Skyr yoghurt to the Greek salad and I was amazed at the increase in energy levels and mental alertness!
That's awesome! Thanks for sharing, Saravanan!
She wanted to reply to your feedback but forgot!
We've been eating Greek salads at least twice a week for a few years since coming back from a visit to Greece. Your recipe is spot-on. Excellent admonition about block vs. crumbled feta. Good job.
Todd, I'm so glad to hear this! Thank you so much for sharing.
Such a colorful and cheerful salad. Light and refreshing, and filling enough for lunch. 🙂
I agree! Thanks, Anita!
This is my favorite salad to order at my best lunch restaurant. BUT NOW I can make it at home. These flavors are even better than my lunch restaurant. Thanks for this awesome recipe!
Thank you so much, Lisalia!
A Greek salad full of nutrition and health and loved by my family for the awesome combinations too.
Awesome! Thanks, Veena!
This salad is SO good! Fresh and jam packed with flavor!
Yes!! Thanks so much, Wilhelmina!
I love how fresh and colorful this salad is! The combination of cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta sounds totally perfect, especially with the fresh vinaigrette.
Thanks so much, Kait!
Fabulous colors and just the perfect salad recipe to make this time of the year. Healthy and delicious - just what I have been looking for!
Awesome!! Thanks, Mahy!
I looooove Greek salads and this recipe is by far my favorite! Thanks so much for sharing it!
So glad you love it, Jessica!!