Make an authentic Greek salad, or Horiatiki, with this easy Greek salad recipe. Just a handful of fresh ingredients and a no-fuss dressing of good olive oil and a splash of vinegar is all you need!
I was lucky enough to visit the Greek islands of Patmos and Kos a few years ago, where I fell in love with the people, their local shops and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. 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 recreated for you.
This Greek salad recipe is a prime example of a simple salad that lets crunchy vegetables shine with no lettuce or other filler. Like Bulgarian Shopska or Italian Caprese, the classic table salad uses just a few humble ingredients, yet has become a totally iconic dish that’s beloved around the world.
In Greece, Horiatiki or Greek village salad, is served most often from early spring through summer and up until mid fall. It's truly the best use of the season's produce, like crunchy cucumbers, sweet tomatoes, and earthy green bell peppers. I know you’ll love it as much as I do.
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Ingredients for this Greek Salad (Horiatiki)
This Greek salad recipe uses just a handful of easy-to-source ingredients. To make it, grab:
- Tomatoes: Use Roma tomatoes or vine-ripe tomatoes. They stay somewhat firm when they’re ripe, which works well with the crunchy bell pepper and onion.
- Cucumber: I prefer English cucumbers as they tend to be sweeter. If standard slicing cucumbers are all that’s available, make sure to fully peel their bitter waxy skin.
- Onion: Red onion is sweet and mild enough serve raw. To further take the edge off, a quick soak in ice water and a dash of vinegar does the trick.
- Olives: Briny Kalamata olives are my favorite for a traditional Greek salad, but any high-quality olive you have on hand will work.
- Bell pepper: Choose a firm and smooth green bell pepper, which is the only bell pepper that’s used in an authentic Greek salad.
- Feta cheese: Use quality Greek sheep’s milk feta if it’s available to you. Opt for whole blocks of feta packed in brine, as it not only boasts a better flavor but allows you to serve the large chunks of feta that act as the centerpiece of a traditional Greek salad.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Use a full-flavor Greek olive oil, like our Private Reserve from Kyparissia.
- Red wine vinegar: Adds a dash of acidity to make an easy vinaigrette with no whisking necessary.
- Seasoning: This salad is seasoned simply with a sprinkle of kosher salt and dried oregano.
How to Make Greek Salad
This Greek salad recipe couldn’t be easier to make. Simply grab a serving bowl and get started:
- Shock the onion (optional). Halve and thinly slice one red onion into half moons. If you’d like to mellow its raw taste, fill a small bowl with ice water. Add about 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar to the water, then add the onion slices. Set aside to soak for 10 minutes or so while you prep the veggies.
- Prep the veggies. Slice 4 medium tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Partially peel a cucumber into a stripe pattern, then slice into half moons. Slice 1 green bell pepper into rings.
- Season. Place all the veggies in a large serving dish, along with a handful of pitted Kalamata olives. Remove the onions from the ice water and add to the platter with the rest of the veggies. Sprinkle on 1 ½ teaspoons of dried oregano and a pinch of kosher salt.
- Dress. Pour in ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Give everything a very gentle toss.
- Finish and serve. Break off or slice large pieces of feta and add to the top of the salad. Finish with a final sprinkle of ¼ tablespoon of oregano. Enjoy!
What to Serve with Greek Salad
This simple Greek salad recipe is popular, in part, because it’s so versatile: you can serve it as a first course or side dish to just about any entree.
That said, why not keep it in the family and go Greek? Try chicken gyros, chicken or pork souvlaki, whole roasted fish, or Kleftiko, a spiced lamb cooked in parchment paper. For a satisfying vegetarian dinner, serve with Gigantes Plaki (Greek Baked Beans).
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Greek Salad (Traditional Horiatiki Recipe)
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
- 4 medium juicy tomatoes, sliced into bite-sized pieces or wedges
- 1 English cucumber, partially peeled to make a striped pattern and sliced into half moons
- 1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced into rings
- 1 handful pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 (7 ounce) block Greek feta cheese in brine, torn into slabs
- Shock the onion (optional). If you’d like to mellow the onion’s raw taste, fill a small bowl with ice water. Add about 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar to the water, then add the sliced onion. Set aside to soak for 10 minutes or so.
- Combine the veggies. Place the tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, and olives in a large serving dish. Remove the onions from the water and add to the dish with the rest of the vegetables.
- Season. Sprinkle the vegetables with ¾ teaspoon of oregano and a pinch of kosher salt. Add the oil and vinegar (to your liking) then give everything a gentle toss.
- Finish and serve. Top the salad with slabs of feta and sprinkle with the remaining ¾ teaspoon of oregano and enjoy!
*This post appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2019 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers benefit.