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!

Traditional Greek Salad

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).

Ingredients for Horiatiki Greek salad

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).

Ingredient notes

  • 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.

Horiatiki Salad served with a side of bread

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:

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:

For all recipes, visit us hereAnd be sure to view our collection of Mediterranean diet recipes.

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4.79 from 75 votes

Traditional Greek Salad Recipe

Suzy Karadsheh
Greek Salad
Simple traditional Greek Salad with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, olives and creamy feta cheese.
Prep – 15 mins
Total – 15 mins
Cuisine:
Greek
Serves – 6 people
Course:
Salad

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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!

Nutrition

Calories: 102.9kcalCarbohydrates: 4.7gProtein: 0.7gFat: 9.5gSaturated Fat: 1.3gSodium: 2.8mgPotassium: 135mgFiber: 1.1gVitamin A: 125.9IUVitamin C: 18.7mgCalcium: 20.9mgIron: 0.5mg
Tried this recipe?

*This post appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2019 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers benefit.

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! Thank you for a healthy, fresh and satisfying salad. I served it with black eyed peas and Brussels sprouts, and of course the star of the show was this salad! I will definitely make it again.

  2. 5 stars
    I saw the Sodium content listed as 2.8 mg. It is definitely a lot higher than that with the feta kalamata olives Great recipe I include Peperoncini on the side too

  3. 5 stars
    This was a huge hit with my family. I will definitely keep this on the short list. I love the comment about adding tuna. Think Ill do that tonight with the left overs.

  4. 5 stars
    Yum! thanks for sharing this recipe. A family favorite and so easy for potlucks! Definitely agree with no lettuce-type fillers. We like yellow or red peppers for the sweeter taste and sub freshly squeezed lemon juice for vinegar. No sense in wasting the rest of the lemon, so add lemon zest (and even some pulp) as seasoning with the dried oregano and fresh ground pepper.

  5. One of the better Greek Salad recipes online, I try not to get too involved in weights & try for equal volumes of each staple salad ingredient maybe a little less Feta & onion than the other elements. I have also mixed the dressing first & thrown in the fine chopped onions to soak for 20-30mins; takes the edge off & slightly softens. As another points out a little of the Kalamata Olive Preserve works well for me (just a tsp or 2). I love this with my Lamb Moussaka the acidity cuts through the greasy richness like a treat (a little like mint sauce on roast lamb), whilst the crunch provides the perfect contrast. Yamas!

  6. I am allergic to bell pepper of any color. I'd like to make the Traditional Greek Salad you give the recipe for which looks so delicious and fresh. I was just wondering if you could suggest something else to use in the salad in place of the sliced bell pepper?

    1. Hi, Dixie. The peppers are a pretty essential ingredient in this Greek Salad. You could omit them and instead use lettuce for crunch, but it would be a bit of a different salad. Still good, just not as traditional.

    2. Not all places use bell pepper or even the olives. Where my family is from the olives are usually on the side and bell peppers aren't usually included. Honestly, this salad varies between villages/regions.

  7. 5 stars
    I use the brine from the kalamata olives in the salad. No salt is necessary. I also use lots of dried oregano, a pint of halved grape tomatoes, lemon-infused EVOO. I use lots of oil and brine so there’s always lots of liquids for dunking.

    1. PS. I cut all the vegetables into chunks of approximately the same size so everything fits on a soup spoon, which is how I like to eat it. The feta can be cut the same size as the veggies so it can also be scooped up onto the spoon, as well as the juices. It may not be how the Greeks do it, but in my house it’s how l do it!

  8. How am I supposed to know the size of a "block" of feta cheese?

    I am reading this recipe only because I found vegan feta, new at the supermarket this week, and decided to try it. A traditional Greek salad sounded ideal.

    But the block is 200g (I live in the middle of the EU; we use metric here). A blander recipe from the BBC also calls for four tomatoes, but only 85g of feta. A recent comment explains how to use a block of 200g, so I will go with that recipe and add a green bell pepper.

  9. This salad looks so good. I have been wanting to try it for some now. I am home bound right now and cannot seem to get all the ingredients at the same time. When I am able to get out on my own, it will definitely be on my table.

  10. 5 stars
    Great meal. Simple and quick to make. I couldn't do it fifteen minutes, but from start to finish (including clean up) it took me a half hour. I often make a dish that is close to this with tuna. Onion, black olives, tomato, tuna, cheese, salt, pepper, EVOO and red wine vinegar. The next time I make my tuna dish I am going to use this as my base, the cucumber and bell pepper will make a nice addition.

  11. Just a note for a correction. In the recipe itself at the bottom of the page, as far as I can tell, you soak the onions but then you never drain and blot and add them back to the salad.

  12. 5 stars
    Great salad, I will be missing all the great summer tomatoes as the weather gets colder here. I have a question for you about feta cheese. I always buy feta in a block that indicates it’s imported from Greece. I do like feta but have always found it to be a much drier cheese and a bit salty. That is until recently. When picking up cheese last week I took a bit longer to look at all the feta cheese that was for sale. One container was marked as being aged, was only sheep’s milk, where others are sheep and goats milk,, and the container had a short explanation on the side of the container about what the. Greek government requires. So decided to try it. Now this feta was the best I’ve ever tasted, it was creamy and not salty as some other feta. Suzy could you give us a 101 on different feta cheese. You always refer to feta as “ creamy” and wondered iif what I bought is more like what you are referring to having.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Marie! As far as feta cheese go, I typically use blocks of feta which I find tastier and more creamy than crumbled feta...Greek or Bulgarian feta are two of my favorites.

    2. Marie,I live on the Greek island of Corfu..This is a tip I was given by a local man in our village..If the feta is too salty,place it in a plastic dish ( with a lid ) add water put it in fridge for 24 hours and the salt will come out of the cheese..Also if it's not salty enough,do as above but add salt and then soak it for 24 hours..Whatever method you use place it of some kitchen paper to let any excess water drain from the cheese..When I've done this,I then put the cheese in a container and sprinkle Oregano (Rigani in Greek ) then pour some Olive oil over it all and leave for a few hours or longer to let flavours develop..My friend ( Spiros ) has been doing this for many years and it works..Enjoy..

  13. 5 stars
    This is the easiest and best salad ever! Depending on what I have on hand, I add or leave out things, but the absolute must have are the cucumbers and tomatoes. Mostly I use red bells for the peppers because they are sweeter, and I'll sometimes sprinkle with chives instead of onions. If I'm in the mood for the kalamata olives I throw them in, but not always. And I've started not salting it because its so stinking good without the salt! I might use baby mozzarella balls instead of feta, but not always. And I frequently leave off the dressing. No matter. This salad is a WINNER no matter how I change it up. What a diverse and delicious salad to have with the menu. It goes with everything! (I even eat it with breakfast.)

  14. 5 stars
    Excellent! I just want to specify 2 things: 1. do not use Roma tomatoes 2. Greeks like to salt the cut tomatoes in the beginning to release their juices because in the end, they like to mop up the juices, dressing, etc with a chunk of bread ( they even have a name for it, I think it's called: "pepare")

  15. 5 stars
    Best Greek salad EVER!! I’ve made countless times and now to have a Greek salad in a restaurant just won’t compare because they don’t do the ‘Traditional’ version (no lettuce). So easy to make too!