Usually before publishing a post, I search online to see if there are similar versions of my recipe. I knew before searching that I would find gazillions versions of Greek Salad recipes, but I didn’t know that the term Greek Salad is being used in almost everything that has tomatoes and cucumbers:). I mean it was funny to see how stretched out the term Greek Salad has gotten. Below you’ll find an easy way to make a Mediterranean version of this salad!!Jump to Recipe
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I grew up in Albania, which is a small Mediterranean country just North of Greece. It was pretty typical for us to eat Greek Salads in summer time, we just never called it Greek Salad. In Albania it used to be called more often ‘sallate fshati‘ which means village salad. As I was researching a bit on how Greeks call this salad, I came across the term Horiatiki which also means village. So it seems there is some common origin on this salad.
This salad used to be strictly seasonal in the Mediterranean region. Tomatoes and cucumbers had a summer seasonality, the earliest tomatoes would come out in mid-May and they were gone by September. There are also variations from country to country as well as regions within same country. Some region would use a different cheese, another region would not use peppers at all. Variations are endless and I will mention some for you at the recipe notes below.
How Do You Make Greek Salad?
When I first moved to US, I would often try to make food as we did back home just to have a taste of home. I was surprised to see tomatoes and cucumbers year around in the store. Well, I made Greek Salad unsuccessfully for almost a year straight. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good for those who had not been in the Mediterranean. But it fell short by a lot to what I was used to!! How could it be? It’s an easy salad with an easy dressing!! How could I get this wrong?
It’s all about the INGREDIENTS!! That’s the secret to this salad. In Greece, in Albania and surrounding countries most people eat seasonal and locally sourced produce. Often times produce has been collected in the field early in the morning and is being sold mid-morning in the farmers’ market and by lunch time you are having lunch with really fresh produce.
Produce Variety (Type)
The type of tomatoes and cucumbers make a big difference too. As I had this conversation with other Albanians living in US, some of them told me that they brought tomato seeds from Albania to plant in their backyard. I haven’t planted my own tomatoes yet, but I have found that Campari tomatoes come pretty close to the taste I was used to. When it comes to cucumbers, you have to buy English Cucumbers. They are long, tasty, crunchy and don’t have many seeds. They are pretty similar in taste to the cucumbers in Albania. Don’t buy the short and chucky cucumbers, yes they are cheaper but they are full of seeds and have no taste in my opinion. You’ll waste a good salad on those.
Chopping Ingredients Correctly
If you are going to serve a Greek Salad, don’t cube or chop tomatoes/cucumbers in small pieces. This salad is made with big pieces. Usually cucumbers are peeled and cut in circular pieces, if those are too big then semi-circle but not smaller than that. Tomatoes are cut in half heart shapes. Usually you remove the stem part then cut the tomato in half. Then each half is cut in 3 pieces (half heart shapes). Feta cheese is also cut in big chunks. You don’t want to crumble the cheese, that’s a different salad type.
Easy Greek Salad Recipe
Here are some notes that might help you prepare a good Greek Salad.
- Serve in a shallow salad platter, not deep.
- Add a lot of olive oil. A LOT!!! You’re not sprinkling the tomatoes and cucumbers, you want a layer of olive oil in the bottom of the dish.
- I prefer red win vinegar on this salad, but some people like lemon. Either one is fine. Please avoid processed dressings!
- You need some good quality olive oil. It needs to smell like olives and strong, you need the real thing!!
- Don’t be embarrassed to dip your bread in the salad dish. All the juices from the tomatoes, feta crumbles and oregano mixed in with all the olive oil in the bottom of the dish, make for a delicious mix. That with fresh bread is just heaven!! Believe me!
- Peppers are optional, but if you add them you have to use green peppers. I remember back home we used green peppers, but sometimes they were a different green than the green bell peppers. I’ll have to ask my mom who still lives in Albania how those peppers are called. I looked in several produce sections here in Florida and the closest I could come to is the Hungarian peppers. However, for a more traditional look please feel free to use green bell peppers.
Easy Greek Salad Recipe
- 5 campari tomatoes
- 1 English cucumber
- 0.5 small red onion
- 20 black olives
- 10 ozs feta cheese add to taste, I always add extra
- 1 green bell pepper I used a Hungarian pepper for the pictures
- 8 tbsps olive oil Most times I just pour from the bottle, so chances are I use more than 8 tbsps
- 3 tbsps red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsps dried oregano
- Wash and dry tomatoes and cucumber. Remove the tomato stems, peel the cucumber. You can peel only strips from the cucumber to create a striped look.
- Cut the tomatoes and cucumbers in big chucks. Place in the salad dish.
- Clean and cut the pepper in the desired shape. Place in the dish.
- Add feta cheese chuncks, olives (i cut in half because of the kids but you can leave them whole).
- When using red onion for this salad, I tend to clean and cut up the onion first. I place it in a bowl of water to remove some of the smell but it doesn't affect the taste. At this point, drain the onions and put over the salad.
- Add a pinch of salt (be careful with qty since feta cheese is very salty). Add oregano (usually over feta).
- Pour olive oil slowly over everything. Add red wine vinegar too. Don't toss, enjoy it:))
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please pin below image to Pinterest. Thank you:)
Other Summer Mediterranean Recipes:
For additional summer Mediterranean recipes, please check out the below recipes: