classic greek salad recipe
I should start off this Greek salad recipe by saying that there is no such thing as a ‘Greek salad.’ There are many, many delicious salads to be found in Greek cuisine, from your traditional leafy variety to dishes that are shredded, boiled, and pureed. The salad most people are referencing when they talk about Greek salad is horiatiki, a traditional villagers’ salad that can be found at pretty much every taverna in Greece and every Greek restaurant in the rest of the world.
To be honest, I never really liked ‘Greek salads’ until I first traveled to Greece. I just didn’t quite get it until I began to appreciate and fall in love with the country’s cuisine, and once I did this salad became emblematic of what I love about it. For me, Greek food is about simplicity, freshness, and quality - and those three attributes are what make this salad so timeless and perfect.
Tomato, cucumber, onion, green bell pepper, olive, feta, olive oil, oregano, salt. Those are the components of a classic horiatiki, and each ingredient should be carefully selected. I’m cheating by making this salad in the winter instead of at peak tomato season, but fresh produce is key.
I also did something a little different with the cheese - I used a vegan feta cheese from Vromage, an amazing plant-based cheese shop in Los Angeles that is now using Idyll olive oil and fleur de sel in its delicious creations. For fellow vegans not fortunate enough to live near a vromagerie, I’ve heard of success with seasoned/soaked tofu as a feta substitute. For those who do eat cheese, try to find a good Greek feta. And for everyone, Kalamata olives and a high-quality Greek extra virgin olive oil are a must - if you’re looking for a good oil brand I happen to know of a really great one called Idyll.
Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, the rest is easy - just chop the vegetables to your liking, combine them with the olives and a couple pieces of feta (not crumbled, but in whole blocks), sprinkle a little dried oregano and fleur de sel on top, and pour on the olive oil. Sometimes I’ll add a splash of thyme vinegar, but I usually just stick with the oil so I can really appreciate the flavor - and if you do it right there should be plenty of flavor to appreciate.
Classic 'Greek Salad' (Horiatiki) Recipe
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1/2 red onion
- handful kalamata olives
- 1-2 squares of feta
- pinch of oregano
- pinch of fleur de sel
- 1/4 cup Idyll olive oil
- cut tomatoes and cucumbers into wedges
- thinly slice green pepper and red onion
- combine cut ingredients in a bowl and add olives
- top with one or two wedges of feta
- sprinkle with oregano and fleur de sel
- generously pour olive oil over everything
- enjoy the salad on its own or with a good hunk of bread to soak up the oil