Greek Salad

Can you tell a good Greek Salad from a bad one? Here’s how to spot the latter.

Traditional Horiatiki

First use your eyes and take a look at the tomatoes. Are they soggy? Use your nose and smell if the onions are stinky. Third step, lift your fork and poke the cucumber. If it bounces off the plate in a rubbery way, take it as a bad sign. Lastly, touch your plate. If it’s cold, it means it’s been going stale in the fridge. Congratulations, you’re sitting in a bad restaurant manned by lazy kitchen staff!

When entertaining guests, most of us would like to get most of the preparation done beforehand. If you’d like to make Greek Salad ahead of time, for example like the night before the big event, the best thing you could do is to chop up the different elements of the salad and storing them covered in the fridge separately, in other words don’t mix anything. Only add the vinaigrette at the very last moment before you serve up. The salad will last for the rest of the remainder of the day – let’s say 6-7 hours; that is if you’re eating it for lunch.

Love Greek food? Then you’ll LOVE this fantastic book: Food From Many Greek Kitchens.

Food at The Real Greek

Adjusting the recipe for Special Diets

In Greece, Greek Salad is known as Horiatiki, which literally means “from the village”. Most of the calories are found in the olive oil, which is healthy and a serving will set you back 317 calories.

This vegetarian dish is naturally gluten free and if you remove the feta cheese it becomes vegan and paleo diet friendly. It is safe for pregnant women to eat.

What can you serve with Greek Salad?

Thanks to the dense nature of feta cheese a big bowl on its own will serve as a meal as a light lunch but otherwise you can enjoy the following with it:
proverb

  • Any grilled meat or fish
  • All types of bread
  • Deep fried/ tempura vegetables such as courgette or aubergine
  • Soup, such as Fakes (Lentil soup) & Fasolada (Butter Bean soup)

Lastly, if you thought Greek Salad had lettuce in it, think again.


I shot this Greek salad on the same day as the Tzatziki at The Real Greek’s Bankside branch. On a previous occasion we prepared roasted pork belly, recipe here.

You would have thought that it’s a no brainer to make a salad but in fact there are a few secrets to making a perfect Greek one. Let me talk you through the key points.

Real feta cheese

There is a wide variety of feta cheese on the market today including German and Danish ones that are considered fake by the Greeks. The problem with the latter’s European counterparts are that they are usually made just out of goat’s milk whereas authentic Greek feta comprises 50% sheep’s milk and 50% goat’s milk. So always check the label and make sure the milk has been pasteurised. Dodoni is an excellent product and is available in the UK.

Raw Tomatoes

The best tomatoes you can get are fresh, plum tomatoes. It goes without saying that the better the quality, the better the salad will be. Chop the tomatoes into big chunks.

Diced Cucumbers

Washing and chopping some cucumber is easy enough to do.

Dark purple olives

Kalamata olives work great but other varieties are also fine, as long as they are pitted.

Sliced red peppers

In Greece the bell peppers are usually green but they are of a different variety and are actually quite sweet. In the UK you have to hunt for the sweetest peppers available, i.e. the red ones.

Thinly cut onions

Finely sliced red onions give the salad an additional splash of colour.

Salad dressing ingredients

The salad dressing consists of extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. You can play with different types of vinegar, such as balsamic, if you like. When you’ve mixed the two, toss it with the salad ingredients. Leave out the cheese! The acidity of the vinegar messes it up.

Dodoni cheeseDried herbs

When the ingredients have been tossed, place the thick slices of feta cheese on top and sprinkle with dried oregano.

Horiatiki

See?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Drizzle with some more olive oil and you’re done!

Traditional Greek Salad

Now that wasn’t hard, was it? Enjoy your summer!

Of course, if you’re too lazy you can just visit The Real Greek and eat it there with flat bread or grilled meat dishes. You can read my full review here.

Looking for more salad inspiration? Here’s what other bloggers came up with:


Greek Salad
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 321.4g
  • Calories: 317
  • Fat: 27.8g
  • Saturated fat: 6.7g
  • Unsaturated fat: 0
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 11.4g
  • Sugar: 3.7g
  • Sodium: 780mg
  • Fiber: 2.5g
  • Protein: 3.3g
  • Cholesterol: 16mg

Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Prepare Authentic Horiatiki in a few easy steps.
Ingredients
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • ½ cucumber, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, cut into long strips
  • 5ml (1 tsp) salt
  • 5ml (1 tsp) oregano
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) red wine vinegar
  • 70g (2 oz) feta cheese
  • 100ml (3 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Place the tomatoes, onion, cucumber and red pepper pieces in a bowl.
  2. Mix the vinegar, salt and oregano in another container, then pour over the salad ingredients and give it a good toss.
  3. Place the cheese on top of the salad and drizzle with olive oil.
Notes
Serve with any barbecued meat or eat with vegetable crudités, chips or fresh bread.

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Comments

  1. Derek says

    Hmmm, well I agree with most of what you say. However during my extensive time as a server pre-career days, I worked at 2 establishments with great food and fantastic service. We often left sald plates and bowls in the freezer to keep the plates chilled for our guests. Whether the plate is cold or not has nothing to do with the quality of the food.

    Thanks,

    D

    • says

      Fair enough, Derek. It doesn’t matter whether the plates/bowls are cold but if the actual contents have been chilling in the fridge it robs them of flavour in the process.

  2. says

    I just got back from a two-week vacation in Greece. And yes…it’s true. The Greeks hold strong to the belief if the feta cheese isn’t from Greece, then it’s NOT feta cheese! (This looks SO good!!)

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