Such incredible abundance and variety of beautiful produce this time of year. Colorful, filled to overflowing displays at farmers’ markets with late summer’s bounty. All the right stuff for a superb Greek Salad: ripe, sweet and juicy tomatoes, cool, crisp cucumbers and full-flavored herbs. Such an easy salad to prepare with no cooking required. Use only a knife, a cutting board and perhaps fifteen minutes of cutting, tossing and drizzling. So little effort for so much flavor.
Greek Salad Days
If you live in the more Northern climates (like Montana), then you’ve probably been waiting all summer for this moment. When the tomatoes turn from orange to deep red and burst with sweet flavor and juicy goodness. We ate our first Romas right off the vine still warm from the sun. The next tomatoes to ripen were diced and tossed with quinoa, cucumbers, scallions and tons of parsley and mint for a fabulous Tabouli Salad. Our first of the summer.
And now we have enough ripe tomatoes for Greek Salad. It has taken lots of patience to wait for these larger, sweeter, juicier tomatoes to ripen. So worth the wait. With tomatoes playing a starring role in Greek Salad, their natural sweet lusciousness makes all the difference.
Horiatiki Salata — Greek Village Salad
While traveling in Greece a few years ago, we enjoyed a classic Greek Salad with most every lunch and dinner. Fresh and clean in taste and crisp in texture, this salad combines a wonderful balance of sweet, salty, sour and pungent flavors.
Traditional Greek salads enjoy tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, Greek oregano and olive oil in common. With so few components, using the freshest and most flavorful ingredients is essential for the best tasting salads.
Some cooks add freshly squeezed lemon juice or red wine vinegar or a combination of both. Some include onion and/or bell pepper. You’ll rarely ever find lettuce in a Greek Salad in Greece—unless you eat in a restaurant catering just to tourists. Greeks consider lettuce an American addition.
What do you include in your Greek Salad?
Kali órexi! (Bon Appetit!)
Greek Village Salad —“Horiatiki Salata”
Quick and easy Greek Salad makes a light, refreshing side salad or a quick lunch or dinner. A great salad for summer gatherings. It holds up well, and may even improve in flavor as it sits on the buffet.
Serves: 8 as a side, 4 as an entrée
Active Time: 15 minutes
3-4 cups tomatoes cut into wedges (a scant pound)
2-3 cups sliced cucumber peeled in strips, sliced ¼-inch thick (about ¾ pound)
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions, both green and white parts
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2-3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh Greek oregano
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2½ ounces Greek feta cheese, thinly sliced
- Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, scallions and all but 1 tablespoon of the herbs in a medium bowl.
- Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil.
- Gently toss the vegetables and herbs with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Arrange the salad on a platter or in individual shallow bowls. Top with the thinly sliced feta cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining fresh herbs.