This Classic Greek Salad from Crete is a vibrant, fresh dish to add to your summer menu.
It is the perfect side to accompany your favorite grilled meats or fish, but it is delicious enough to stand alone as a light lunch with a bit of bread on the side. It keeps well, so you can take it to a potluck or package it up for work lunches.
My kids love this one! Which makes me happy as it is packed with veg. Plus, it's incredibly easy to make; in just a few minutes, you can have a tasty and colorful salad that will become a staple in your summer kitchen.
This recipe was passed onto me by a friend who owned a bar in Crete. It was a staple of the Greek lunch. And I have some fantastic memories of big bowls of this Greek salad, warm pita bread, tzatziki, hummus, melitzanosalata, and the most amazing legs of lamb and sides of fish on the BBQ.
Compared to some recipes you find online, it is relatively simple. But the flavors are perfect. But see below for ways to adapt it.
These notes are here to help make this recipe a success; they cover some but not all ingredients; for a complete ingredient list, check out the recipe card below.
Extra virgin olive oil: Use the best quality oil you can afford. It doesn't need to be Greek, but it does need to be good.
Tomatoes: We ate this with large ripe Greek tomatoes, which are nothing like tomatoes here. Greek Tomatoes are firm and have very few wet seeds. The recipe suggests cherry tomatoes as they are a good substitute.
Cucumber: Use a hot house English/continental cucumber.
Olives: Kalamata olives are perfect here, as they have a real fruity flavor.
Fresh Mint: This adds a real fresh zing. Leave it out of you don't have it.
We've tested this recipe at least 3 times to ensure it works well for you, have a look at our tips for getting the best dish you can!
- If you are making this in advance, I suggest deseeding the cucumbers. It might seem like an extra effort, but it stops the salad from getting too watery as it sits. If I am eating it straight away, I don't worry about this.
- Make sure to let the tomatoes sit in the dressing for 10 minutes at room temperature. It releases liquid from the tomatoes, which adds to the dressing and improves the whole dish.
- Greek salad should be served fridge cold, so while the tomatoes are at room temperature, keep everything else in the refrigerator until you assemble the dish.
- Add the feta just before you want to eat the salad, and only stir it a little as you want to keep it in nice chunky cubes. Some parts of Greece will place the whole block of feta on top of the salad, but it is always cubed in Crete.
Why You'll Love This Classic Greek Salad
- It is so easy to make.
- It is fresh and delicious.
- It is so versatile; it goes with almost any protein.
- You can use leftovers for work lunches.
These are all just suggestions and things that have worked in our test kitchen, but it is your dinner, so adapt it to suit your family. That is the beauty of cooking; we can all create our own delicious meals.
- If you have some great plum tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, chop them into quarters and use them instead of cherry tomatoes.
- Many recipes add bell peppers; feel free to add sliced bell pepper to your salad.
- Greek Feta is the classic cheese, but you could swap it out for goat's cheese.
- For a salty briney hit, add some capers to your salad.
- Swap the kalamata olives for some large Greek olives. Their sweetness can enhance the salad.
- Add meat: If you have some leftover lamb or chicken, they are great added to the salad. Shred them and drizzle them with a bit of olive oil before adding them to the salad. Or better yet, stuff a pita bread with shredded meat, Greek salad and devour.
This salad is the perfect lunchtime meal, especially if served with bread to mop up any leftover dressing and stray bits of feta.
For dinner, serve it as a side next to chicken, salmon, pork, or lamb. It is also perfect for serving with kebabs!
Wine For Greek Salad
For white lovers, pick a light, crisp white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or a Verdejo. For those who prefer red, go for a chilled Beaujolais. Avoid Tannic reds as they will taste sour next to the salad. Alternatively, an icy continental lager would work well.
If you make this Classic Greek Salad, don't forget to come back and comment. You can also tag me on social media @sprinklesandsprouts
Any questions about the recipe? Use the comments section below.
Get the Recipe
Classic Greek Salad
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cucumber deseeded, then roughly chopped
- ½ red onion thinly sliced
- 20 Kalamata olives
- ½ cup feta cheese cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves
- Combine the oregano, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and halved cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Let this sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.1 teaspoon dried oregano4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil½ teaspoon salt2 cups cherry tomatoes
- Add the cucumber, red onion, and olives and stir well to combine.1 cucumber½ red onion20 Kalamata olives
- Add the cheese and stir gently.½ cup feta cheese
- Thinly slice the mint leaves and scatter over the salad.1 tablespoon mint leaves
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition is per serving