Fresh veggies, Feta, olives, cannellini beans, pearl pasta, and a vibrant, easy dressing – this might be the best Greek salad ever!
Greek salads are frequent flyers at The Café – we love the bright, vibrant flavors and the array of wonderful fresh ingredients that can be incorporated into these Mediterranean-inspired salads. This time, I substituted microgreens for the traditional lettuce and added tomatoes, cucumbers, cannellini beans, yellow peppers, olives, diced Feta, plus a handful of pearl pasta. In my book, this just might be the best Greek salad ever!
What kind of dressing goes with a Greek Salad?
In Greece, salads are classically dressed with a super simple dressing, consisting of good olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. Here in the United States, dressings for Greek salads generally also include dried herbs and sometimes lemon juice.
One of our favorite dressings for Greek salads originates from Zoe’s Kitchen, a chain of Mediterranean-inspired restaurants here in the U.S. Z0e’s is where we love to stop for quick, decently healthy, meals-on-the-go. They offer freshly made salads, soups, sandwiches and entreés. Each table at Zoe’s Kitchen has a bottle of their delicious, signature Greek-style dressing on it. A few years ago, I came up with a copycat version of Zoe’s wonderful dressing and it’s become one of my favorite go-to dressings.
I almost always have a jar of Zoe’s Copycat Dressing in my fridge. It’s super easy to make; just throw everything in a jar and give it a good shake. The dressing keeps well for several weeks, although it never lasts that long around our house. I use it with all kinds of greens and it’s delicious drizzled over just about any combination of fresh vegetables. Once again, it was the perfect finish for this Best Greek Salad!
Pearl pasta (also called Israeli couscous) is not a typical ingredient in Greek salads, but I love the texture and heartiness it adds. You can find it in the regular pasta section of the grocery store and also, in the areas with kosher and/or Mediterranean foods.
I love serving this salad for family dinners, get-togethers with friends, as well as taking it to potlucks and picnics. I always hear someone say, “This is the best Greek salad!” – hence the name. I know you will too!
Café Tips for making this Best Greek Salad
- This salad is easy to prepare ahead. Just prep all the ingredients (except tomatoes) early in the day and store them in individual ziplock bags. The pearl pasta can be cooked, drained and drizzled with a bit of olive oil. Allow it to cool, then refrigerate. Just before dinner, slice the tomatoes, combine all ingredients and drizzle with the dressing for a super easy salad.
- For a pretty presentation, serve this Best Greek Salad on a platter with the ingredients separate. Drizzle with a bit of dressing and toss at the table.
- I used microgreens in my salad, but they’re not essential. They just add a fun, pretty touch. You can simply omit them or sub watercress or baby arugula. You can also spoon the dressed salad over a bed of bib or butter lettuce – delish!
- For a whole meal salad, add tiny yellow or red potatoes, halved and cooked until tender and diced rotisserie (or leftover) chicken.
- Leftovers of this salad make a great lunch the following day. Add some warm crusty bread for a great meal!
- I love to use Nicoise olives in my Greek salads. Nicoise olives are small olives that are grown in southern France. Their flavor is similar to the Kalamata variety, but being petite in size, they’re simply perfect for salads like this Best Greek Salad. I find my Nicoise olives at Whole Foods or online.
- I like to use a block of Feta cheese, diced into bite-size pieces, but you could also use crumbled Feta.
- The amounts of each ingredient in this salad can be varied. Add more or less of each, to taste.
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Fresh veggies, Feta, olives, cannellini beans, pearl pasta, and a vibrant, easy dressing - this might be the Best Greek Salad ever!
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 3 Persian mini cucumbers or 1 large seedless cucumber
- 1 large bell pepper diced
- ½ cup pitted Nicoise or Kalamata olives
- ½ medium red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup canned Cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- ½ cup diced Feta cheese
- 1 cup micro greens or baby arugula optional
- 1/2 cup dry pearl pasta or Israeli couscous cooked according to package directions.
- Zoe’ s Copycat Dressing
See Café Tips above for more detailed instructions and extra tips.
Nutritional information does not include Zoe's Dressing. See that recipe for its nutrition facts.