If salads seem a bit boring to you, you haven’t tried this delicious, vibrant Greek salad that’s loaded with texture, color and fabulous flavor. The fresh herb dressing is the crowning glory!
Greek Salad is one of those things that I’ll almost always order when I see it on a menu. And something I crave all year long.
With crisp Romaine lettuce, crunchy cucumbers, juicy red tomatoes, shiny, briny Kalamata olives, slivers of red onion and a shower of salty, creamy crumbled Feta, there’s a lot to enjoy. But when you top it with a classic Greek salad dressing that’s infused with delicious fresh herbs, it suddenly becomes salad nirvana!
What kind of lettuce to use for a Greek Salad
Although Romaine lettuce is not my choice for most salads, it’s the perfect choice for the type of Mediterranean salad we’re talking about here. When I see a pretty head of Romaine with bright green leafy tops and crisp lower ribs, I can’t help snatching it up and planning a delicious Greek salad.
Romaine is a sturdy lettuce that has a much longer shelf life than it’s more wilty cousins like arugula or field greens. And it’s actually one of the healthier varieties in the greens family. Romaine is super low in calories and according to Healthline.com, it’s also “high in minerals, such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium. It’s naturally low in sodium. Plus, romaine lettuce is packed with vitamin C (high in antioxidants), vitamin K, and folate. And it’s a good source of beta carotene, which converts into vitamin A in the body.”
What are the classic Greek salad ingredients?
That depends on where you live. Here in the United States, a Greek salad starts with Romaine lettuce and then the usual cast of characters include cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, Kalamata olives and Feta cheese. I like to add sweet yellow, orange or red bell peppers to my Greek salads, for another layer of flavor.
If you were ordering a “Greek salad” in Greece (aka horiatiki salad) you might be surprised to see that there’s no lettuce. A classic salad in Greece is comprised of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onion, feta cheese, and olives. It’s usually dressed simply with salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil.
Although I’m certain I would absolutely love a “true” Greek salad while sitting on a sun-drenched terrace overlooking a dazzling brilliantly azure Mediterranean or Aegean sea, I’m quite happy with an American rendition including Romaine lettuce and that delicious fresh herb Greek Salad Dressing.
If you’re looking for a delicious, fresh salad to brighten up your menus, make a batch of our Easy Greek Dressing (throw it all in the blender) with Fresh Herbs and serve this wonderful Greek salad sometime soon. I think you’ll find yourself craving it again and again!
Cafe Tips for this Greek Salad
- I usually purchase hearts of Romaine unless I can find local, freshly harvested Romaine. Although the outer leaves of Romaine lettuce are the most nutritious, I find that, by the time it gets to the market, the outer leaves are often wilted and starting to brown.
- Sometimes, I find wonderful Romaine in boxes in the produce section of my local grocery store. The lettuce is prewashed and the leaves are hand-picked and of premium quality. I just check out all my options and purchase the freshest, prettiest Romaine I can find.
- To cut the Romaine lettuce, just stack the leaves on top of each other and use a sharp knife to slice across the leaves into ½-inch strips. If the leaves are large, slice them in half, lengthwise before you start slicing the ½-inch strips.
- You’ll want to pick up Kalamata olives for this Greek salad. Kalamata olives are NOT the same as black olives. Kalamata olives are large, dark purple, almond-shaped olives with a smooth, meaty texture. They’re named after the city of Kalamata in Greece. You can find them packed in a vinegar brine or olive oil. I look for the Kalamatas with a deep, dark hue, not that they taste much different than the lighter colored ones, but I love the presentation they give. I also prefer the olives that are packed in oil as I think they have better flavor, but the vinegar-brined olives will also be delicious in this Greek Salad.
- Look for the prettiest, reddest tomatoes you can find wherever you shop. In the colder months, the smaller cherry or grape varieties are often the best, but if you find great looking plum or vine tomatoes, go with those. Of course, if it’s summer, sun-ripened tomatoes fresh from the garden or farmer’s market are the Crème de la Crème!
- Look for seedless cucumbers for this Greek salad and cut them nice and chunky. I purchase either the mini seedless cucumbers or English cucumbers (aka European, hothouse or greenhouse cucumbers), the ones sold in plastic sleeves.
- I like to use yellow, orange or red bell peppers in my Greek salad but green will also work. True Greek salads (the kind you find in Greece) usually include green bell peppers.
- I like to serve a bowl of toasted pine nuts with my Greek salad. To toast pine nuts simply melt 1 teaspoon of butter in a small saute pan. Add ½ cup pine nuts, stir to coat and then cook over low heat, stirring frequently until slightly golden.
Thought for the day:
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
If salads seem a bit boring to you, you haven't tried this delicious, vibrant Greek Salad that's loaded with texture, color and fabulous flavor. The fresh herb dressing is the crowning glory!
- 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- ½ of a medium red onion sliced in very thin wedges
- 1 medium-size English cucumber halved and cut into ½-¾-inch chunks
- 1 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes or chopped larger tomatoes
- ⅓ cup Kalamata olives halved
- 1 medium-size yellow, orange or red bell pepper seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ cup crumbled Feta cheese
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Easy Greek Salad Dressing
- toasted pine nuts optional See Café Tips on how to toast pine nuts
If salads seem a bit boring to you, you haven't tried this delicious, vibrant Greek salad that's loaded with texture, color and fabulous flavor. The fresh herb dressing is the crowning glory!
Place chopped Romaine in a large bowl. Add the red onion, cucumber, tomatoes and olives and toss lightly. Drizzle with the dressing and toss lightly. Top with the Feta, fresh ground pepper and pine nuts (optional).
See Café Tips above in the post for further details and tips.
Nutritional information does not include Greek Salad Dressing. See that post for its nutritional info.