Bring a taste of the Mediterranean to your kitchen with this healthy salad that’s anything but boring.
If you’ve ever been to Greece, no doubt you will have sampled the nation’s famous salad. A simple and beautiful dish that’s all about fresh ingredients and a great balance of flavours.
Now, you may not be looking out across the Mediterranean, but you can still recreate an authentic taste of Greece in the comfort of your own home.
This salad is really easy to make and can be on the table in under 20 minutes, yet it feels fancy enough for a special occasion. We think it’s great for anything from a midweek meal for two to a weekend meal with all the family.
We’ve designed this recipe as a main meal, and it is a large salad that will fill you up more than you’d expect. Of course, a slice of great quality wholemeal bread is a fantastic accompaniment for those with big appetites.
The great thing about this salad is how easy it is to halve or double the quantities to suit your personal needs. You can even make double what you need and have leftovers for lunch the next day, though we recommend you don’t dress the salad until just before eating as the vegetables may start to wilt.
If you wanted to make this as a side dish, Greek salad goes well with most Mediterranean-style dishes. Salmon, mackerel and chicken breast all pair well, and you the salad also makes a great starter to a Greek-inspired dinner party.
What makes this recipe healthy?
Did you know that the Mediterranean diet traditionally followed in Greece is thought to be one of the healthiest in the world?
Studies have consistently shown that people who follow this diet are at lower risk for many of the most common illnesses we develop as we age, including heart disease and diabetes.
This salad is a classic dish that follows the principles of the Mediterranean diet:
- lots of vegetables (four portions per serving!)
- small portions of meat and dairy products (a little feta)
- hearty-healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil)
Serve it as a main meal or alongside a small portion of lean meat or fish and this meal provides a wide variety of nutrients without excess fat, salt or sugar.
How to make this delicious Greek salad
Our recipe starts with the traditional Greek salad ingredients: tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and feta cheese. We’ve then added diced red peppers and a few handfuls of lettuce to bulk out the salad so it’s enough for a main course.
If you want to stick to the authentic Greek recipe, perhaps serving the salad as a side to chicken or fish, simply leave these out.
First you chop the vegetables. So, get your cherry tomatoes cut in half, your cucumber sliced and your red (or green) bell peppers diced.
Slice your onion very finely into rings so that it doesn’t become overpowering. Add this all to a large salad bowl.
Add your chopped lettuce if using, along with your pitted olives (we like kalamata olives) and toss everything well.
Now it’s time to dress your salad. There are two options here:
If you’re making this salad ahead of time, combine the dressing ingredients (extra virgin olive oil, mint, oregano, black pepper) in a small container and mix well before setting aside.
If you’re about to eat the salad, you can save on unnecessary washing up by simply adding all the ingredients directly to the salad then tossing well so that the vegetables are evenly coated.
You may have noticed that the recipe doesn’t call for any salt, and that’s not a mistake. The wonder of the final ingredient – feta cheese – is that it seasons the salad for you. Don’t be tempted to add more salt as you don’t need it.
Add your chopped feta, give the salad one last toss and it’s ready to eat!
Greek salad recipe
½ red onion, very thinly sliced
½ cucumber, halved, deseeded and sliced
14 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red or green pepper, diced
half a head of lettuce, roughly chopped
16 good quality olives, pitted
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped OR ½ tsp dried mint
1 tsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
60g feta, cut into small cubes
1. Add the onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, lettuce and olives to a large salad bowl.
2. Add the olive oil, mint, oregano and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Toss everything well until thoroughly combined.
3. Divide between two bowls, top each with half of the feta and an extra few grinds of black pepper. Enjoy!