One of the simplest and healthiest salads I’ve tried is an authentic Greek Salad, also known as Horiatiki.
Here in Corfu, we’ve enjoyed tasting this regional specialty throughout the island. In fact, we ordered it at almost every restaurant we visited and the ingredients don’t change much.
If you’re looking to change up your salad routine with something fresh and delicious, a traditional Greek salad won’t disappoint. The key to this recipe is using blocks of real Greek feta cheese. You’ll also need a good-quality cold-pressed olive oil (Greek preferred) and some fresh or dried oregano.
The fresh vegetables in a Greek salad typically include cucumbers, red onions, kalamata olives, bell peppers and tomatoes.
Unlike in the United States, the vegetables are cut in thicker pieces, and there is rarely — if ever — lettuce in this dish. The only Greek Salad we ordered in Corfu that had a hint of lettuce was at the Cove Bar in Paleokastritsa (below), which caters to a tourist market. This is not an authentic Horiatiki salad recipe, but you can certainly try making it that way if it sounds appealing.
An authentic Greek salad is one of the healthiest choices you can make. Feta cheese is much lower in both calories and fat than other cheeses, and the olive oil provides additional benefits, such as heart-healthy fats and antioxidants. One of my favorite Greek olive oils is made by Theotoky Estate, an organic winery and olive oil farm in Corfu.
Also, there is no such thing as “Greek Dressing” like we get in America. Speaking to several locals, I learned that their traditional salad dressing is nothing more than good olive oil, some red wine vinegar, and dried oregano.
Watch my latest Chef Tips videos!
I found it interesting that dried oregano is preferred over fresh oregano on most of the islands. Apparently it dates back to earlier times, when the Greeks would preserve the treasured herb so they could use it year-round. If you would like to use fresh oregano in this dish, plan on using three times as much fresh chopped Greek oregano in place of one part dried.
This authentic Greek salad recipe is sure to be a hit at your next summer dinner party. Pair it with my chicken souvlaki skewers.
Authentic Greek Salad (Horiatiki)Recipe by Jason Hill – CookingSessions.com
Greek Salad Dressing:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (cold-pressed Greek olive oil if you can get it)
- 1 seedless English cucumber sliced in bite-sized rounds
- 1 red onion sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 2 heirloom tomatoes sliced into bite-sized wedges
- 1 red or green bell pepper sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup Kalamata or Corfu olives
- 4-6 ounces Greek feta cheese cut in slabs
- 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
- 12-15 capers optional
- Salt to taste
- Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar.
- Add cut vegetables to a bowl and toss with the dressing. Season with a bit of salt to taste.
- Serve on a plate, topped with the block of feta cheese, 1-2 tablespoons of additional olive oil, capers (if using), and the dried oregano.