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What’s a REAL Greek Salad??

by Sava

You see it on most menus here in the US and you think you know what it is. As long as it has feta cheese in it, you think, that’s what makes it a Greek salad, right? Not exactly! Of course, to me, any salad is better with feta cheese in it, but that is NOT what makes it a Greek salad. While we were in Greece, we ate this salad with every lunch and every dinner. Many times we bought the ingredients and made our own in our room or on our balcony before going to dinner. It is one of those things we never got tired of. In Greek it is called a Horiatiki Salata – Village Salad, and it is made with the simplest ingredients. First of all it does not have any lettuce. It includes only 7 ingredients:

Tomatoes cut in wedges                                         Kalamata olives
Cucumbers chopped                                                Feta cheese crumbled
Green bell pepper sliced                                        Olive oil
Onions sliced

Mix all vegetables and drizzle olive oil over all. Sometimes it is served with lemon or vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.

I think I have mentioned this before but once again, the tomatoes in Greece are like no others. They have an intense flavor that is so fresh it is beyond description. We can’t get tomatoes like that around here so if you can grow your own that’s as close as you will come. If that is out of the question make sure your vegetables are as fresh as possible. If you have a Farmers’ Market you will often find heirloom tomatoes which are quite delicious.

The first Village Salad we had was on our first trip to Greece, after meeting up with Georgia and Floyd at our Hotel, the Thission in Athens. After a joyful reunion and refreshing shower, we met outside at the Garden Cafe and ordered it with warm baked bread and glasses of Retsina wine. This was the beginning of our Greek Journey With Fork and Pen and you will find it on page 45 and 46 of our book. You can order our book right here if you click on the photo of it.

Needless to say, this salad goes with everything! If you order it off your favorite menu and it arrives with lettuce…well, you will know that is not a REAL Greek salad.

Thanks for checking us out. See you next time. Yassou!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Maddie January 27, 2013 at 8:17 am

Wow, you certainly straightened me out. I didn’t know about omitting the lettuce AND I always thought ripe black pitted olives were one of the ingredients for a true Greek Salad. I always have the 7 ingredients you mentioned, including Kalamata olives, so now I can have a “Village Salad” every night with heriloom tomatoes. Thanks for enlightening everybody.



Sava January 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Hi Maddie, I never even had a black ripe olive until I moved to CA and had it on a pizza with pepperoni (Dan’s favorite combo). We always had Kalamata olives growing up. Let’s face it, those ripe olives don’t really have much flavor! As for Kalamata olives…yum! Bursting with flavor! The oil and vinegar they are in helps a lot, of course! They certainly add a lot to a salad! Now that you know…enjoy it even more! Thanks for the comment!


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