This salad is short in ingredients but big on flavor! It’s made the traditional way, inspired by Greek salad served on the island of Crete. It’s the perfect summer side dish that you can make in just 15 minutes.
Sometimes simple is best. This Classic Greek Salad has big chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers, a few slices of red onion, feta, olives, and a simple dressing of red wine vinegar and olive oil.
It’s easy to make, and is the perfect side dish for grilled chicken, kabobs, burgers and more.
What’s in a Greek salad?
- Tomatoes on the vine are the base of the salad (heirloom tomatoes would be good, too)
- Seedless cucumbers add lots of crunch
- Slices of red onion lend a zip to the salad
- The creaminess of crumbled feta complements the fresh ingredients nicely
- Kalamata olives add a fruity, briny flavor and gorgeous deep purple color
- The vinaigrette just has three ingredients: olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt
Why are seedless cucumbers wrapped?
You’ll find seedless cucumbers in the produce section, wrapped up in a piece of plastic shrink wrap. While it may seem silly to wrap something that already has skin, the shrink wrap prevents the cucumber from losing moisture, which ultimately keeps it fresher for a longer period of time.
The best part about seedless cucumbers is that you don’t have to go to the hassle of removing the seeds with a spoon—just give it a quick rinse and start chopping.
Slice a cucumber lengthwise, then cut into 1/4 inch half moons. Then, use a serrated knife to cut the tomatoes into 8 sections each.
Slice the red onion into thin slices. I like a nice thin sliver that melts into the red wine vinegar dressing and even starts to turn a little purple as it sits (that’s just the acid reacting with the onion). I get the thinnest slices by first cutting the onion in half and then chopping off both ends. Then I carefully slice tiny slivers of the onion. But if you’d like your onion diced or in a larger chunk, by all means do what you like!
Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt in a small bowl to create the vinaigrette.
Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions on a serving platter. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top. Top with the crumbled feta and kalamata olives.
Feta does indeed make it “betta”. I love the salty, tangy creaminess it adds to the salad. I usually buy feta in blocks instead of chunks. Then I can make the feta into whatever size chunks I’d like. The leftovers also keep longer in the refrigerator that way, since there’s less surface area. I store it in the brine that comes with the feta.
As for the olives, they’re traditional but not essential. So if you don’t like olives, leave them out! Kalamata olives have a gorgeous deep purple color and slightly fruity flavor. They’re full of heart-healthy fats, just like olive oil, and they add a richness to all of the fresh fruits and veggies in this salad.
Can I use another vinegar?
White wine vinegar or even apple cider vinegar would be just fine in this recipe.
Can I use another type of tomato?
You can use virtually any kind of tomato here (maybe not the green ones, though). Grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes—they would all be delicious.
Can I leave out the olives?
Sure. They are a love-them or hate-them kind of thing, so don’t let that stop you from making this salad. The feta adds a nice briny bite anyway. Speaking of, if you skip the olives, just add a little more feta!
What to serve with Greek salad
Greek salad goes perfectly with grilled kabobs, grilled chicken, grilled pork chops—really anything grilled! I always serve Greek salad with Chicken Souvlaki with Golden Rice.
Both the souvlaki and this salad were inspired by our honeymoon to Greece (specifically, Crete). The flavors of the food were so fresh, and we adored getting to know a bit of Greek culture through its food. I have yet to try to replicate the baklava, but it’s on my list of things to re-create!
This recipe is easy to duplicate for a crowd, or to scale down to serve 2 people instead (just halve the recipe).
Classic Greek Salad
- 1 seedless cucumber
- 4 tomatoes on the vine
- 1 small red onion
- 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 oz feta, block or crumbled
- ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives
- Chop the cucumber into ¼ inch rounds and then slice each round in half to create a half moon shape.
- Using a serrated knife, cut each tomato into 8 sections. Cut the red onion into thin slices.
- Combine the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Place the cucumber slices, tomato slices, and red onion slices on a serving platter. Crumble the feta into bite size pieces if it’s not already crumbled. Top with the feta and olives.
- Drizzle with the vinegar and oil and then serve.