Everyone must have a classic salad recipe that they can whip up in mere minutes. A fresh salad with loads of crunch and a palate-cleansing tart flavour. A Classic Greek Salad is that salad! Perfect in its construction of everyday salad veggies mixed with fridge staples like olives and feta cheese. A solid recipe to have on hand when you want to boost your meal with extra veggies in a matter of minutes.
A Perfect Picnic Salad
I might be partial to this delicious salad when it comes to taking the mantle of the perfect picnic and potluck salad, but my Classic Greek Salad might be winning the race. A simpler version of the aforementioned Antipasta Couscous Salad, my Greek Salad is so easy that even the kids (very little ones too!) enjoy making it.
With its combination of crisp salad veggies like onion, capsicum, cucumber and tomatoes; this Greek Salad and its dressing can be chopped and made ahead. And that is why it is so good for picnics. Imagine having a chilled, non-soggy salad that you mix up fresh when you are sitting on the rug in a lush park somewhere soaking all the sun. Heaven!
Greek Salad Construction
No, I must admit I have never been to Greece and my knowledge of the almighty Greek Salad is cursory and comes from deli takeaways. In fact, when the boys were little and we sued to take them to a gorgeous local park (with a lake and several country-themed gardens), we used to stop at a local deli. At the deli, we used to buy a roast chicken and a fabulous Greek Salad. My recipe is based off that salad. It was fragrant with oregano, tart with big juicy pitted kalamata olives and studded with red cherry tomatoes and creamy sharp feta cheese cubes. It was a perfect accompaniment for the roast chicken.
Tomatoes – A lot of Greek salads have whole tomatoes chopped up. I like using cherry tomatoes because they are not only easy to cut but have less seed and liquid content. This helps keep the salad reasonably dry. Use the ripest, sweetest, cherry tomatoes you can find. If you can find big juicy beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes; that is even better.
Cucumber – Small Lebanese cucumbers for the salad are perfect for this salad. The smaller the cucumber, the less seeds and liquid it has. If your cucumber is large and very juicy, deseed it first by scooping the seeds out with a spoon. This will prevent the salad from going soggy.
Onion – Red onion has the right pungency and spiciness for this salad. I usually halve them and then slice into half-moon-shaped slices. This keeps the onion pieces subtle and thin for easy eating. If my onion is especially spicy and I will know this by how much my eyes water when cutting it, I like to add the slices to a bowl of chilled water for 5 minutes before draining and adding to the salad. This gets rid of the pungent, spiciness of the onion.
Capsicum – Any coloured capsicum is good for the salad, but green is my preferred choice. Green capsicum has a herbaceous, savoury taste compared to red and yellow which tend to be sweeter.
Feta Cheese – Use Greek-style sharp feta cheese. This is salty, crumbly and tart and renders really well in the overall mix of the salad. Dutch-style feta cheese is milder and must not be used in this salad.
Olives – Find the best kalamata olives. Often, you can get really meaty big kalamata olives. I love those. Make sure they are pitted.
Olive oil – This salad presents a perfect opportunity to bring out a robust, good quality olive oil with a strong olive taste. I love using the Cobram Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil with a robust flavour profile. Floral and fruity versions of olive oils are great too.
I hope you add this simple but delicious salad to your weekly meal preps. It helps cut through the richness of other foods and invokes sunshine! Happy picnicking! x
Classic Greek Salad
- 1 red onion
- 1 green capsicum
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers
- 15 cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup whole kalamata olives pitted
- 180 g feta cheese cut into cubes
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- Freshly crushed black pepper
Peel the onion. Halve it and cut into thin slices.
Cut the capsicum in half, lengthwise. Remove the stem and seeds. Using a sharp paring knife, remove the membrane. Cut the capsicum into 1-inch pieces.
Trim the ends of the cucumber. Cut the cucumbers in half, lengthways. Cut the halves into ½-inch pieces.
Cut each cherry tomato in half.
Add all prepped veggies to a large bowl. Add olives and feta cheese.
Pour the dressing over the veggies. Mix gently until entire salad is coated with dressing. Serve immediately.
Salad can be prepped ahead by a day by adding the veggies, olives and cheese to a lidded bowl and prepping and storing the dressing in a lidded glass jar. Mix when ready to eat.
Red Wine Vinegar – This can be substituted with white vinegar.
Optional Extras – You can add fresh oregano and mint leaves to amplify the freshness in this crunchy salad.
Olive Oil – Use a robust flavoured cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil for a delicious olive taste.