Classic Greek Salad

This simple Greek salad is packed with fresh tomatoes, crisp cucumber, salty feta cheese, and briny olives, inspired by a trip to Santorini.

Greek salad

After our recent trip to Santorini, Greece — there couldn’t be a better inspiration to take home than the ubiquitous Greek salad. It’s no joke: nearly every restaurant we encountered in Greece serves this salad! And in the hot Grecian sun, there’s not much that tastes more refreshing than the combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, Kalamata olives, and salty feta. While in Greece, we learned a bit about how an authentic Greek salad is made. Keep reading for all our “secrets.”

Greek salad recipe | Greece

How to make Greek salad…the Greek way

There are lots of versions of Greek salad here in America; some of them are not so “authentic”. First of all: Greek salad isn’t served with lettuce! I grew up thinking that Greek salad was a romaine lettuce-based salad served with sliced black olives and a few feta crumbles. Oh, and usually some bad tomatoes too. Not in Greece!

In Greece, Greek salad is a big pile of tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and Kalamata olives (no lettuce) with a big block of feta on top. Sometimes you’ll find green pepper in the mix. It’s typically then drizzled with olive oil and just a little red wine vinegar, then sprinkled with some dried oregano!

For our version of the classic salad, we’ve indicated to crumble or cut the feta into cubes. While it’s traditional to serve the feta in a big block on top that’s broken with a fork, we find it’s easier to serve it to multiple people with the cheese broken. But feel free to go with your preference!

Greek salad

How to serve Greek salad

I have a confession to make: I am a former tomato hater. Perhaps you know one, or are one yourself. Those pink, out-of-season tomatoes from my youth turned me off until I was nearly a quarter of a century old. It wasn’t until I discovered ripe, red local farmer’s market tomatoes that I was able to overcome my distaste. If you’re on the fence or have been looking to work up the courage on tomatoes, this Greek salad with some ripe summer tomatoes is a great place to start.

Often, we’ll eat this Greek salad as a side-dish for a grilled meal on the patio in the summer, or bring it out first as an appetizer. It’s also tasty as a simple lunch with some crusty bread and olive oil. Alex and I made this version with local tomatoes and cucumbers, and it was divine.

Ways to switch up this Greek salad

There are numerous variations on the salad (like our recipe for shepherd’s salad). Some Greek salad recipes are made with green pepper, or a block of feta instead of crumbled. As we mention below, you can also add capers. Feel free to switch up this Greek salad as much as you’d like — skip the olives if you’re not a fan, or use cherry tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes. It’s easily customizable to your tastes

Greek salad | Greece

Looking for more Greek recipes?

Outside of this Greek salad, here are a few more recipes inspired by our trip to Greece:

This recipe is…

This Greek salad is vegetarian and gluten-free.

Print

Greek Salad


1 Star (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x

Description

This simple Greek salad is packed with fresh tomatoes, crisp cucumber, salty feta cheese, and briny olives. A real taste of the Mediterranean!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives
  • 4 ounces high quality feta cheese: crumbled, cut into squares, or in a block (Greek feta, if you can find it!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons capers (optional)
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Chop the tomatoes into rough chunks; remove and discard the seeds. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and add a few pinches of kosher salt.
  2. Thinly slice 1/2 red onion. Peel alternating strips from the cucumbers, making a striped pattern with the peel (alternatively, remove the peel entirely). Cut the cucumbers in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds; then, cut them into ½-inch pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, red onion, and cucumbers with 1 cup Kalamata olives, 4 ounces feta cheese crumbles, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar. If desired, add 2 tablespoons drained capers and 1 teaspoon dried oregano. Gently mix to combine.
  4. Serve immediately, or let sit at room temperature for several minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Greek

Keywords: Greek salad

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

10 Comments

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    June 30, 2014 at 6:19 am

    Classic Greek salad is one of our favs!! This recipe looks so tasty!

  • Reply
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness
    June 30, 2014 at 6:48 am

    Greek salad is such a simple meal that I could eat for all the evers – I am obsessed with it. And this recipe…gorgeous salad! Pinned!

  • Reply
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl
    June 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Perfect recipe for my garden tomatoes! Pinning!

  • Reply
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
    June 30, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Greek food is never complete without this salad.

  • Reply
    Jacki @ Two Forks One Love
    June 30, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    My favorite Summer staple!

  • Reply
    MB @ Bourbon and Brown Sugar
    June 30, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Lovely salad! I had a greek salad made by an Australian friend yesterday served with spinach leaves (still no lettuce) and lovely marinated feta… such a perfect summer salad!

  • Reply
    mimi
    July 1, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Beautiful! Although I’d have to include fresh basil, just because it’s summer. Greece is on our list…

  • Reply
    Magda
    July 3, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    You write about healthy eating, combine tomato and cucumber is not healthy,Cucumber contains an ascorbic enzyme and destroys vitamin C(which has a tomato).

  • Reply
    Zhanna
    August 2, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Hello!
    Our cousin has been living in Greece for 15 years. We visit her from time to time. And she cooks this salad nearly every day. She always puts lettuce and never cucumbers. You see there is another version of this salad.

  • Reply
    Beth M.
    May 7, 2018 at 11:15 am

    This was an awesome and fast easy dish- big taste! Leftovers were just as good as the first time around too, which is also plus in our busy home!

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