Greek salad, also called “Horiatiki” in Greek language, is highly admired within the Mediterranean cuisine. It is a great combination of simple, yet fresh and delicious ingredients that capture the true culture of the Mediterranean region. Over time, it has become one of the most popular salad types that people prefer to prepare, as it can ideally suit the meat lovers, vegetarians, even vegans. Hana’s Recipes has put together few tips and tricks as well as other interesting information about this meal which can be made as both the side dish and the main course. Obviously, the form depends on your preference.

Reasons to prepare the Greek salad

As already introduced, one of many advantages that people value about the Greek salad is the ingredient combination. The traditional version of the salad includes tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, green bell peppers, olives (mostly black ones) and feta cheese, all mixed together and seasoned with oregano, salt and extra virgin olive oil (if possible to utilise). They all provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to the salad. Let’s break it down a little more:

Except for the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, particularly tomatoes and cucumbers have a high water content which helps to keep the human body properly hydrated. In addition, cucumbers are specifically low in calories. Red onions help out with lowering cholesterol levels and improving the heart function. A similar benefit is provided by olives that are rich in monounsaturated fats, also contributing to the healthy human heart. Green bell peppers, as the last vegetable ingredient in the Greek salad, contain fiber and bring with themselves proper weight management.

One of the most crucial ingredients is the feta cheese. It is a great source of protein, enhancing muscles’ repair and their overall growth. Moreover, feta cheese is high in calcium that supports the human bones. It also carries with itself beneficial bacteria, helping out with the overall gut health. Except for the feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil is also an essential Greek salad addition. Similarly to olives, it contains monounsaturated fats, contributing to the risk reduction of the heart disease. Extra virgin olive oil also helps to reduce inflammation in the human body.

Not often do we speak in our food blog about the health benefits of the seasonings, just about their ability to strengthen the flavours of the added ingredients. For instance, salt that is being added into the Greek salad is needed for the maintenance of the fluid balance as well as correct muscle functioning. In the case of oregano, as the second important seasoning in the Greek salad, it contains compounds that have antibacterial properties. Oregano also reduces bloating and enhances the overall digestion process after eating.

Another great benefit of the Greek salad is that other ingredients (not just the mentioned ones) can be added, potentially even replaced if we are preparing the salad for someone who is vegan. Then the classic feta cheese should be substituted with a proper alternative. The same goes for the meat lovers. Grilled chicken bites or shrimp pieces are ideal ingredients, bringing extra protein into the Greek salad. Besides this, additional vegetables and greens can be utilised as well, including avocado, lettuce or carrots.

Greek salad. Photo: Freepik
Greek salad. Photo: Freepik

Greek salad: Tips & tricks on how to make it truly Mediterranean

  1. Extra virgin olive oil: It has already been mentioned that if possible, extra virgin olive oil should be used to prepare the Greek salad. Obviously, the true Greek one is not always available, however the best quality one should be bought to achieve the rich Mediterranean flavour at the end as well as obtain the mentioned health benefits above.
  2. Quality feta cheese: Similarly to the extra virgin olive oil, feta cheese that is being added into the Greek salad should also be of high quality. In that case, the right aroma as well as texture are contributing to the overall satisfaction from the salad. It is also suggested that the block of feta cheese is placed on top of the Greek salad instead of being crumbled into it. This is the traditional way of preparing the salad, which keeps the feta cheese from getting mixed too much with other ingredients and influencing their unique flavours.
  3. Layering: It is advised to layer the Greek salad in a certain way. Tomatoes should be firstly put on the bottom of the salad bowl, as they release the most flavourful juice. After that, begin with adding other vegetable ingredients, certainly including the most important ones like cucumbers, bell peppers and red onions.
  4. Preparation of the onions: Slice the red onions thinly. In this way, you will ensure they blend well together with other utilised ingredients in the Greek salad. It is also recommended to soak sliced red onions in either ice water or vinegar for 15 minutes before they are mixed into the salad. This will cause the onions to properly release their flavour.
  5. Avoid overloading: Although we have mentioned before that adjusting the traditional recipe for the Greek salad is possible, you should avoid adding too many new ingredients. In such a way, not only will the salad lose on its classic preparation but it might also highly affect the final taste which is not ensured to be positive. Even in the case of a meal like salad, it is better to stick with the old saying “Less is more”.
  6. Serving tips: Many times, a nice serving touch is needed to complement well the overall taste of the salad. The Greek salad is not an exception. Instead of overloading it with too many additional ingredients and thinking it will cause the feeling of a full stomach, try serving the Greek salad with pieces of crusty bread. In the Mediterranean regions, the salad often acts as a light side dish and pairs well with other Greek delicates like souvlaki or moussaka. In terms of serving, try offering the salad chilled and after a few minutes once the preparation is finished. This will give the salad time to properly meld the flavours together and to be served refreshed, especially appreciated during hot summer days.

Inspirational videorecipe to help you make the traditional Greek salad

We hope our tips & tricks as well as the videorecipe above will be beneficial for you in the future when preparing the Greek salad! Good luck and bon appetite!

Hana’s Recipes also recommends trying out the following salad recipes: Convenient egg salad, pasta salad with chicken and delicious potato salad.

FAQ 1: Can I use different types of olives in the Greek salad?

Although Kalamata (black) olives are the most traditional choice for the Greek salad, it is certainly possible to use other types of olives as well. At the end, it should all be based on your general preference and what you are craving at the moment of salad preparation. You can also use a mix of olives (for instance, black and green) as an alternative to satisfy more people with the salad.


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