Cooking Basics

How to make authentic Greek salad

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Greek salad
Don't be stingy on the Feta
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Authentic Greek salad is always made with love

Who wants to cook when itís warm outside? What about hot drippy pizza during a heat wave? Ė No thank you. An authentic Greek salad (Horiatiki) is not only rich in good fats and heart-healthy nutrients, itís so addictive and good.

This summer salad dish is cooling and loaded with pure ingredients all the way down to the oil and vinegar. Itís easy to prepare and filled with color so it looks just as good as it tastes. Best of all, thereís no cooking and preparation is a matter of chopping.

Kitchen Equipment

Cutting board

Salad bowl

Knife

Wooden spoon

Ingredients for Four Portions

1 cup of traditional French or Greek Feta (low fat just won't taste the same)

1 cup chopped tomato

1 red onion

1 green pepper

About 1 handful of pitted Kalamata olives

1 handful fresh or one tablespoon dried oregano leaves

Extra Virgin olive oil, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste



Directions for an Authentic Greek Salad

  1. Wash all of your produce and leave it to strain. Use a good kitchen knife to slice the cucumber, red onion and pepper. Dice the tomato into bite-sized pieces.  
  2. In a large bowl, add the tomato, red onion, pepper, cucumber and olives. Throw in the fresh oregano leaves. Shake in pepper and add just a pinch of salt. Remember, the olives and feta already has salt so thereís no need to include much more. 
  3. Use a wooden spoon to stir the ingredients. 
  4. Chop feta into bite-sized squares and mix it in. 
  5. Let the salad sit out for 15 minutes so the herbs and seasonings really get into the other ingredients. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil into the mix and add a few more oregano leaves. 
  6. Serve from the bowl with hunks of fresh bread and set the olive oil on the table so people can add more to taste.  

Adults may want to pour themselves a glass of red wine. Since red wine is fermented in the grape skins, itís high in antioxidants and cardioprotective polyphenols like resveratrol. Translation: Itís good for the blood, prevents clotting and reduces arterial plaque from forming, according to the Mayo Clinic. Limit consumption to one glass a day.

Common Add-Ins

Many food lovers take the time to learn an original recipe so they can build on it, adding their own ideas and favorites:

  • Capers! Throw in a few teaspoons of capers to vary the texture. Rinse them first to remove some of the salt. 
  • Marinated artichoke hearts bring a little tang to the dish. 
  • You may have noticed that authentic Greek salad doesnít have lettuce. Many restaurants and home cooks will throw in rocket lettuce to make this more substantial. 
  • To contrast the olive oil, you can always squeeze in lemon juice or a little white or red wine vinegar. 
  • Chopped parsley offers a nice garnish without throwing off the flavor.  

Tips

  • Allow the ingredients to dry in a colander before chopping them to prevent excess moisture from making it soggy. 
  • The flavor of your dish goes up in direct proportion to the quality of ingredients. Check out gourmet food shops for the feta and olive oil. 
  • Note that the feta adds a lot of calories to this meal. You can always reduce the amount to suit your diet, the Greeks wonít mind. 
  • Wondering how to enjoy this meal on the go? Like any summer salad, you can wrap it up in a corn tortilla with a separate mini container for the olive oil. 
  • Make sure to use pitted olives and drain them to shake out excess salt. Removing the pits out yourself is laborious.  

Take your time when eating, and enjoy every bite. 

References:

Mayo Clinic

Epicurious


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