Traditional Greek Salad: Healthy, Nutritious and Easy to Make
A Gastronomic Tribute to Homer’s Mythical Heroes and Feta Cheese
It is impossible to visit any part of Greece without eating at least one traditional Greek Salad. I’ve had my fill almost everywhere, but I liked it better in Santorini. Not because the recipe was any different, but because the company was excellent!
I was spending one afternoon idling around the streets of Santorini with my then my boyfriend Hotass (not his real name, just a nickname he acquired on a funny occurrence!)
We stopped at a tavern for dinner in the evening while admiring a fabulous Mediterranean sunset over the Santorini Caldera. An exquisite view from a considerable height and the remainder of a massive volcanic eruption that shaped this circular archipelago.
While mulling over the possibility that the said eruption might have sent the famous Atlantis to the bottom of the sea, Hotass admitted that he had no idea about Greek foods, so it was down to me to order what I thought was worth experiencing for the first time. A virgin to moussaka and tzatziki, my American born and bred boyfriend licked his fingers after each course and proclaimed the Greek cuisine divine!
The truth is, you can’t go wrong with things that many people grow in their gardens. And you don’t have to physically be in Greece (even if it is preferable, being a holiday hot spot for all the right reasons!) to make a simple, filling, healthy and delicious starter or side dish such as this traditional Greek salad.
For me, it turned countless times in a whole meal, especially in the summer months when I go for anything light, healthy and easy to make.
Before you start preparing your Greek salad, here are a few things that could help you understand why the Mediterranean diet is regarded as one of the healthiest ones.
Feta cheese facts:
- It was first prepared over six thousand years ago, allegedly by a mythological cyclops named Polyphemus in Homer’s Odyssey.
- The original name was tyripheta, the Greek for a slice of cheese. The current name comes from the Italian fetta that translates as a slice.
- It is made of goat milk (30%) and sheep milk (70%), explaining the sharp taste.
Kalamata olives facts:
- Are cultivated in the coastal city with the same name, two and a half hours driving from the Greek capital, Athens.
- Are rich in antioxidants that prevent the free radicals from damaging the cells in your body, reducing chronic disease risk (cardiovascular, cancer).
- An antioxidant called oleuropein (that fights bacteria and some viruses in your body) gives the slightly bitter taste.
- Oleuropein together with hydroxytyrosol (also found in Kalamata olives), reduces the inflammation level in your body, fights against the effect of the UV, and reduces the risk of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
- Are rich in vitamins B, C, E and K, which benefit your heart health and eyesight.
- Are packed with minerals such as copper, potassium, calcium (good for your bones), iron (keeps anaemia away), phosphor and magnesium, all helping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Contain a high percentage (75%) of monounsaturated fats, mainly oleic acid, good for your heart.
- Contain a lot of water and have a nutritional value: 230 kcal, 13g carbohydrates, 7g fibres, 17g fats and 2.3g sodium per 100g olives.
The latter is also the maximum daily salt intake recommended for an adult. Keep in mind that the feta cheese is salty too, and with just one (healthy!) meal, you can easily exceed the suggested limit. Moderation is key!
Ingredients for Traditional Greek Salad:
Bell pepper (any colour)
A few Kalamata olives
Two slices of feta cheese (a pack has typically 200g, enough for two portions)
Three tablespoons of a quality Greek extra virgin olive oil
A sprinkle of dried oregano
A dash of ground pepper
A tiny bit of salt (there is plenty in cheese and olives!)
How to make Greek Salad:
It is not exactly rocket science. Just wash and dry the veggies, slices them, add the olives and place them all in a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper and a little olive oil and mix.
Fill two plates with the veggies, then place the slices of cheese on top, sprinkle the oregano, pepper and the rest of the olive oil, and that’s it. Your salad is ready! Colourful, healthy and I’m drooling! I’m off to the kitchen; I have just sorted my dinner! What about you?
Bon appetite or, as the Greeks would say, Καλή όρεξη [Kalí órexi]!
Traditional Greek Salad
- Mixing bowl
- Chopping board
- Salad mixing spoon
- Serving dishes
- 2 tomatoes organic, large
- 1 bell pepper organic, any colour
- 2 gherkins organic
- 1 red onion organic
- 1 handful Kalamata olives
- 2 slices Feta cheese
- 3 tbsp olive oil extra virgin, organic
- 1 tsp dried oregano organic
- 1/4 tsp rock/sea salt
- 1 dash ground pepper black
- Wash the vegetables, dry and slice them on a chopping board.
- Place the chopped vegetables in a large mixing bowl, add the Kalamata olives with a dash of olive oil and mix gently with a large salad spoon.
- Divide the salad mix and fill two serving dishes.
- Place a slice of Feta cheese over the vegetables.
- Sprinkle the remainder of olive oil, dried oregano and pepper on top.
- Serve cool as an appetizer or side dish for Moussaka or other meaty Greek dishes.
I hope you enjoyed reading this recipe and the little history! Would you mind sharing the love by saving a pin to your dinner boards? Thank you!
love making this, refreshing and easy to prepare. you cant beat a good salad recipe like this.
My all time favorite and I just found out why mine never comes out as it should: I do not use gherkins as you do. Making it tonight as it is a favorite of my family as well
I will make it tonight as well; the family rarely protested to this salad (even if is meat-free and they are big meat fans)!😄
Greek salad is one of my favourites. I love the fresh vegetables paired with the salty cheese and brined olives. It definitely is a simple and delicious salad.
I am drooling too. I want one. 🙂
A classic that never goes out of fashion. Thanks for the recipe and the interesting post
That salad looks delicious. I will give it a try. Thanks!
One of my favorite salads!
I LOVE a good Greek salad! Thanks for the delicious recipe!
This was the perfect salad to serve at my last BBQ. It was cool and refreshing.
True, Greek salad is a great side dish choice for any meal!:)
I love Greek salad! This was so good!
This recipe looks so fresh and delicious!
Very good! I used feta crumbles instead of slices.
Feta in any shape and form goes and still makes this salad delicious!:)
I learned so much reading your post! Your trip sounds like it was dreamy and your Greek salad looks wonderful.
Thank you for your kind words!:)
I love Greek salad, and this recipe looks so refreshing and delicious 😋 I am excited to make this salad for a BBQ next week, thanks for the recipe
I need a salad right now! I love how vibrant this salad is and I am a big fan of feta cheese. I am going to make this and pretend I am sitting in a Greek cafe eating it.
This is what I pretend, too!😄
One of my most favorite salads ever! Love the combo of creamy feta and fresh veggies.
My daughter and I eat a lot of salads during the summer months. I love olives. Thanks for sharing.
So refreshing after being in the hot sun all day. Cool and healthy.
Greek salad is such a lovely summer meal! Thanks for your detailed post!
Yum!!! I love this recipe! Thank you for putting together a perfect Greek salad!
I love a good Greek salad, but I never make them at home. This recipe was fantastic and I already can’t wait to make another one!
This was so flavorful, and I love how simple it is. The feta really makes it for me.
I love a Greek salad – it really is a perfect light meal!
Traditional Greek salad has all my favorites! Feta and olives YUM
Feta is one of my favorite cheeses and it’s delicious. It fits perfectly in a salad and this makes me feel in Greece right now!
It’s always been my dream to visit Greece and this greek salad was able to transport me if I closed my eyes. 🙂 This was so easy and delicious to make!
Yum! Greek salad is such a classic but always tastes amazing
This all looks very appetizing! I love Greek salad so much. Delicious, simple, and healthy! Looking forward to having this for lunch 🙂
OMGSH – This looks SOOO yummy!! Very interesting health facts too!! This is lunch today – thanks for sharing!! 🙂
I’m glad you share my tastes for a healthy and light lunch:))
Learned something new about olives! Looks so fresh – need to get these ingredients on my grocery list asap.
Looks so delicious! Greek food is definitely some of the best.
I love how you added a few facts. I really didn’t know that Kalamata olives are sooo good and healthy! Wow! And I am lucky cause I love olives, but I know so many people who hate them… However, I believe, without good olives this salad is losing its taste.
Thank you for this great post! I really like to learn about Greek food and traditions!
It’s hard to beat a good Greek salad! Thanks for the fun facts – I love digging a little deeper and adding fun tidbits to the knowledge base. 🤗
Thank you, that’s very kind!:)
I really like how you started with a funny anecdote, gave some history, and explain the health benefits of the ingredients before teaching how to make this salad. Fun read!
Thank you! If not all stories have food, all foods have stories!:))
Looks so delicious! Greek salad is my favorite! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Alyssa – https://coffeefitkitchen.com/