I love oregano for its medicinal qualities as well as its amazing flavor. So whenever I can use it in a recipe, I’m happy to. This Greek salad is a simple way to use oregano and other Greek flavors in a tasty dish that satisfies the whole family. We love making this when the tomatoes and cucumbers are coming out of the garden at the same time.
A Little History of Greek Salad
While we don’t know for sure how the Greek salad came to be, we do know it’s not as old of a tradition as many think. The reason is that the tomato didn’t become a popular Greek ingredient until around the turn of the twentieth century.
It’s thought that the Greek salad was invented as a way to circumvent government-set prices for a simple tomato, cucumber, and onion salad by adding a slab of feta cheese on top. This dish became a favorite among tourists and has since made its way to many restaurants, potlucks, and backyard get-togethers around the world.
Greek Salad Without Lettuce?
An authentic Greek salad is simple mixture of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta, olive oil, and spices.
Many people wonder why a traditional Greek salad doesn’t contain lettuce. The answer is simple. A Greek salad is a summer dish since tomatoes and cucumbers grow in the summer. In Greece, lettuce grows in the winter since it’s a cool weather plant, making it traditionally unavailable during the summer.
An American-style Greek salad does include lettuce and may also include:
- peperoncini (pickled hot peppers)
- bell peppers
- stuffed grape leaves
Many people agree that an authentic Greek salad can include some of these additional ingredients but you must leave out the lettuce!
Another interesting thing about this salad is that it is traditionally made with large chunks of cucumber and tomato, rather than small dices.
Want More Greek-Inspired Recipes?
My family loves Greek food (and it’s healthy too!), so we eat a lot of it. Here are our favorite recipes:
- Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce – I love making this recipe in the summer when fennel, cucumber, and mint are easily available at the farmer’s market.
- Tangy Greek Salad Dressing – Tangy and delicious, this dressing is great on salads or over roasted vegetables. It’s also great as a marinade for vegetables or meat.
- Greek Meatloaf Recipe – This meatloaf uses flavors such as lemon, fennel, and mint that are reminiscent of gyro meat I often ate while traveling in Europe.
- Greek Stir Fry Recipe – This fast and simple recipe is perfect for weeknights or any time you need a delicious meal quickly.
- Greek-Style Moussaka – I love simple casserole dishes that can be made ahead and reheated when needed. This one fits the bill and has saved me many times when I’ve had a new baby or another reason that cooking was difficult.
- Greek Chicken Skillet – This recipe is right up my alley since it uses one pan and includes lots of healthy Greek-inspired ingredients!
Greek food is so delicious, we often include a Greek-inspired dish in our weekly meal plan.
My Big Fat Greek Salad Recipe
- 2 cucumbers (chopped)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
- ¼ cup red onion (thinly sliced)
- ¼ cup red bell pepper (chopped)
- ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
- ½ cup pitted green olives
- 1 TBSP fresh oregano (minced, or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 oz feta cheese (diced)
- In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and olives.
- Add oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, and olive oil and stir to combine.
- Add diced feta and gently toss.
- Refrigerate for an hour to let flavors meld.
- Serve and enjoy.
Do you love the flavors of Greece? What’s your favorite dish?