With juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, salty feta, and briny olives, this easy Greek salad recipe will transport you to a seaside café on the Mediterranean coast. Okay, maybe not, but you get the gist. Called horiatiki, meaning “village salad,” in Greece, this vibrant side dish highlights fresh produce, so seek out the best the market has to offer. A variety of tomatoes creates textural interest: Toss in halved cherry or grape tomatoes, diced Romas, and, if they’re in season, big beefsteak or heirloom wedges. Use an English cucumber (or a few Persians if that’s what’s available), which have smaller seeds and thinner skin than other varieties. Kalamata olives are the traditional choice, but black olives will work in a pinch. Last but certainly not least, avoid dry, pre-crumbled cheese—use the freshest block of feta cheese you can find (preferably feta in brine, which has a crumbly yet silky texture and salty flavor).
The simple homemade Greek salad dressing is made with equal parts oil and vinegar, plus Dijon mustard, dried oregano, and a few cranks of black pepper, but you do have a little room to play here. Have some fresh oregano? Swap it in for the dried. Not enough red wine vinegar? Supplement with fresh lemon juice. Whip the dressing ingredients together in the salad bowl you plan to serve in, but note that while you can prepare the vinaigrette ahead of time, you should wait to toss it with the salad ingredients until just before serving.
This is one of our favorite recipes to serve in warm weather alongside grilled chicken or pork, but it’s also delicious for a workday lunch all on its own. And while traditional Greek salad doesn’t have any leafy greens, if you want to toss in some crisp romaine lettuce, we won’t tell—just don’t forget the side of warm pita.