Greek Salad

What a Greek salad made of

Greek salad photo
Typical Greek salad
Note the complete absence of lettuce

The picture on the left shows a typical Greek salad that consists mainly of quartered tomatoes, thick slices of cucumber and sliced red onions. Olives are also sprinkled in most of the time. Depending on the place they can be augmented with green peppers, peperoncini, capers, and of course, feta cheese.

Other ingredients that you will find in a Greek salad often include oregano, pepper, salt, and of course a typical dressing of oil mixed with lemon and/or vinegar. A final touch of capers or a few aromatic basil leaves are a welcome addition but not a usual one.

The feta cheese sometimes is diced and mixed in with the salad and sometimes it comes as a large square piece on top. In this latter case Greeks will break it with a fork and mix it in with the rest of the salad at the table.

It might come as a surprise to those who have only tested a Greek Salad in Greek restaurants in the UK or the US that a Greek salad does not typically include lettuce. Only in the most touristy restaurants in Greece you will be served Greek salad with lettuce.

When and where to eat a Greek salad


To ensure that you taste a traditional Greek salad with no lettuce, order a "horiatiki" (Χοριάτικη) or "village" salad at any restaurant in Greece instead of simply a "greek salad".

A Greek salad is the perfect companion for lunch and dinner. Greeks typically eat a Greek salad with every meal when the main vegetables comprising it are in season - typically between May and September. Once the cold weather rolls in, the Greek cuisine changes completely to accommodate seasonal vegetables so a Romaine lettuce salad (μαρουλοσαλατα) is typically eaten in the fall and early winter, again with olive oil and vinegar dressing.

Greek salad is served throughout Greece during the summer and is prepared to order. It can be the perfect light lunch all by itself with some feta cheese and a loaf of bread. In this case, it is also light on the pocket since it is an inexpensive and healthy meal.

Greeks typically use one salad plate as communal dish. A plate of Greek salad would reside in the middle of the table and everyone is free to dive in with their fork or to dip their bread in the oil. Communal salads and appetizers are often found on family and close friends meals, but it's not out of the question for someone to take their own portion on their own plate. Most restaurants will accommodate guests with extra plates to divide the salad, especially in areas where tourists frequent.

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