Authentic Greek salad

Authentic Greek salad 

This authentic Greek salad is packed with fresh tomatoes, crisp cucumber, salty feta cheese, and briny olives: just like they make it in Greece!

Greek salad
Here’s a restaurant-style Greek salad in Santorini — the feta is served in a block over the vegetables

Here are the elements of an authentic Greek salad:

Ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
Sliced cucumber
Thin sliced red onion
Kalamata olives
Feta cheese, usually served in a large block on top of the vegetables
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Dried oregano
For our version of the classic salad, we crumble or cut the feta into cubes. While it’s traditional to serve the feta in a big block on top that’s broken with a fork, we find it’s easier to serve it to multiple people with the cheese broken. You can use either method for the feta: both are delicious!

Greek salad

Find the best quality tomatoes
Like any simple recipe, you’ll find that Greek salad is 100% dependent on the quality of the ingredients. So for this easy salad, you’ll need ripe, in season tomatoes! Bonus points if they’re locally grown — or if you grew them yourself! Buying local tomatoes helps support your local farmers: so if there’s a chance to do so, we heartily recommend it. If call you can find is off-season, mealy pink tomatoes, do not even think about making this salad! The flavor here is 100% dependent on the quality of your tomato.

Buying the best feta cheese
Equally as important is the feta cheese you purchase. Skip the pre-crumbled stuff, and go for a block of full-fat feta cheese. It crumbles more easily, which isn’t what you want.

If you can find it, Greek feta (feta made in Greece) has incredible flavor; we’ve found it at our local grocery store. We’re also lucky here in Indianapolis to have locally-made feta from an artisan cheese maker , so if you have access to local feta, that’s a great option too.

How to serve Greek salad
I have a confession: I am a former tomato hater. Perhaps you know one, or are one yourself. Those pink, out-of-season tomatoes from my youth turned me off until I was nearly a quarter of a century old. It wasn’t until I discovered ripe, red local farmer’s market tomatoes that I was able to overcome my distaste. If you’re on the fence or have been looking to work up the courage on tomatoes, this Greek salad with some ripe summer tomatoes is a great place to start.

Often, we’ll eat this Greek salad as a side-dish for a grilled meal on the patio in the summer, or bring it out first as an appetizer. It’s also tasty as a simple lunch with some crusty bread and olive oil. Alex and I made this version with local tomatoes and cucumbers, and it was divine.

Ways to switch up this Greek salad
There are numerous variations on the salad (like our recipe for shepherd’s salad). Some Greek salad recipes are made with green pepper, or a block of feta instead of crumbled. As we mention below, you can also add capers. Feel free to switch up this Greek salad as much as you’d like — skip the olives if you’re not a fan, or use cherry tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes. It’s easily customizable to your tastes.

Greek Salad

This authentic Greek salad is packed with fresh tomatoes, crisp cucumber, salty feta cheese, and briny olives: just like they make it in Greece!

Ingredients

4 large ripe tomatoes
1/2 large red onion
2 large cucumbers
1 cup Kalamata olives
4 ounces high quality feta cheese: crumbled, cut into squares, or in a block (Greek feta, if you can find it!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons capers (optional)
Kosher salt
Instructions
Chop the tomatoes into rough chunks; remove and discard the seeds. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and add a few pinches of kosher salt.
Thinly slice ½ red onion. Peel alternating strips from the cucumbers, making a striped pattern with the peel (alternatively, remove the peel entirely). Cut the cucumbers in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds; then, cut them into ½-inch pieces.
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, red onion, and cucumbers with 1 cup Kalamata olives, 4 ounces feta cheese crumbles, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar. If desired, add 2 tablespoons drained capers and 1 teaspoon dried oregano. Gently mix to combine.
Serve immediately, or let sit at room temperature for several minutes to allow the flavors to meld.