Greek salad (or Horiatiki salata) (Χωριάτικη Σαλάτα)

Greek Salad

Greek Salad, Horiatiki salata, 2 ways

They say you are what you eat.  If that’s the case, then in the summer months we are villagers. When garden tomatoes have ripened, we use them to make, and eat, delicious Greek salad, also called a horiatiki salata (horio means village in Greek).  We eat this salad every day.  Not almost every day…but every, single, day.  And we never tire of it.

It would be next to impossible to tire of a salad so full of flavour and amazing texture. For us, Greek salad or horiatiki salata is a gift of summer; easy to prepare, filling, deliciously fragrant and healthy.  In fact, the only down side is that we live in a country where local, vine-ripened tomatoes are not readily available year round.

Greek Salad

Although our parents make horiatiki salata as often as we do, we did not use their “recipe”.  Instead, over coffee and notebooks, while planning our future posts, we got to talking about Greek salad; it became clear that in our own homes, we each had our own version of this Greek staple.  So, we decided that it might be fun to showcase both variations, which we very creatively named: Greek Salad 1 and Greek Salad 2.  Both are delicious, and quite similar, however you may notice that Greek Salad 1 is tidy, structured, classic, and very well organized…like one of us.  Greek Salad 2 on the other hand is creatively scattered, somewhat carefree, and, well, frankly, a little bit messy…like the other one of us.  We wonder if you can guess which one of us created each salad 🙂 .

Greek Salad

Helpful hints

The main component of a horiatiki salata is the tomatoes.  Do not get lazy here; do not cut corners.  If you have tomatoes in your garden, you are in luck!  Plucked straight off the vine, these will be the best tomatoes you could possibly ask for.  If you don’t have your own tomato plants, make friends with a gardener!  Failing that, be sure to select only vine-ripened tomatoes at the market or grocer.  They may cost more than the mealy, barely red, hard tomatoes you can otherwise find, but they will be worth every, single penny.  Seriously.

Our parents garden

Garden tomatoes
Garden tomatoes, perfectly imperfect!

Once you have your tomatoes, be sure to keep them on the counter until you are ready to use them.  Refrigerating beautiful, red, juicy tomatoes is a sin.  We haven’t studied the science behind this (although others have); we simply know that refrigeration affects their flavour, and sometimes, their texture.

IMG_9684

The tomatoes are of course important, but so are all of the other ingredients.  In particular, the feta you will use will significantly impact the flavour of your salad; try your best to use a good quality Greek feta.

If you can’t find kalamata olives (we’re really sorry) you can always use a different type.  You can read about some different olive variations here.  If all you can get your hands on however are the canned, pitted, black or green olives…forget it!  Go olive-less.

Greek Salad 2 includes paximadia, broken up into bite sized pieces, which act as rustic Greek croutons in your salad.  Paximadia are typically barley rusks; they are quite hard and benefit from soaking in the salad juices which get created when you mix together the tomatoes, olive oil and, in the case of Greek Salad 2, red wine vinegar.  The inclusion of paximadia can replace the need for some nice dunking bread…but not necessarily.

Greek Salad

Speaking of dunking, the proper way to eat a horiatiki salata is, completely and entirely.  This means that after all the vegetables, fruits (Yes, fruits!  Go ahead and look up the botanical classifications of tomatoes and olives, friends), and feta are eaten, the juice which is left behind in the bowl is also enjoyed.  There are a couple of ways to do this; you can either use some bread to soak up every last bit, or, you can look around, make sure no-one is looking, and quickly, drink it straight from the bowl.

Greek Salad

Use the quantities listed below as a guide.  If you like more cucumber in your Greek salad, go ahead and add more.  If you prefer less feta (what kind of a monster are you?!), go ahead and add less.  These are the quantities that we prefer, and so, these are the ones we have shared. 😉

Although the two versions of Greek salad which we present below differ somewhat, you will notice that neither version contains lettuce.  That’s because, in our minds at least, lettuce has no place in a horiatiki salata.  Now, we know that there have been great lettuce debates; that there are people who strongly believe that a respectable Greek salad may, or must, contain lettuce.  There are also those individuals who believe that there should be no rules; that lettuce can be added, (or not), at will, and that freedom of salad expression is a fundamental right; that a Greek salad is whatever the person making it, says it is.  We say, no!  Freedom is great, and you can add whatever you want to your other salads…but if you’re making a Greek salad, save the leafy greens for a maroulosalata.

Greek Salad

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Mia Kouppa: Greek Salad 1

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Author: miakouppa.com

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3 medium sized, vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium cucumber
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • about 4 slices of  feta, each slice the size of matchbox
  • 5 – 6 kalamata olives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Greek oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Greek olive oil

Directions

  • Wash your tomatoes and cut them in half, length-wise (meaning, cut through the stem end).  Then, cut each half into wedges. Place the tomato wedges in a large bowl.
  • Wash your cucumber but do not peel it.  Depending upon the size of your cucumber, either cut it into rounds, or cut it into rounds which you then cut in half.  Add to the bowl with the tomatoes.
  • Next, to your bowl add your thinly sliced red onions, thinly sliced green bell pepper, sliced feta, kalamata olives, and capers.  Then, add your dried oregano, salt, and olive oil.
  • Gently mix everything together and serve, preferably with some nice fresh bread.
  • Enjoy.

Mia Kouppa: Greek Salad 2

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Author: miakouppa.com

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3 medium sized, vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium cucumber
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 5 – 6 kalamata olives
  • 2 small paximadia (barley rusks), broken into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Greek oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Greek olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Directions

  • Wash your tomatoes and cut them into quarters.  Cut each quarter into bite-sized chunks.  Place in a large bowl.
  • Wash your cucumber but do not peel it.  Depending upon the size of your cucumber, either cut it into rounds, or cut it into rounds which you then cut in half.  Add to the bowl with the tomatoes.
  • Next, to your bowl add your thinly sliced red onions, crumbled feta, kalamata olives, and pieces of paximadi.  Then, add your dried oregano, salt, olive oil and red wine vinegar.
  • Mix well and serve; don’t be shy about having some nice fresh bread with it.
  • Enjoy.

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5 thoughts on “Greek salad (or Horiatiki salata) (Χωριάτικη Σαλάτα)

  1. .tomatoes, olives, feta are mandatory but if there is not a good dollop of olive oil it’s not a Greek salad. Dear lord, how many Greek salad in Australia have I been served with no olive oil rather a vinegrette dressing… Sigh.. 😞

    Liked by 1 person

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