Authentic Greek Salad (Horiátiki Salata)

In 2014, I visited Greece for the first time and had my first Authentic Greek Salad.  I had waited my entire life to eat real  Greek food seeing that I’m half Greek.  I was also hoping to collect some authentic Mediterranean Diet recipes.

I arrived in Athens and was set to go on a study tour throughout the country. I got to my hotel and the study group was waiting for me to go to dinner together. I put my luggage in my room and we walked through the busy streets to a traditional Greek taverna. The waiter brought us bread with extra virgin olive oil to dip. The oil was so good. Then he brought the greek salad. This was a moment I will never forget. I took one bite of a red, juicy tomato slice and I thought to myself “What have I been eating my whole life?!” This was the sweetest, most flavorful, deep red, and beefy tomato I had ever sunk my teeth into.

Then I tasted the feta…. I literally asked the other students if we ordered the salad with goat cheese instead of feta. They laughed at me and said no, this is what the feta is like in Greece. I was in heaven already one hour into my trip. I began to question again what feta had I been eating all these years that I thought was so good? There’s something that happens with a real Greek salad.  The tomatoes have so much juice, that by the time the salad is mostly eaten, the oil, tomato juice, feta, onion, and oregano have made this amazing dipping mixture.

Anyone who has eaten a real Horiatiki Salata knows that this is the absolute best and healthiest juice to dip your bread in. I could eat this salad twice a day everyday, and we did on this study tour. The salads got even tastier the farther out of the city and into the countryside we got. To me this is the best salad in the world. A summer meal without this salad just isn’t happening.

Mediterranean Diet: Authentic Greek Salad (Horiatiki)

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Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Authentic Greek Salad

Authentic Greek Salad (Horiátiki Salata)

George Zikos
4.34 from 18 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Crete, Greek
Servings 2
Calories 546 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, cut into strips
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 10 kalamata olives
  • 6 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 splash red wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add all veggies and olives to a bowl.
  • Top with feta cheese, olive oil, lemon juice (or vinegar), and oregano. Salt and pepper, to taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 546kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 15gFat: 48gSaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 1173mgPotassium: 734mgFiber: 4gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 2059IUVitamin C: 32mgCalcium: 479mgIron: 2mg
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.
About the Author: George Zikos
George studied International Business in Greece in 2015 for three semesters. His family is from the island of Crete, and he lived with them for a whole summer. During that time, he started working for Mediterranean Living and contributing his firsthand experiences of the traditional Cretan diet. He learned fluent Greek along the way, being fully immersed in a traditional Cretan village. He is since graduated with a business degree from Worcester State University. George loves language and traveling, so he completed a TEFL certificate program at the Boston Language Institute in order to teach English abroad and travel the world. He currently works full-time blogging, recipe formulating, and social media marketing for Mediterranean Living. His passions include language, gardening, hiking, skateboarding, and watching sports. He dreams of living in Crete one day, after he travels the world learning as many languages and cultures as possible.

18 Comments

  1. Aggie DiGregorio September 24, 2022 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    So I totally agree George!! When my daughter Alex and I were in Greece in 2015 we had a Horiatiki Salata in Crete in the mountains. The shepherd that hosted this party said to me once you have our tomatoes you will never eat another tomato in America again!! My trips to Greece are always about visiting family enjoying the scenery and eating fabulous food!!!! Ζητο η Ελλάς!!!

  2. Gerry Kennon June 21, 2022 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    The flavours of this dressing are absolutely phenomenal. Looking forward to many more Greek salads

  3. Sharon Heald February 6, 2022 at 12:48 am - Reply

    What about anchovies? Don’t thy go in a Greeksalad?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. February 12, 2022 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      You could add anchovies but I haven’t had it in any Greek salads I had in Greece and Crete.

    • Kat March 3, 2022 at 11:40 am - Reply

      First, thank you so much for posting these recipes! My doctor suggested a Mediterranean diet when my 30 years of healthy eating went south during the pandemic. It was the first time my blood work came back with: prediabetes, and that doesn’t fly with me. Your style of eating is the closest inline with what my doctor described as the diet and what I remember of the region. With my neck and back issues progressively getting worst, I need quick and delicious meals like these on a tight budget.

      Thank you for the input on “any olives” I only care for California olives. :)

      What other cheeses can I opt in place of feta? I’ve never really been a fan of it or blue cheese.

      Any idea if gluten intolerance is affected by the breads in this diet?

      Thank you again, I’m so grateful! <3

      • Bill Bradley, R.D. March 5, 2022 at 5:51 pm

        You can use most any type of cheese you want. Throughout the Mediterranean there are many different types. The best is cheese from grass fed animals and without a lot of preservatives. Whole fat is the best. The gluten intolerance issue depends on your own body. Some people do better with breads from the Mediterranean because they are generally non-gmo and sourdough.

  4. Fotine HalikasKopriva August 6, 2019 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    I use apple cider vinegar in my Greek Salad, its what my yiya used On everything!

    • George Zikos August 7, 2019 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      I do that sometimes also! I love apple cider vinegar. I also use balsamic and red wine vinegar too.

  5. David O'Neill July 29, 2019 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    We spent some time in Greece, (Athens, Oia, and Naxos) and I loved the Greek salads that we had. On a food tour through Monestaraki (sp?) Square, they used Balsamic vinegar. Is that unusual?

    • George Zikos July 30, 2019 at 11:49 am - Reply

      Every restaurant and house makes it a little different. It would still be delicious with balsamic vinegar for sure.

  6. Melissa June 3, 2019 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    Is there a brand of feta that you recommend? I am having the hardest time finding one I like at a grocery store

    • George Zikos June 3, 2019 at 4:39 pm - Reply

      For a very traditional Greek feta with a very unique flavor, try Dodoni. It’s made in Northern Greece where some of the best feta is from. It will taste stronger than your normal feta, but it tastes just like the feta you eat in Greece, which is why I love it.

  7. Mimi March 1, 2019 at 3:37 am - Reply

    Hi. Not a fan of the kalamenta olives. Will the little green ones do?

  8. Kate Butler February 28, 2019 at 5:13 am - Reply

    I love this salad the day I make it, but it is a wonderful second day meal.

    • George Zikos March 5, 2019 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      Yes, when all the flavors have time to marinate! So good. Thanks for commenting!

  9. Dena December 30, 2018 at 9:22 am - Reply

    I’m currently in Athens on a 2-1/2 month stay and the Greek salad has become my daily staple. I haven’t noticed that I’ve had any with vinegar or lemon juice…just the olive oil so I get the full flavor of the wonderful, crisp, vibrant vegetables. And, the salt— the big granules of sea salt sprinkled on the tomatoes and cucumbers— so amazing!! You can taste the individual flavor of each vegetable in this salad. My doctor has me following a strict Mediterranean diet so I am now very happy to comply.

    • George Zikos December 31, 2018 at 4:00 pm - Reply

      It’s hard to get tired of a Greek salad huh? The vegetables there are so good all you need is good extra virgin olive oil! Thanks for commenting.

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