a true greek salad

January 4th, 2012

One thing you may not know about me: I’m half Greek.  That means that growing up, I learned to count to ten in Greek, celebrated a whole separate Easter (seriously!), baked bread with a dime in it, and ate the best baklava on earth, made by my grandmother. 

What it also means: I am extremely picky about Greek food.  Which is too bad, because Greek and Mediterranean dishes tend to be pirated on terrible menus more than just about any other type.  But one of my major pet peeves: when a Greek salad uses lettuce.

Greek salads are about thick, chunky vegetables and fresh, colorful ingredients.  And yet every diner and subpar restaurant I’ve ever been to seems to want to add lettuce to this dish — probably because it’s cheap?  But a real, true Greek salad consists of just a few ingredients, and it’s one of the freshest, most delicious meals you’ll ever eat.

And on that note, I want to introduce you guys to Costa Navarino, a gourmet food line that’s based in one of the most beautiful regions of Greece, and also happens to be run by one of my cousins!  Even better — their products are available at Dean & Deluca.  So you can bring a little Mediterranean sun (and salad) to your cold January day!

And speaking of color, I couldn’t resist breaking out my Noritake Colorwave plates — they’re 15% off on the Noritake website until January 8th!

True Greek Salad

1 package red or yellow cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 shallot
1/2 jar Costa Navarino olives, in olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil (you can use the oil that the olives were packed in if it’s good quality!)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Fleur de sel
Freshly ground pepper


Dice tomatoes and cucumbers into 1/2″ wedges.  Dice shallot into 1/4″ pieces.  In large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion and olives. Toss with olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Sprinkle feta cheese over salad, toss again lightly, and serve.

Tags: appetizers · food · salads · side dishes

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 nuha // Jan 5, 2012 at 12:29 am

    i come from a middle eastern background and cringe when i see americanized versions of traditional dishes…pumpkin hummus?  baked falafel?  it’s just SO weird!

  • 2 Dimitra // Jan 5, 2012 at 2:08 am

    You’re half greek? Oh I didn’t know this! 🙂 And I wonder all this time where your beauty comes from hahahaha 😛 I’m Greek too, that explains a lot. Anyway…yes..this is a Greek salad, and it looks delicious. But to be honest, this was not the purpose of this comment. It was to freak you out with exlamation marks, because:
    COSTA NAVARINO IS RUN BY A COUSIN OF YOURS????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How small is the world, no? hahah! Have you ever come to Greece? Because you should…

  • 3 Pili // Jan 5, 2012 at 5:21 am

    That salad looks amazing! Yum!

  • 4 Angelika // Jan 5, 2012 at 5:57 am

    So nice to know that you are half Greek 🙂 I had no idea that Costa Navarino was a gourmet food line. I thought it was a luxury resort in Messinia. But since your cousin runs it then you certainly know better than I do. You should come to Greece, preferably in summer. It is magical!!

  • 5 Katy // Jan 5, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I haven’t ever been to Greece!  We almost went for our honeymoon, it’s on the top of my list!

    Angelika — I think it’s both!  Costa Navarino is the region, which has a number of amazing resorts and (now) this local food line!  But you might know better than me… that is, until I visit! 🙂

  • 6 leyla // Jan 5, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I knew you were special for a reason!  My bff is Greek and I am lucky to be included in Greek Easter, etc. as well as the culinary delights that come along with the Greek culture.  Baklava!!!!  I can feel the honey running down my face 😉 Opa!

  • 7 Sarah // Jan 5, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Yuummmm! I LOVE Greek salads. And I had no idea they weren’t supposed to have lettuce. You’ve taught me so much 🙂

  • 8 Emily // Jan 5, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I loved this post, and not just because I am half Greek too!  Anyhow, I can attest to the superiority of Costa Navarino products as I use their olive oil.  I don’t think a lot of people in the US realize how transforming olive oil can be.  Really good olive oil drizzled on top of vegetables, fish, or used in a vinaigrette (among other things) to top a salad makes even the humblest of dishes exceptional.

  • 9 Stacy // Jan 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Loved this post! I am part-Greek by way of Sicily. There is a large Greek and Sicilian population in South and Central Texas! One question about your dish: am I correct in spying artichoke hearts in the salad? If not, would they be an acceptable addition in your opinion?

  • 10 Joanne // Jan 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I always KNEW that real greek salads HAD to be better than the stuff they serve in those restaurants! This sounds delicious!

  • 11 Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic // Jan 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I love that this doesn’t have any lettuce or any other greens. Did you also include an artichoke?

  • 12 Katy // Jan 6, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Yes!  I left out the artichoke when I wrote up the recipe — will update this weekend!  I used canned (packed in water), but you could also make your own!  https://www.sugarlaws.com/roasted-artichokes

  • 13 Cheoy Lee // Jan 9, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Loads of shop-bought Greek salads use lettuce and I wasn’t even aware that this was not the norm. I’ll try your recipe for a truly Greek salad tonight – thanks for providing it =)

  • 14 Hellen // Jan 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I am NOT greek at all, except for something about the name! The greek salad recipe that I obtained from the net and have been making for the past year doesn’t have lettuce but is much the same as yours. I love it. You have shown me how to make my own greek salad dressing rather than buying it.

  • 15 Andrea Twidle // Jan 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    YUMMM glad to know I have been making it right!

  • 16 online gourmet food australia // Jan 13, 2012 at 12:24 am

    I made this recipe exactly as written, with a handful of greek black olives, as part of a buffet for 15. There was plenty and everyone loved it. It was just as I expect a greek salad to be. Excellent recipe!

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