Horiatiki Salata: Greek Salad

Photo of Classic Greek Salad - Horiatiki Salata
Fresh, delicious, and oh so Greek!. Photo © Jim Stanfield
    15 min
Ratings (12)

In Greek: χωριάτικη σαλάτα pronounced haw-ree-AH-tee-kee sah-LAH-tah

A traditional Greek salad is a staple in just about any Greek restaurant anywhere in the world. But what makes such a salad authentic, and how can you make one at home? This recipe should get you started and impress your dinner guests, whether or not they frequent Greek establishments.

This salad has many individual variations, but here are the basics to work from. This is the traditional version that does not include lettuce and features tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, bell pepper and Greek olives. Many cooks peel the tomatoes if the skins are tough; this does require an extra step of blanching the tomatoes, so it is up to you. A perfect salad to take advantage of summer's bounty, but a refreshing treat any time of year. Feel free to add anchovies or capers to the salad before tossing.

What You'll Need

  • 4 to 5 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • Sea salt
  • Dried Greek oregano (rigani)
  • Top quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound  Greek feta cheese, sliced or crumbled
  • Pepper, optional
  • 1 dozen Greek olives (Kalamata, green Cretan olives, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • Pickled pepperoncini hot peppers, for garnish

How to Make It

  1. Wash and dry the tomatoes, cucumber and green pepper. Clean off the outer skin from the onion, wash and dry.
  2. Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized irregularly shaped chunks, removing the core. Salt lightly. Slice the cucumber into 1/4-inch slices, cutting slices in half (whether or not you peel the cucumber is a personal choice). Salt lightly. Slice the pepper into rings, removing the stem and seeds. Salt lightly. Slice the onion into thin rings.
  3. Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper and onion in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with oregano, pour olive oil over the salad, and toss.
  4. Just before serving, place the feta on top of the salad, either as one slice or crumbled, and sprinkle the cheese with oregano (and pepper, if desired). Toss in some olives. 
  5. Mix a little bit of oil with the water and drizzle over the top. Serve garnished with hot peppers.