Classic Greek Salad

5 from 45 votes

Enjoy a refreshing and easy-to-make Greek salad with crisp cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, tangy olives, colorful peppers, and creamy feta cheese.

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There’s something about a Greek Salad that just feels right, no matter the occasion. It’s a dish that’s full of flavor, bringing together crisp vegetables, briny kalamata olives, and creamy feta cheese. This Greek salad recipe sticks to the classic ingredients, focusing on quality and freshness. From the vine-ripened tomatoes to the crisp English cucumber and the boldness of the red onion, this Greek salad is so good!

Greek Salad in a large shallow serving bowl.
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Authentic Greek salad has very few ingredients and is actually simpler than you think. You might be surprised to learn that, traditionally, Greek salad does not have any lettuce. Dressing this salad, we’re keeping it straightforward, with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar whisked together with just a hint of oregano, salt, and pepper.

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Mediterranean
Primary Cooking Method: No-Cook
Dietary Info: Gluten Free, Low Carb, Vegetarian
Key Flavor: Fresh and Salty
Skill Level: Easy

Summary

  • Quick and easy side dish: This Greek salad is easy to prepare with no cooking required. It’s perfect for busy weeknights or as a last-minute side dish for gatherings.
  • Customizable: You can make this salad uniquely yours based on your taste preferences. Experiment with different veggies, olives, vinaigrettes, and add-ins to create a perfect flavor combination.
  • Refreshing: Packed with fresh vegetables and low in calories, this salad is a refreshing choice, especially on hot days.
  • Versatile serving options: Throw in grilled chicken, steak, or shrimp and serve it as a main dish. Or pair this with a separate main course. It goes wonderfully with most cuisines, textures, and flavors.

Ingredients to Make Greek Salad

Ingredients for recipe: green pepper, tomatoes, onion, kalamative olives, cucumber, feta, oil, vinegar, and spices.
  • Tomatoes: Vine-ripened tomatoes are a staple in authentic Greek salad as they are the juiciest and most flavorful.
  • Cucumber: English cucumber is best because they are nearly seedless and have the least amount of moisture. You can also use Persian cucumbers. If your cucumbers have large seeds, consider scooping them out first so the salad doesn’t become too watery.
  • Red onions: Adds a great color contrast and makes this Greek salad recipe pop with a zesty bite without overpowering other ingredients. Red onions are milder than yellow or white and are delicious raw.
  • Green bell pepper: Adds a slight bitterness to the salad. Feel free to use red, yellow, or orange if you prefer. Get my tips for how to cut bell peppers.
  • Feta cheese: Skip the crumbles and go for a block of Greek feta cheese made with sheep’s milk. It has a wonderfully crumbly texture with a salty, briny taste. It is an essential ingredient in traditional Greek Salad.
  • Kalamata olives: Larger than green or black olives and slightly milder, kalamata olives bring authentic flavor to this Greek salad recipe.
  • Vinaigrette: A tangy blend of extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper creates a simple yet flavorful dressing for this easy Greek salad recipe. You can also skip the whisking of the salad ingredients and simply drizzle the oil and vinegar and then season with salt, pepper, and dried oregano.
  • Olives: If you’re not a fan of kalamata olives you can sub them with other olives like black or green. You can also use a medley or a mix of olives.
  • Greens: Traditional Greek salad does not include lettuce. However, you can serve this salad on a bed of greens such as lettuce, arugula, or spinach to add more volume and nutrition.
  • Herbs: Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley, dill, basil, or even fresh mint to add freshness and flavor.
  • Dressing variations: While the classic dressing for authentic Greek salad is made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and oregano – you can experiment with other vinaigrettes. Be sure to grab all my tips on how to make a vinaigrette.
  • Other add-ins: Add diced avocado for creaminess and healthy fats or throw in a cup of chickpeas for more heartiness. Or swap out the fresh red onions for pickled red onions to give it an extra tangy kick.

How to Make a Greek Salad

  1. In a small bowl or jar, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt, and black pepper.
  2. In a large serving bowl, place the diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, green bell pepper, and olives.
  3. Toss the salad ingredients to combine. Drizzle the vinaigrette and toss gently.
  4. Add the feta cheese on top and lightly toss, being careful not to break up the feta cheese too much.

Tips for Making the Best Traditional Greek Salad

  1. Use feta cheese from Greece. Look for authentic Greek feta and not dry feta crumbles. Greek feta will typically be a block sealed in its own brine. You should be able to find it at the deli counter.
  2. Use fresh ingredients. Use the ripest tomatoes, firm cucumber, and bell pepper.
  3. Chop the veggies into similar sizes. It’s easier to combine a salad that is more uniformly cut and it also creates a visually appealing salad. Plus, it’s easier to eat.
  4. Toss salad gently to avoid bruising the ingredients. To avoid crushing the delicate feta cheese, toss the salad without them, then add them to the salad. Or just drizzle the vinaigrette on top of the salad.

What to Serve With Mediterranean Greek Salad

A classic Greek salad is a great appetizer or serve it as an accompaniment to any main dish. It works great with meat, fish, chicken, and veggie dishes. It’s perfect to take on picnics or to serve as part of a cookout. Try it with:

How to Store Greek Salad

Store this salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If possible, store the salad and dressing separately to retain the crispy textures in the vegetables. Then, drizzle and toss when ready to enjoy again.

How Long Will Greek Salad Last in the Fridge?

Greek Salad will last up to 2 days in the fridge.

Can I Freeze Authentic Greek Salad?

I don’t recommend freezing this salad as the vegetables will become soggy and watery when thawed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make it ahead of time?

Because this salad does not contain greens that can wilt, you can make the salad and the dressing a couple of days in advance and store them separately covered in the fridge. It’s a great dish to take to potlucks and picnics during the summer. Just drizzle the dressing over the salad and enjoy!

What is the best way to prevent the feta cheese from crumbling too much?

Toss the vegetables and olives with the vinaigrette first. Then add the cubed feta cheese. Gently toss together using two large spoons, making sure not to break up the feta. Avoid over-mixing to maintain the solid cubes of feta.

Can this be served as a main dish?

A classic Greek salad is best served as an appetizer or side dish, but if you want to turn it into a fuller meal, then you can easily add some protein to it. Shredded chicken works really well, or you can keep it vegetarian by adding some chickpeas.

This wonderfully fresh and vibrant salad makes it easy to enjoy a taste of Mediterranean flavors in the comfort of your home. Traditional Greek salad is a delicious and an excellent dish to serve throughout the summer season, where seasonal veggies take center stage.

More Salad Recipes:

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This Greek salad recipe was originally published on May 23, 2020 and has recently been updated with new photography and clearer recipe instructions.

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Classic Greek Salad

Enjoy a refreshing and easy-to-make Greek salad with crisp cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, tangy olives, colorful peppers, and creamy feta cheese.
5 from 45 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 204
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
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Ingredients
  

For the Salad

  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes chopped
  • 1 English cucumber peeled chopped
  • ½ small red onion chopped
  • ½ green pepper chopped
  • 4 ounces black kalamata olives
  • 1 (8-ounce) block feta cheese cut into cubes

For the Dressing

Instructions

  • Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, green peppers and olives in a large serving bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Mix the ingredients of the salad dressing together in a small bowl and drizzle over the salad ingredients. Add the feta cheese on top.
  • Lightly toss to combine, being careful not to over-mix or break up the feta cheese too much.

Notes

Make Ahead: You can make the dressing up to 7 days in advance and you can prepare most of the salad up to 1 day in advance. 
Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups, Calories: 204kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 0.2mg, Sodium: 599mg, Potassium: 395mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1020IU, Vitamin C: 28mg, Calcium: 47mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine Greek
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side

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Comments

  1. Marcie S says:

    Feta cheese isn’t a favorite here, so I’m wondering what cheese might be a good substitute? Thank you!

    1. Mary says:

      I would think that goat’s cheese would work well

  2. Lauren says:

    This is quick and easy salad but best of all it’s delicious!!! The dressing makes the salad love this recipe

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much! The dressing is definitely key!

  3. Jackie says:

    I made this salad as a side dish for a potluck dinner with our new neighbors who made Vegetarian Indian Rice. It was a perfect perfect pairing. Thank you Yumna.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      You’re so welcome! I’m so glad to hear it!

  4. Georgia says:

    I love all your recipes!! I’m Greek and honestly, you are the only non-Greek that makes a real authentic Greek salad!!! Thank you for making the real deal!! You’re awesome Yumna😊

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much!! You’re so welcome!

  5. Ioanna says:

    Is probably the first time that someone refers to Greek Salad, and is actually a Greek Salad. Congrats, that’s exactly the way we prepare this dish (I’m Greek lol) . A small comment -we almost never use cherry tomatoes in this salad (unless we have no access to any other). Btw I love your recipes. They are always simple, close to the original dish and delicious.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Aww I’m really glad to hear it! Do you use regular tomatoes or no tomatoes at all? I actually created this recipe during the early pandemic days and I remember thinking I need regular tomatoes and didn’t want to go to the store! haha

      1. Ioanna says:

        We use regular tomatoes. Basic ingredients for Greek salad is Tomato-Cucumber-Feta-Onion-Olive oil. All the others is about personal taste. I do love green pepers and oregano. Some others love capers, and red smoked peppers in little pieces. Since the oil in a well-prepared Greek salad is enough, but also due to the tomato juices, the plate remains a quantity of oil and juices. This amount is received with the help of bread, which is dipped by the accomplices and is commonly called papara or ladobouki. This practice is not considered in accordance with the “good manners”, but it is very common in Greece …….lol !!!!

  6. Amy says:

    Nothing beats classic and simple salad as your Greek salad. I make all your no-lettuce salads. Healthy and refreshing.Thanks

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      I’m so glad to hear that. Thank you!!