And if it’s an authentic Greek restaurant, this salad is made up of simple chunks of tomatoes, cucumber, often red onion, olives, and chunks or a slab of feta. Lettuce is usually not part of the equation, though in various restaurants and diners it has certainly worked its way in, but authentic, authentic Greek salads are actually lettuce free. The quintessential Israeli salad is quite similar, though minus the feta, and sometimes with bell peppers added in.
Buy a good olive oil for this Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad – it’s one of the key ingredients, you really taste it, and it can make all the difference. And get the most fabulous tomatoes you can for this, maybe some of those crazy beautiful heirloom varieties at the farmers’ market.
Lastly, why both dry and fresh oregano? Because dried oregano gives the dressing the flavor of great-Greek-diner-Greek-salad, and fresh oregano gives it that great-high-end-restaurant-Greek-salad flavor.
Sometimes, not often, you can in fact have it all.
A few more Greek salad recipes, because I am very serious about my Greek salads:
This one does have lettuce:
This one is just plain sexy, with thin zucchini ribbons and roasted bits of lemon. A company Greek salad.
This one is a total main course. A great summer potluck dish. An alfresco entertaining go-to.
If you’ve read through until now then you are my people. I raise a glass of red wine vinegar to you.
Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad
- 1 seedless cucumber
- 2 large tomatoes
- ½ large red onion
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ to 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives halved
- ¼ pound feta cut into cubes or slabs
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds (see Note), then sliced again lengthwise through the middle, and slice into 1/4-inch slices. Cut the tomatoes into one each pieces. Cut the onion into 1/2-inch dice (it will fall apart, that’s fine).
- In a large bowl mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, fresh oregano, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and olives to the bowl and toss to coat well. Top with the feta cheese and serve.
Note:Even “seedless” cucumbers have some seeds in them – scrape them out with a teaspoon, or if they don’t bother you, skip this step.
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