Kari loves to eat and thus loves to cook. She makes her own recipes so that they suit her taste buds. Sharing recipes is sharing love.
Greek Salad: The Best Potluck Dish
Summer is almost here, and you know what that means—picnics, barbecues, and get-togethers! Wouldn't you love to bring something different this year? When they think of picnic salads, most people think of potato salad, macaroni salad, or coleslaw. This year, think Greek salad.
Greek salad is wonderfully refreshing and healthy. It can withstand sitting out for several hours without going bad. In fact, the longer it sits, the better it tastes. This is one salad that is actually better at room temperature. And it is healthy! All your friends who are dieting will love you when you arrive with this salad.
I love this recipe. It was given to me by a friend many years ago. This is an authentic Greek salad that contains no lettuce. It is true Mediterranean fare! Greek salad tastes even better on the second day. Try this recipe, and you will agree that healthy eating can be delicious!
This dish calls for olive oil. You can use canola oil if you prefer. The olive oil becomes semi-solid in the refrigerator. With olive oil, you need to let the dish sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature before serving. Or, you can be like me and just eat it straight out of the refrigerator. It doesn't look as nice, but it still tastes fabulous.
You can leave out the feta cheese if you prefer vegetarian. It tastes great either way.
If you are going to have a garden, plan to include tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Greek salad is the perfect way to use up all the extra produce from your garden. And the fresh-from-your-garden vegetables always taste better than store-bought.
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Feeds 6 people as a side dish
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, (You may also use cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, and larger tomatoes)
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (see description)
- 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons Kalamata olives, pitted preferably
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- 2 tablespoons parsley, fresh (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil, (I use extra virgin olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- If you are using cherry tomatoes, cut them in half. If you are using grape tomatoes, you can either cut them in half or not. I don't cut the grape tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in a large salad bowl. (Larger tomatoes will also work. Just chop them into 1-inch squares.)
- Peel and seed the cucumber. Cut the cucumber in half length-wise and slice each half into thin slices. Add the cucumbers to the bowl with the tomatoes. (Note: Seeding the cucumber is not required.)
- Cut the green pepper in half. Remove the seeds and the white pith. Thinly slice length-wise. Add sliced peppers to the bowl with the other vegetables.
- Peel the red onion. Half it, once length-wise and once horizontally. Thinly slice and add to bowl. You can use 1/2 the onion if you prefer.
- Drain the Kalamata olives and add to bowl with vegetables. I prefer pitted olives. You can use olives with pits also. If you do, warn the people eating with you, so there are no broken teeth.
- Crumble the feta cheese over the vegetables and olives.
- To make the dressing, first, mix the lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl. (A note about juicing a lemon: You will get more juice from a lemon at room temperature. If you have kept them in the refrigerator, you can heat them in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds and an additional 30 seconds if needed. You can freeze any leftover juice for another use.)
- Add the oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper and mix well. Whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time. You want the dressing well emulsified. I use extra virgin olive oil.
- Pour the dressing over the vegetables, olives, and cheese. Mix well. Cover the salad and place it in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours to let the flavors blend. I like it best the next day when the flavors have had time to meld.
- Remove the salad from the refrigerator 15 to 30 minutes prior to serving. The olive oil tends to harden in the refrigerator, giving the salad an unpleasant appearance. (Letting the salad come close to room temperature liquefies the olive oil, and your salad will be beautiful.) Mix well and serve.
How Long Will It Last?
This salad will stay good in the refrigerator for at least one week. Vinegar, lemon, and olive oil are all effective antimicrobials. I say this salad will stay good for 7 to 10 days and maybe longer.
Get in the mood for Greek salad! Watch these clips from my favorite Greek movie below.
© 2009 Kari Poulsen