A traditional, or classic, Greek chopped salad is a vegetable salad generally of cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, feta, and olives. No lettuce here! My version of the salad lets the vegetables shine on their own along with some fresh herbs, pepperoncini for a little kick, and a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing.
Greek salads in various forms are one of my favorite go-to salad recipes.
There is just something about the combo of feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers which is very satisfying as a side dish. And it probably doesn’t hurt that I almost always have these ingredients in the house!
While I’m no stranger to lettuce-based versions of Greek salad, I’ve been a fan of the Greek chopped salad, or Greek country salad for a long time. I posted a bulgur version (my Pork Kebabs and Bulgur Salad) last year soon after I started this blog, and I decided it was time for a simple, grain-free version now.
For this Greek salad, in addition to my favorite small, thin-skinned cucumbers, pitted kalamatas, and the tastiest tomatoes I could find, I decided to use spring onions.
They had bunches of red spring onions at the farmer’s market and I couldn’t resist. Not that I tried too hard. 🙂 Spring onions are just young onions, picked while they are more like scallions. Grab some if you see them, but feel free to switch to red onions in the recipe if spring onions are unavailable.
Also, I used a couple of handfuls of fresh herbs from my garden. Both mint and oregano grow in abundance all over my herb garden and up into flower beds nearby. I have to use them, or they’ll take over! I would highly recommend using fresh herbs in the salad if you have them on hand. They add such a wonderful flavor which you can’t get from dried herbs.
The last little addition I used are the pepperoncinis
These are a classic addition to Greek American and Italian American salads and we always had some in the house when I was growing up. They add a nice bit of zip to the salad. I enjoy cutting them up and mixing the pieces with the rest of the salad. Not everyone in the family is as much of a fan as I am, so I serve them alongside for those of use who do like some spice.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Traditional Greek Chopped Salad
- 2 cups sliced cucumbers
- 2 cups diced tomatoes, seeded
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, or spring onions
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 4 oz feta cheese
- pepperoncini peppers
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 small clove garlic finely minced
- Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions in a large bowl. Slice up about half of the kalamatas and add them to the bowl with the mint, and oregano.
- Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and pour it over the salad. Toss to combine.
- Top with reserved whole kalamatas and feta. Serve pepperoncinis alongside for those who want a little spice.
- Cucumbers: For the cucumbers I usually buy small, thin-skinned cucumbers. Peel and/or seed your cucumbers if needed. (If they are waxed, have thick and bitter skins, or have large seeds.)
- Olives: I like a mix of halved kalamatas and whole ones for topping the salads.
- Feta: If your feta is overly salty or dry, break it into largish chunks and let it soak in filtered water or milk for at least 30 minutes. Also, please don't buy pre-crumbled feta! Block feta is a much better quality cheese. In fact, for a more authentic salad, keep the feta in one piece for each bowl and have everyone break up their feta as they eat.