Classic Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salad)

Here’s a simple, delicious Classic Greek Salad recipe (Horiatiki Salad) with juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, ripe olives and luscious feta cheese. Just like they make it in Athens.

Classic Greek Salad - made the REAL Greek way.

It turns out that I’ve been making Greek Salad wrong my entire life.

I guess I didn’t really know what real Greek Salad (or Horiatiki salad as they call it in Greece) was supposed to look or taste like.

I was really making it waaaaaaayyy more complicated than it needed to be. I had a chance to take a cooking class while we were in Athens (I talk more about it in my Authentic Tzatziki post) so I learned the “proper” way to make this delicious and popular dish.

Here's a simple, delicious Classic Greek Salad recipe (Horiatiki Salad) with juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, ripe olives and luscious feta cheese. Just like they make it in Athens.

Using the word “proper” to describe this dish just seems silly to me. In Greece, food is simple, fresh, and relaxed. Friends and families spend hours together slowly working their way through a meal (and some refreshing glasses of ouzo).

My instructor told me that the “real” chefs in Greece are the wives and mothers who spend time in the kitchen. When a family comes together for a meal, typically the women gather in the kitchen to chat, sip wine, and prepare the food.

The men hang out in the living room drinking ouzo and snacking on appetizers (or “mezedes”) as they come out of the kitchen.

I laughed, because this is pretty much the way that the husband and I live on the weekends.

Here's a simple, delicious Classic Greek Salad recipe (Horiatiki Salad) with juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, ripe olives and luscious feta cheese. Just like they make it in Athens.

Horiatiki is commonly served as part of any meal, and is made from delicious fresh vegetables, salty olives, and creamy goat cheese.

The climate in Greece allows for amazing, brightly colored vegetables practically year round. I’ve never seen such bright red tomatoes  in my life!

The first piece of Feta cheese I had in Greece completely blew my mind. The “Feta” we eat here in the states is a far cry from the pungent aroma and silky texture found in Greek goat cheese.

You can find good Feta here if you make it a point to get the “good stuff.” Try checking an import market or high-end grocery store. Trust me, once you taste the difference you’ll know it was worth it!

Tips & Tricks

I wrote down three important notes and advice from our instructor to share with you about this salad:

As I mentioned, buy good Feta. It makes all the difference! Leave it whole and place it on top.

Cut the tomatoes directly over the serving bowl so all the delicious juices aren’t wasted. A Real Horiatiki Salad Recipe doesn’t use any other acid in the “dressing” than the tomato juice. Use fat, ripe tomatoes for the best flavor.

Don’t leave out the green pepper! “Why Americans do this I do not know.”

Classic Greek Salad - made the REAL Greek way.

Okay, get ready to impress your friends with all your Greek Salad knowledge and skills 🙂

Here’s the Greek Salad Recipe!

Classic Greek Salad (Horiatiki)

Classic Greek Salad (Horiatiki)

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Here's a simple, delicious Classic Greek Salad recipe (Horiatiki Salad) with juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, ripe olives and luscious feta cheese. Just like they make it in Athens.

Ingredients

  • 1 large, ripe tomato
  • 1/2 a large cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 a large red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 8 ounces high-quality Feta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon capers

Instructions

  1. Cut the tomato into bite-sized pieces over a large serving bowl to catch the dripping juice. Add in the cucumber, bell pepper, onion, olives, and salt. Use hands to toss together, squeezing occasionally to allow the tomatoes to release more juices.
  2. Place the whole brick Feta cheese on top of the salad. Sprinkle with oregano, drizzle with olive oil, and top with capers. Serve!
Nutrition Information
Yield 2 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 513Total Fat 42gSaturated Fat 19gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 20gCholesterol 101mgSodium 2311mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 3gSugar 12gProtein 19g

Nutrition information has been auto-calculated for your convenience.

Did you make this recipe?

Take a picture and tag @thewanderlustkitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #thewanderlustkitchen. We can't wait to see your version!

Please note that Greek Horiatiki Salad is often misspelled as Greek Horitiki Salad.

June 27, 2014 | Last Updated on December 10, 2020 by Linda

18 thoughts on “Classic Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salad)”

  1. If you can find it, Mt Vikos is the best feta I’ve found here in the US. It’s a sheep/goat mix, and I believe it’s actually from Greece.

    Reply
  2. Being native Greeks living in Greece all our lives, we are SO happy to see that you made A PROPER GREEK SALAD! BRAVO Anette, you rock!:)
    Excellent salad. And the secret is indeed the quality of feta and the ripeness of the vegetables. Ripe, organic, flavorful tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil paired with good dry oregano are what make this dish amazing.
    Again, Congratulations for a fantastic Greek salad.
    Clap clap clap.
    Greetings from Athens,
    Panos and Mirella

    Reply
  3. Girl, I am Greek and I live in Greece!I can tell you totally nailed all the Greek recepies!I mean when I look for greek recepies in the internet from foreign cooks…they’re awful but you learned well!Good job!
    Keep Going!

    Reply
  4. The only feta I have ever bought was a big tub of crumbles from SAMs or a small container of crumbles from Aldi. Just curious…what are the things I should look for in order to get the good stuff? Should I go for highest priced, any certain name brand? Or any tips? All of the greek stuff you post just looks amazing and now I am in the mood for it ALL!

    Reply
    • Hi, Denise! One of the first things I’d look for is expiration date. Good Feta shouldn’t be shelf-stable for weeks and weeks on end.
      Second, if you can find one that is produced in Greece, that would be a bonus. There are regulations in Greece for what is allowed to be labeled “feta” and what isn’t – here in the states, a lot of not-so-great cheese can be sold as “feta.”
      Good Feta will indeed cost more than the crumbly stuff, which is typically made with cow’s milk. On the ingredients list, it should only contain sheep’s milk (sometimes goat’s milk), renner, and salt.
      If you are at a fancy store, they will sometimes let you open up a package and taste it. Or, you could try asking one of the deli attendants! I hope this helps 🙂

      Reply
    • Perhaps you should look for Dodoni, Olympus and Delfi. Those brands are definitely exported to the States and are affordable (of course they will cost more than cow’s milk “feta”) 🙂 Hope that helps!:)

      Reply
  5. OK, this is so European. So true! Cutting tomatoes over the bowl and the green bell peppers. In Ukraine, we always made salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers and onions by slicing the vegetables over the bowl. Yeah, I don’t get what’s wrong with green peppers and Americans either?!LOL. Love the whole piece of feta on top! And that is so true – so many authentic European foods just do not taste the same in the US. Looks gorgeous!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Olena! My very, very favorite part about traveling is learning about food in other cultures. It’s amazing all of the misconceptions that are out there. When we were in Bangkok, our hotel’s “American” continental breakfast served hot dogs!

      Reply
    • I love the recipe and inside tip on Feta Cheese. It is so funny you mention Americans and green peppers. I grew up on a farm in North Carolina. I was the eldest of five siblings. We grew acres and acres of bell peppers. My brothers and the male neighbors who picked peppers always threw the rotten ones at me because I logged how many bushels they picked. These were boys that played baseball so you can imagine the pain not to mention the awful smell. Most Americans were not subjected to these childhood experiences but I think most all our salads contain peppers. I just push them to the side!

      Reply
  6. Anette, I have been loving all your Greek recipes lately and this one is no exception. Keep it up!

    Reply

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