Classic Greek Village Salad (Horiatiki)

Updated 24th May 2024

This salad is a classic when it comes to Greek cuisine and is great if you prefer less lettuce and more chunky vegetables in your salad. It’s loaded with crisp cucumbers, crunchy bell peppers and onions and juicy tomatoes, olives and feta. Many times you will visit a geek restaurant and the Greek salad will be lettuce onion and a sprinkling of feta and although that can also be delicious and has its place, this one is a more traditional styled Greek salad often listed as a horiatiki salad or a village salad on menus. If you’re looking for the simplest salad and side dish to make with a no fuss and uncomplicated vinaigrette - this is your salad. It’s so easy to put together. The components don’t really change much unless you are using a different variety of olives, type of olive oil, or vinegar. You don’t even need to whisk your vinaigrette separately you just pour the oil and vinegar over the veggies and toss.

Classic Greek Village Salad With Crumbled Feta In A Bowl

This salad is such a great summer salad and always fills me with memories of my childhood. We would eat this salad almost everyday in the summer (and I still do) when we would harvest the juiciest plumpest tomatoes from my Dad’s garden. I was on watering duty in the evenings and often picking duty. Seemed like such a chore when I was a kid - now I wish that was all I did.

Classic Greek Village Salad Main Ingredients Close Up

The key to the best horiatiki salad really is keeping things simple and using delicious produce and olive oil! There is no need to be fussing - the Greek salad dressing for this recipe is comprised of three things (and one of those is optional) - Olive oil, oregano and I like to add a bit of red wine vinegar and of course salt and pepper to taste. The beautiful thing about this salad is once salt hits those tomatoes they start to macerate a bit like berries in sugar. All their natural juices and flavours seep out and add to the vinaigrette itself and to the overall flavour of the salad, and that I also why many choose not to add the red wine vinegar. It’s just so delicious and the best part is enjoying it with crusty bread for dipping into those delicious juices created by the tomato and the rich olive oil and crumbled feta. The flavor they create is delicious!

Classic Greek Village Salad Topped With Large Pieces of Feta

It’s a salad that I never tire of and is especially the best when you have the freshest ingredients. If you have never made it before now is your chance! Perfect as we head into summer and tomato season. It’s great with grilled chicken or anything off the grill. Grab some crusty bread and you have yourself a super simple yet delicious meal. Enjoy!

Classic Greek Salad Recipe Ingredients

Classic Greek Salad Recipe Ingredients:

What are the ingredients in a true tradition Greek salad? The ingredients listed below are the typical ingredients in a ‘horiatiki’ (village) Greek salad. Some other regions of Greece may include capers and fresh herbs but this is your typical Greek Salad. The ingredients list is small so it’s best to get the freshest ones. Typically the vegetables are cut into chunky slices/large chunks and wedges but feel free to slice things to your liking. Here is a breakdown of each ingredient:

  • TOMATOES: Really any tomatoes can be used but I usually like to use hot house tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes - my dad grew both and when they are firm but ripe they are so juicy and good in this salad. Some people love to use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes and that is fine as well.
  • CUCUMBERS: English cucumbers or the Persian baby varieties are great in this salad. We use to always use garden ones - which I love too but they have more seeds. Feel free to scoop out the seeds if you prefer that and also to peel the skins. The most important thing is to choose nice and firm ones that will be nice and crisp.
  • GREEN BELL PEPPER: Not everyone adds bell peppers to there horiatiki but my family always did cause not only do we love them but they too were always in he garden. We very often used cubanelle peppers as that is what we had most in the garden. They add a really nice flavor and crunch to the salad.
  • RED ONION: Feel free to use red onion or white onion. Most of the time the onion is sliced a little thicker as well but I realize not everyone loves onions as much a Greeks do so feel free to slice them thin if you prefer or to use less according to taste.
  • FETA CHEESE: This too is optional. Not everyone includes it but I ALWAYS do and when it comes to feta cheese I always recommend measuring with your heart - I would say most greeks would agree!
  • OLIVES: Some would say these are optional too but I say otherwise cause I love olives. We typically use kalamata olives and traditionally we use unpitted olives. They have a stronger taste and firmer texture although not as convenient as pitted ones so use what you like
  • OLIVE OIL: Use a good one or one that you enjoy the taste of because it makes up the largest component of the " homemade Greek Salad Dressing” I say that very loosely as there are so few ingredients in the salad dressing I almost think I can’t even call it a dressing.
  • RED WINE VINEGAR: This is optional and simply adds more flavor. The tomatoes will actually add a lot of liquid and some acidity to the juices/dressing so many choose to skip it. If you prefer to use lemon juice you can too but I prefer red wine vinegar for mine.
  • OREGANO: It adds to that signature flavor of a horiatiki salad. Use as little or as much as you prefer.
  • Traditional Greek Salad Does Not Have: Romaine Lettuce, garlic, dijon mustard or honey in the dressing but I know loads of people love to add them and that it totally ok - I’m no purist especially when it comes to salad so you do you!

How to make Classic Greek Village Salad

How To Make This Easy Greek Salad Recipe

  1. Slice vegetables into large chunks
  2. Place vegetables in a large bowl along with the olives
  3. Drizzle olive oil all over salad
  4. Drizzle red wine vinegar all over salad if using
  5. Sprinkle with oregano, salt and a pinch of pepper if you like
  6. Gently toss the Salad to let all the flavours mingle
  7. Add the feta in large pieces to be broken when served or add it in crumbled

Close Up Of A Classic Greek Village Salad

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Recipe

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium sized ripe yet firm Tomatoes chopped into wedges (I like to use hothouse or heirloom)
  • 1 medium sized English cucumber or 3-4 mini seedless ones washed and chopped (peeling skin is optional)
  • 1 sweet Green pepper seeds and stems removed and sliced
  • 1 small Red onion sliced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ½-1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives
  • 200 grams (7 oz) of Feta cheese whole and broken into pieces or crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Red wine vinegar (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine all the vegetable: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions along with the olives in a large bowl and top the salad with the olive oil and red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and a good pinch of dried oregano and toss gently.
  2. Then top with a thick slice of feta that gets broken up during serving. Best served with a crusty bread to soak up the wonderful juices at the bottom.

Recipe Notes

  • No one likes a soggy salad so I don’t recommend making this salad too far in advance of serving but after being tossed it does benefit from sitting for a few minutes before tossing again to really get the juices and flavours going.
  • Some like to blend the olive oil with the red wine vinegar and the feta to create almost a feta sauce - feel free to do that for more feta dispersion.

Classic Greek Village Salad all done with bread dipped in the juices