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How to make Greek salad, everyone’s favorite healthy meal

With spring around the corner, it’s time to lighten up your meals with a bevy of fresh salads. For healthy lunches, lighter dinners, or spectacular sides, you can’t beat the flavorful combination of seasonal veggies paired with creamy cheese, grilled protein, and savory dressings. 

One of the most beloved salads is a Greek salad. Known as horiatiki, the traditional Greek salad includes cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, and more. Whether you put your own unique spin on the classic recipe or stick with the traditional, follow these tips and tricks to make a Greek salad that will be a fan favorite for years. And the best part is it only takes 15 minutes to prepare!

How to make the perfect Greek salad

Although a traditional Greek salad does not include lettuce, you are certainly welcome to add it if you’d like (chopped romaine lettuce works best).

An authentic Greek salad includes:

  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Tomatoes (cherry tomatoes release less water into the salad than sliced tomatoes)
  • Green bell pepper
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Olives
  • Feta cheese

The best olives to use in a Greek salad are kalamata olives. A common ingredient in Greek food — named for the city of Kalamata in the southern Peloponnese in Greece — they have a salty, briny flavor that works in perfect tandem with the crisp vegetables and creamy feta cheese. 

To get the most out of every forkful, cut your veggies into similarly sized pieces and chop the feta into cubes (rather than using crumbled feta). Using pitted kalamata olives will allow you to leave them whole in the salad, but you’ll want to slice your cherry tomatoes in half.

If you’re looking to add some unique twists to a traditional Greek salad, adding grilled chicken or shrimp makes for a heartier, more filling meal. You can also add a handful of chopped mint leaves to really help wake up the flavors in the salad. 

Classic Greek dressing recipe

You can make this traditional Greek salad dressing ahead of time and drizzle it over the salad just before serving. Bonus: It stores well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

To make the dressing, combine vinegar, lemon juice, and spices in a small bowl. Slowly pour in olive oil and whisk until thoroughly mixed.

Greek salad FAQs

Is Greek salad good for weight loss?

Salads are often included in any weight-loss plan, but Greek salads are actually one of the best salads for dieters. Since Greek salads are loaded with cucumbers, which are not just low in calories but also contain plentiful amounts of water and soluble fiber, they are ideal for aiding in weight loss and promoting proper hydration.

Is Greek salad the healthiest salad?

Greek salads are typically low in calories and dense in nutrients. Just a few of the nutrients you’ll benefit from include:

  • Calcium and protein from the feta
  • Fiber, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and E from kalamata olives
  • Magnesium and vitamins K and C from cucumbers
  • Lycopene from tomatoes, as well as vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K

What can you serve with Greek salad?

In addition to turning Greek salad into a healthy — and more filling — main course with the addition of grilled meats, you can also use your Greek salad as a side course for a variety of main dishes, both Greek-inspired and not. Here are a few of our favorites.

Chicken souvlaki, rice pilaf, and Greek salad: A classic Greek dish that pairs perfectly with your Greek salad. Marinate the chicken for hours for the best flavor (even better, plan ahead and marinate overnight).

Chicken kabobs with Greek salad: Mouthwatering chicken kabobs pair perfectly with Greek salad. Add a second side dish of rice pilaf with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top. 

Pizza: A Mediterranean combo that cannot be beat. Homemade pizza with an ultra-crispy crust and tangy pizza sauce is the perfect weekday feast. 

Moussaka: The Greek version of lasagne, this low-carb update uses layers of sliced eggplant rather than pasta sheets, with rich tomato meat sauce topped with a thick layer of béchamel sauce. It’s a bit time-consuming but worth every minute.

Greek salad is tasty, healthy, and easy to make. Follow our basic recipe, and then change things up depending on your meal requirements or appetite. You’ll find that Greek salad will become a regular part of your weekly meal plan.  

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