Horiatiki salad, also known as Greek salad, is tasty, refreshing, and easy to make with ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, tangy red onions, crisp bell peppers, meaty olives, and creamy feta cheese.
Dressed with extra virgin olive oil and dried oregano, it’s one of the best ways to enjoy the flavors of the Mediterranean.
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Are you looking for a recipe to enjoy during scorching hot summer days that is easy to make, nourishing, and refreshing? That’s Horiatiki for you!
Horiatiki (or Xoriatiki) is the Greek word for Greek village salad or peasant salad, known worldwide simply as a Greek salad.
Since Horiatiki is a simple recipe with a few ingredients, we recommend using top-quality produce, ideally from a farmer’s market, good quality extra virgin olive oil, and some meaty Kalamata olives.
I took the following picture of Horiatiki on a trip to Greece in the Summer of 2013. It was so delicious and refreshing that I had it for lunch for ten days straight.
In this blog post, I wanted to show you how to make a traditional Greek salad recipe precisely like the one you can find in Greece.
If you want something less traditional but still delicious, check out our Greek cucumber salad.
Ingredients for Horiatiki
Use ripe, meaty, juicy tomatoes cut into wedges or big chunks. Try to get your tomatoes from a farmer’s market if you have one nearby.
The most common are red heirloom tomatoes and red beefsteak tomatoes, but any red medium-sized to large tomato will do.
Alternatively, you can use smaller tomatoes, such as cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, although that’s not so common in Greece.
Important: use tomatoes at room temperature, not from the fridge, for the best flavor.
The cucumber in a Greek salad is peeled, cut in half, then chopped into bite-size pieces. You can use garden cucumber, English cucumber, or Persian cucumber.
Of course, you can leave the peel on if you prefer.
Green bell peppers should be fresh, hard to the touch, and crisp.
Red onion must be fresh and hard to the touch too. So try not to use old and soggy red onion.
You can use pitted Kalamata olives or whole Kalamata olives. You can substitute pitted black olives for Kalamata.
Oregano should be dried in a Greek salad recipe.
We recommend a good quality extra virgin olive oil because that’s what you would get in Greece.
Good extra virgin olive oil doesn’t require other ingredients to taste good. It has a round, fruity, and mildly nutty flavor that’s all you need in this Greek salad.
Sea salt would be best.
There are a lot of Feta cheese options on the market these days.
If you don’t eat dairy, there are several dairy-free Feta-like substitutes you can choose from.
If you eat dairy, we recommend using a block of Feta imported from Greece.
Authentic Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk.
While in some countries, the “Feta” name is protected by law – meaning that if you buy a cheese labeled “Feta,” you are going to get “real Greek Feta” – in the US, that’s not the case.
So, if you want to eat authentic Greek Feta, make sure the cheese you purchase is produced in Greece, from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk.
How to make Greek Salad
Cut the tomatoes in half, remove their stem, then slice them into wedges. Remember that tomatoes should be at room temperature for the best flavor.
Peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise, then slice it into bite-size half moons.
Cut the green bell pepper into four pieces lengthwise, remove its stem, seeds, and white flesh, then slice it.
Cut the red onion in half, peel it, and thinly slice it.
Tip: I noticed that in the places I visited in Greece, tomatoes were cut in large chunks, larger than bite-size. Feel free to cut the tomatoes into smaller pieces if you prefer.
Arrange chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell pepper onto a plate, large bowl, or serving platter.
Add Kalamata olives, a sprinkle of dried oregano, a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil, and give it a quick toss.
Place a block of Feta on the veggies, sprinkle with more dried oregano, and drizzle with olive oil.
You can enjoy Greek salad as a refreshing and light main dish or as a side dish beside your favorite meal. It is perfect next to grilled foods, warm breads, creamy dips, and spread.
You can even make smaller portions with diced Feta and serve it as a starter alongside other delicious Mediterranean bites. Try it with bruschetta, crostini, olive tapenade, zucchini frittata, tomato confit, and many more.
We created a round-up post with our favorite starter recipes to check out.
Finally, you can serve Greek salad as a tasty side dish alongside one of our many easy plant-based dinners.
Greek cucumber salad
Greek cucumber salad is a delicious alternative to horiatiki. It is made with the same ingredients and seasoned with a delightful tangy dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, maple syrup, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and mustard.
We recommend this recipe over a traditional Greek salad if your vegetables are not the tastiest.
Check out our Greek cucumber salad recipe.
Italian Panzanella Salad
Panzanella is an Italian bread salad with simple summer vegetables and leftover stale bread soaked in water.
It’s unsurprisingly similar to a Greek salad, as both Mediterranean countries rely heavily on fresh tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and herbs for summer meals.
Check out our Italian Panzanella salad recipe
Fattoush is a delicious, crunchy, refreshing salad from Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. It has fresh vegetables, herbs, and toasted or fried Arabic bread.
Fattoush salad is a great way to enjoy the flavors of those wonderful eastern Mediterranean countries. It’s perfect for a light lunch or a side dish for any meal.
Check out our Fattoush recipe.
Watermelon Salad with Feta
This Greek-inspired watermelon salad with Feta substitutes watermelon cubes for tomatoes. It’s a delicious salad that we love.
If you have never had it, you are in for a treat, and we can’t wait to hear what you think.
Check out our watermelon salad recipe.
Cucumber tomato salad
Cucumber tomato salad is similar to Greek salad, minus the Feta and bell pepper, but with fresh herbs.
Enjoy this crunchy and easy recipe during scorching hot summer days. Then, add some protein and upgrade it to a quick, healthy main.
Check out our cucumber tomato salad recipe.
Make ahead: we don’t recommend making Greek salad ahead of time as it takes 10 minutes to make from scratch. The veggies will release their juices, making the salad watery and less crunchy.
Refrigerator: keep leftovers in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.
Freezer: horiatiki is not suitable for freezing.
The ingredients in traditional Greek salad are tomatoes, cucumbers, green bell peppers, red onion, Kalamata olives, dried oregano, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and dried oregano.
In some regions in Greece, capers are added, especially on some Greek islands.
No, traditional Greek salad does not contain lettuce.
There is no “Greek salad dressing” in a traditional Greek salad. Instead, the salad is seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and dried oregano.
Ingredients NOT in a traditional Greek salad are lemon juice, romaine lettuce, fresh dill, dijon mustard, and chicken.
Xoriatiki or Greek salad.
More Salad Recipes
If you love vibrant meals packed with fresh veggies, check out our most loved recipes with raw ingredients:
- Avocado salad (avocado, cherry tomatoes, parsley, red onion, olive oil, etc.)
- Farro salad (farro, cucumber, chickpeas, lemon, parsley, olive oil, etc.)
- Zucchini salad (zucchini, lemon, cherry tomatoes, basil, mint, olive oil, etc.)
- Chickpea salad (chickpeas, olives, avocado, corn, parsley, mustard, etc.)
For many more salad ideas, check out our salads category page.
Horiatiki – Greek Salad
- 2 large tomatoes cut in wedges
- 1 large cucumber sliced
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
- 1 small green bell pepper sliced
- 20 Kalamata olives
- 1 block (7oz or 200g) Feta cheese or non-dairy feta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 pinch salt
- Cut 2 large tomatoes, remove their stem, then slice them into wedges.Peel 1 large cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise, then slice it into bite-size half moons.Cut 1 small green bell pepper into four pieces lengthwise, remove its stem, seeds, and white flesh, then slice it.Cut 1 small red onion in half, peel it, and thinly slice it.
- Arrange tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and bell pepper onto a plate or serving platter.Add 20 Kalamata olives, a sprinkle of dried oregano, a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Place a block of Feta on the veggies, sprinkle with more dried oregano, and drizzle with more olive oil.
If you liked this Greek salad, you might also enjoy: