The best time to make this classic Greek salad is in August and early September, when tomatoes and cucumbers are at their peak. I love making this salad as often as possible when tomatoes are ripe. It makes a delicious substantial lunch salad because of the chickpeas.
It is important to eat the tomatoes immediately after slicing them, so if you are going to bring the salad to work for lunch, make sure to bring the whole tomato with you and slice it right before serving. Don’t refrigerate the tomatoes, either!
I like to remove the seeds from the cucumber, but this is not necessary if you are using an English or small Persian cucumbers. You also don’t need to remove the cucumber skin if the cucumbers are not heavily waxed.
Use the best olive oil that you can for this recipe. My current favorite is from California Olive Ranch. The vinaigrette for this salad is exceptional when the feta cheese is crumbled into the dressing with your fork while eating. It is an acidic vinaigrette, but the fat from the feta softens the acid.
For the feta, I like imported sheep’s milk feta from Israel because it is really mild, creamy and delicious.
You can also make this classic greek salad with grilled chicken breast in lieu of the chickpeas, which makes a delicious dinner served with warm pita bread.
This recipe was inspired by the Greek salad recipe on the Food Network website.
|¼||large red onion|
|2||red bell peppers|
|1||green bell pepper|
|2-15 oz||cans chickpeas|
|1 cup||Kalamata olives, pitted|
|8 oz||feta cheese (block, not crumbled)|
|6||medium vine-ripened tomatoes|
|1||lemon, juiced and zested|
|¼ cup||red wine vinegar|
|½ tsp||coarse sea salt|
|¼ tsp||freshly ground black pepper|
|¼ cup||extra-virgin olive oil|
- Thinly slice the red onion and place slices into an ice-water bath. Allow it to soak for 15 minutes.
- Peel the cucumber and split it in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds. Cut the cucumber into ½-inch pieces.
- Remove the stems from red and green bell peppers by cutting crosswise through the top of the peppers. Split peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and white membranes. Slice peppers into ½- inch strips, then cut into ½-inch squares.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
- Combine the red onion, cucumber, bell peppers, and chickpeas in a large bowl with the Kalamata olives.
- To make the dressing, whisk together lemon juice (you should have ~ ¼ cup), lemon zest, red wine vinegar, honey, oregano, salt and pepper until honey is dissolved. Whisk in olive oil.
- To serve the salad, slice the tomatoes and add slices to the vegetables in the bowl. Toss everything with the vinaigrette. Slice the feta into 6 equal-sized blocks and place on individual serving plates. Add salad to the plates and eat immediately.