There is an Italian restaurant that I go to once in a while that has the best Greek Salad. I think it is a great salad because they put a lot of feta cheese and Kalamata olives in it which are two of my favorite things. But the biggest reason is because the dressing is so good. I literally crave it sometimes. I have actually eaten it by the spoonful to try to figure out what is in the dressing. So the other day, when I wanted to put together a Greek salad at home, I decided to try to make it. Happily, I think it tastes just like the dressing from the restaurant. Now when I crave it, I don’t even have to leave my house!
This dressing is flavored with oregano and lemon juice and a small amount of honey. It’s neither too tart nor too sweet. It has just the right balance of both. It contains vinegar to give it a depth of flavor. I didn’t like it as well before I added this. It also contains Dijon mustard, but don’t let that throw you. Many vinaigrettes have Dijon in them as an emulsifier, and it doesn’t taste mustardy as long as you use the right proportions. I don’t like mustard, and I couldn’t even tell it was there. This salad would go perfect with Lasagna Soup or Italian Sausage Lasagna Rolls. The nice thing about these recipes is that so much of them can be done ahead of time if you are having company over the holidays.
When making a salad I like to start by adding in all the chopped ingredients to the lettuce, saving some of each for garnish.
Then I pour on some dressing, and gently mix it all together.
(Although with feta, I usually save it all for the garnish as it becomes kind of messy looking after tossing it with the salad). After the salad is mixed thoroughly, I pour it into a bowl or plate. Then I garnish the top with the leftover ingredients and pour a little more dressing on top so no matter which part of the salad you spoon onto your plate, you get all the ingredients and no dry pieces of lettuce. The nice thing about vinaigrettes is that they are lighter than some of the creamier dressings and most people like them, especially if they are homemade.
Many restaurants use artichokes and red or orange bell pepper to add even more colors and flavors to this salad. But for me, this was perfect the way it was. At home you get to customize your salad just the way you like it. Can you tell I like olives and feta?:) I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do!
Classic Greek Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette
For the Salad:
- 1 (5 oz.) bag Romain lettuce
- 1 (9.5 oz.) jar Kalamata olives
- 1 cucumber, peeled and diced in 1/2 in chunks
- 1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or 2-3 regular tomatoes, chopped
- 1 purple onion, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced
- 1 (6 oz.) container crumbled feta cheese
For the Lemon Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 c canola oil
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1/4 c fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
- 1 to 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- To make the vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a mason jar or blender and shake or blend until mixed, making sure the honey doesn’t stick to the bottom of the container.
- Set aside in refrigerator until ready to assemble salad, just prior to eating.
- When ready to serve, pour lettuce into large bowl. Place as many of each ingredient as desired on top of salad, except feta, reserving some of each for garnish.
- Pour a small amount of dressing on salad, stirring and adding more dressing until coated evenly, saving some for the top of the salad.
- Place reserved ingredients including feta on top of salad and arrange as desired.
- Pour additional dressing over reserved ingredients to taste.
- Serve immediately.
- Store any leftover vinaigrette in the refrigerator.
Original recipe from Shari Kelley of Cook AZ I Do