This Greek peasant salad is a quick and easy salad that not only makes a delicious side, but is a special lunch enjoyed on it’s own. Made from fresh crunchy vegetables, salty kalamata olives and creamy feta cheese, all dressed with a simple vinaigrette, it takes less than 10 minutes to make!
What Is Peasant Salad?
Peasant salad, also called Horiatiki salad (‘Horiatiki’ means village) and Greek salad, is thought to come from the summer salad that 19th-20th century peasants ate: a simple meal constructed from fresh vine-ripened summer tomatoes and onions growing in their vegetable gardens together with other fresh herbs and vegetables. This rustic Mediterranean summer salad celebrating fresh seasonal ingredients is simple, but showcases the best of in season ingredients – and that is what I love most about rustic food! It celebrates the seasons, it’s simple, but boy does it taste amazing! This popular salad is eaten through mainland Greece and the Greek islands, in Taverns and homes alike. Crisp, refreshing, salty, sharp, salty…it’s got it all.
Why We Love This Recipe
- This classic Mediterranean salad is my go to salad: not only is it quick, easy, and lasts well in the fridge, but it’s refreshing, crunchy and goes with so many dishes.
- It is a salad you can enjoy on it’s own as well as served as a side dish, used in a wrap, or even added to a sandwich!
- It’s a salad that keeps well in the fridge for a few days, making it a great meal prep salad.
- It is a great side for barbecues or potlucks, and handy salad to pack in a lunchbox as it keeps well.
Ingredients Notes and Substitutions
- Greek feta cheese – made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep and goat milk. Often referred to as white cheese, it is tangy and crumbly.
- Tomatoes – in season grape or cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, or vine tomatoes. A combination of yellow and red tomatoes looks very pretty!
- Cucumber – Lebanese or half a telegraph/English cucumber.
- Green pepper – green pepper / capsicum is traditionally used in a Greek salad, but you can substitute red pepper / capsicum if you prefer.
- Red onion – sweet red onion.
- Kalamata olives – these Greek olives are a staple in Greek cuisine, so for a traditional Greek salad use these.
- Capers – capers are optional, but they add a salty sharp burst which is so good.
- Olive oil – EVOO, use the best quality olive oil that you can.
- Oregano – dried Greek oregano is the traditional herb for this salad, but you can use dried oregano, or fresh oregano (like I have done), basil, dill, mint, or a combination!
- Red wine vinegar – some family recipes don’t call for vinegar, but others do. I like a touch of sharpness it brings, but it is down to personal taste and is optional.
How To Make This Recipe
- Chop the tomatoes over a large bowl or serving bowl. (This is so you can catch all that tomato juice and not waste any flavour!).
- Chop the other vegetables and add to the tomato.
- Mix the olive oil and red wine vinegar together.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the salad.
- Lay over the chunk of feta cheese. Sprinkle over dried oregano, capers (if using) and a drizzle more of olive oil, then serve.
Traditional Greek salad does not contain lettuce. Horiatiki/ Greek salad is a summer salad, and lettuce was a winter vegetable.
Whilst salty creamy Greek feta is the traditional cheese used in this Greek salad, if you don’t like feta you can substitute goats cheese or Halloumi.
My Recipe Tips
- Get as much flavour as you can from your tomatoes: Cut the tomatoes over your mixing bowl/serving bowl, or pour the juice and seeds from the chopping board in to your mixing bowl.
- For the best flavour to your salad use in season ingredients. It is a salad that is elevated by the best and in season ingredients, they can really make it go from ‘good’ to ‘amazing!’
- Serve this authentic Greek salad alongside oven baked chicken thighs, lamb, or fish, with crispy parmentier potatoes, or duchess potatoes.
- In pita bread, wraps, flatbread or soft chapati.
- It makes a tasty addition to a lunchbox, or take on a picnic.
- At a pot luck or barbecue side alongside pomegranate rocket salad, spinach caprese salad and pear and walnut salad.
- Cubed feta – serving the whole feta cheese on top of the vegetables is traditional, but cubing the feta or crumbling it in to the salad can be easier for serving. Make sure you stir lightly once you crumble it in so you keep some chunks of cheese.
- Croutons – if you want to make your salad in to a filling meal, toast cubes of bread in a little olive oil, salt and black pepper and sprinkle over the salad just before serving.
- Vegan Greek salad – use vegan feta cheese or a can of chickpeas in place of the feta.
- Lettuce – whilst lettuce is not included in the traditional Greek salad, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used. Or add a handful of baby spinach or peppery rocket.
More Easy Salad Recipes
Greek Peasant Salad (Horiatiki)
- 4 large tomatoes or 200g cherry tomatoes
- 1 cucumber Lebanese cucumber or ½ English/telegraph cucumber
- 1 green capsicum/pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 16-20 Kalamata olives
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 150g feta cheese
- ½-1 tablespoon capers
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- salt & black pepper
- Roughly chop the tomatoes over a large bowl or the serving bowl (this is so you can catch all that tomato juice and not waste any flavour!)
- Roughly chop the cucumber and green capsicum/pepper into bitesize chunks. Finely slice the red onion. Add them to the tomatoes with the olives.
- In a small bowl mix the olive oil and red wine vinegar together to make the dressing.
- Pour the dressing over the prepared vegetables, season with salt and pepper (remember that the feta is salty) and stir so everything is coated in the oil and seasoning.
- Place the chunk of feta cheese on the top of the salad, sprinkle over dried oregano, the capers (if using) and drizzle over a little more olive oil.
- Serve straight away.
- Leftover will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.