Easy Greek Tossed Green Salad is a great way to incorporate the flavors of the Mediterranean in one healthy dish. This simple salad goes together in a pinch and tastes amazing with a smooth and tasty 6-ingredient homemade dressing!
Mediterranean dishes are one of my favorite go-tos for when I want something easy yet tasty. While you might think a fancy-named dish means fancy ingredients, quite the opposite is true. In fact, you probably have all the ingredients you need in your pantry and fridge right now. And, if you don’t, they are easy enough to find at the grocery and store the leftovers for another dish. Kalamata olives and feta hold up quite well in the fridge and work in many other dishes as well.
While my Best Simple Tossed Green Salad is easy to adapt to any tastes (or contents of your vegetable crisper), I do think there are components of this salad that make it specifically Greek. The cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, olives, and feta cheese (plus the tangy, lemony dressing) just make my mouth water. Plus, when I eat forkful after forkful, I can almost imagine I’ve been whisked to a Greek island, walking on a beach, wind in my hair, overlooking the sea, not a care in the world. And that, my friends, is worth the (little bit) of time it takes to make this salad. What I’m saying is, this dish is basically a time machine.
WHAT’S IN A TRADITIONAL GREEK SALAD?
A traditional Greek salad only has tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, Kalamata olives, feta, and green peppers. No lettuce is used at all. The dressing is just dried oregano and salt, extra virgin olive oil, and some red wine vinegar.
While I’ve made the traditional Greek salad many times, you all know how I like to take my foods up a notch. I find that adding lettuce makes it more of a “salad” to me, and I can’t get enough lemon in my salad dressings. The green peppers I left out because I don’t feel like they add much to the salad in terms of flavor but if they’re your thing, by all means, add them in.
HOW DO I MAKE THIS INTO A GREEK PASTA SALAD?
Let me tell you the easiest way to make this salad into a pasta salad: Swap the lettuce for pasta. Really! That’s it! Make the pasta ahead of time (about half a box will do or double the recipe for a whole box). I prefer a littler pasta — rotini or bowties, shells even — and then add the veggies and feta, dressing, and toss. You could even put the whole pasta salad on top of a bed of lettuce or salad greens for a real mind-blowing, filling meal.
If you’re looking for something a little fancier with some added protein, you could try my recipe for Greek Pasta Salad, which includes the ingredients below (minus the lettuce, plus spinach), chickpeas, sun dried tomatoes, parmesan instead of feta, and a mixture of spices, olive oil, and lemon juice for the dressing.
You can combine the best of both worlds, too — using the dressing from this salad with the ingredients for the pasta salad, or vice-versa. It’s really up to you and the mood that you are in.
HOW CAN I CUSTOMIZE THIS EASY TOSSED GREEK SALAD?
If adding pasta or eliminating lettuce is on the right path, but not quite what you were thinking, try these other ideas for kicking this Greek Salad up a(nother) notch:
- Add red pepper flakes to the dressing to add just a little kick to your salad.
- Try adding whole or sliced pepperoncinis to the salad. Warning: They are addictive!
- Add in a white bean like a chickpea or navy bean to up the protein content of your salad.
- Try adding thinly sliced grilled or baked chicken or steak after it’s been tossed (this is a great way to use up any leftover meat).
- Try tofu crumbles or grilled tofu pieces spread right on top for a great source of plant protein.
- Feeling fishy? This salad is the perfect base for a nice grilled piece of salmon, tuna steak, or other hearty fish.
- If you love olives as much as I do, you might consider adding a tablespoon or two of pre-made olive tapenade to the dressing mix before serving.
- If you’re not a fan of mustard or don’t like Dijon, you can skip it all together or try another mustard variation, seed, or powder you do enjoy.
- A sprinkle of dill or mint in the dressing also goes well with this taste of the Mediterranean.
Easy Tossed Greek Salad
- 6-8 cups chopped romaine lettuce or mixed greens
- 1 cucumber peeled and sliced
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives sliced
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano flakes
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl combine lettuce, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, red onion, and cheese.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar, cover and shake well. Pour over salad and toss to combine just before serving.