This simple Greek salad recipe is my version of the one I always ordered growing up in the Detroit suburbs. It’s a classic Detroit style simple greek salad. A simple Greek salad that includes beets. A classic Coney salad. It’s not fancy, it’s simple to put together and served with a warm pita bread, makes a great addition to any meal.
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Let’s talk about the simple Greek salad for a minute…
When the hubby and I were in Greece some years back, we learned that a true Greek salad isn’t what we eat here in the states. In Greece, you’ll find that a “Greek salad” is salad of fresh seasonal produce, often with a wedge of feta cheese on top. There is no lettuce, the produce is super fresh and cut in big chunks. You certainly won’t beets in the mix. Those get saved for beet salad of course.
At home (in Detroit) a traditional Greek salad would be called a village salad. And I must say, I’m not such a fan. Maybe it’s because I like being able to pick and choose my bites. Or maybe because there is just something so nostalgic for me about iceberg lettuce.
That’s right, we are using good ole iceberg lettuce in this salad. Iceberg lettuce can sometimes get a bad wrap. Not as nutrient dense as its friends romaine and spinach, it provides a fresh, cool crunch in this Greek salad that I believe is totally necessary.
Let’s talk about the Greek salad dressing:
It’s one of the simplest dressing you can make. You are going to put all of the ingredients in a jar (I like these mason jars for dressing) and shake. I mean really shake it. Let the kids shake it too (especially if you want them to try it). Once it’s emulsified, you can leave it on the counter for an hour or two, or make ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. It will stay good for a few weeks.
This dressing is bright and tangy. You can play with it if you want, but I’m really enjoying it as is. It also doubles easily. Make a double batch, marinate chicken in it or brush it on some salmon. Add these proteins to the Greek salad for a complete meal.
So what about the rest of the ingredients in this salad?
- Iceberg Lettuce: you’ll want to chop this up well, we are going to use a whole head in the recipe
- Black Olives: feel free to use the olives that you like. We typically have large black lindsays canned olives in the house
- Red Onions: slice the red onion thinly and then cut the rounds into quarters
- Cucumber: provides a great crunch. I would cut into rounds and then cut the rounds into moons or quarters
- Pepperoncini: this is one of my husbands favorite part’s of the salad. Buy them in a jar
- Tomatoes: we aren’t big tomato fans around here, so I like to use cherry tomatoes in most of my salads so they are easy to eat around. You can use any tomato you like, cut anyway you want.
- Chickpeas: rinse and drain the can of chickpeas. Want to fancy this Greek salad up a bit? Roast the chickpeas till crunchy and then add them to the salad
- Beets: you can either roast your own beets, or buy them vacuum sealed (trader joes has some great ones) or canned. You’ll want to slice these thin as well.
Tips and tricks:
- Want to make this a full meal? You can easily add grilled chicken or grilled salmon to the top. You’ll want to grill them simply with salt and pepper, and then use excess salad dressing to give the protein it’s flavor.
- Make extra of the salad dressing. It keeps well in the fridge for up to a month.
- The recipe as written serves a crowd. Don’t hesitate to scale it down, but still make the whole batch of dressing. You’ll thank me later.
- Want to make this dairy free? Just leave off the feta.
Want to know what you could serve this with? Take a look at these great recipes:
simple greek salad (detroit style)
- One head of lettuce chopped
- 1 cup olives drained and dried
- 1 cup chickpeas drained and dried
- ½ cup sliced red onion
- 1 cup sliced cucumber
- ½ cup beets sliced
- 8 pepperoncinis drained, left whole
- 1 cup feta cheese more or less as you want
- salad dressing
- 1 garlic clove grated or 1 frozen garlic cube
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- juice of one lemon
- ½ cup olive oil
- gather ingredients
- drain and pat dry the chickpeas, the olives, the beets and pepperoncinis
- slice thinly the beets, cucumbers and red onion
- chop up the lettuce into bite sized pieces and pile on a large serving platter
- assemble the salad (i like to give everything it's own space on bed of lettuce for presentation and then toss with dressing at the table)
- sprinkle with feta cheese and serve
- salad dressing
- place all ingredients into an 8 oz mason jar (or any jar with a lid)
- shake, shake, and shake some more until the dressing is completely emulsified
Matt - Total Feasts
I love that so many ‘foreign’ foods are completely foreign to the place they are supposed to be from. That said I love a good’ol ‘Greek salad’! I also love that you’ve added pepperoncini in, your husband is a wise man! When I lived in the states I used to buy large jars of those as a snack food (a bit sad I realise)!