Choriatiki or Horiatiki salad, or Greek Salad as it is known worldwide, means country or village salad, following the meaning of the word “horiatiki” in Greek. One important thing we need to point out right away is that what is known as the Greek salad elsewhere is not exactly what you would be served in Greece. Horiatiki salad doesn’t contain lettuce in its original form and vinegar is optional.
Eating Horiatiki Salad in Greece
The real Greek salad is made of sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, chopped red onion, crumbles of feta cheese, a handful of Kalamata (black) olives, and it’s seasoned with salt, oregano and a lot of Greek olive oil. In some Greek islands, capers is also added to the salad.
Choriatiki salad is on the menu of every single restaurant in Greece and Greeks eat it often at home, especially during the summer season, since “the secret” of this salad is that all ingredients have to be perfectly fresh and ripe. Greeks would rather omit one of the ingredients (cucumbers, if not at their best) than make a non-perfect “horiatiki”.
Recipe for Horiatiki Greek salad
- 3 medium tomatoes sliced or chopped into a bite-size pieces
- 1 -2 small cucumbers, peeled or not, but sliced into thick half-rounds
- 1 small red onion, sliced into thin slivers
- 20 Kalamata (black) olives (or as many as you want)
- 200 -300 gr. of feta cheese at least, crumbled
- 1/3 cup of Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon of capers
The ritual of Horiatiki salad making
The recipe for the Horiatiki salad is easy and quick, so it is suitable even for novice and casual cooks. Preparing the Greek salad is a feast, because all those fresh ingredients are such appetite teasers that it’s hard to resist not to chew on some of them while slicing, cutting, or crumbling. But when you know what comes afterwards, when salad is not only done but eaten, you gladly wait for that moment called “papara” in Greek.
Let’s start making the horiatiki salad. Wash the tomatoes and cucumbers and let them dry. Then cut and slice the tomatoes, onions and cucumbers, and place them in a large bowl. Add olives and crumbled feta cheese (and capers if using). Now sprinkle with salt and olive oil. Add oregano and toss gently. The salad is ready to be served.
Horiatiki salad goes with many dishes, but it can be a dish itself since it contains all necessary ingredients. The best part comes at the end – papara: soaking bread in the juice of the Greek salad! That mixture of olive oil, and juices of veggies that get soaked by olive oil while the salad was at the table – especially the juice from tomatoes and the enhanced flavor of oregano touched by olives, is something to die for.
Well, you can do it by putting the bite of bread on the fork and deep it in the mixture, but when you eat the Greek salad at home, just take a piece of bread with your hand and soak it. Yummy!
Greek names of the ingredients of the Horiatiki salad recipe
tomato = ntomata, ντομάτα
cucumber = aggouri, αγγούρι
onion = kremmidi, κρεμύδι
olives = elies, ελιες
feta cheese = feta, φέτα
olive oil = elaiolado, ελαιόλαδο
salt = alati, αλάτι
oregano = rigani, ρίγανη
capers = kapari, κάπαρη
vinegar = ksidi, ξύδι