What I endearingly call a Chunky Greek Salad is in fact an authentic greek salad. This essentially means there is not lettuce or other leafy green getting in the way of all the good stuff. This is a classic pot luck recipe that I like to make when I want to bring something healthy to events. I have been making it for years! Even veggie haters gobble this up. And, summer is the best time to make it! Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, are all at their seasonal best this time of year. When you use the freshest ingredients, this Chunky [aka Authentic] Greek Salad is arguably one of the best salads man has ever created.
You start by chop, chop, chopping everything up. Then make the super simple greek dressing made from red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil (the best you can afford/find!), herbs, pepper, salt, and garlic. Toss everything in the dressing and allow to marinate for at least an hour. The veggies will ‘weep’ liquid as it sits, which can water down the dressing. I like to serve it within 6 hours of dressing for this reason. If making ahead, keep all the veggies chopped in an airtight container, and dress at least an hour before serving, if possible.
Then add the pièce de résistance: the feta cheese of course! I like to add more dried herbs and pepper on top for presentation. Traditionally the feta is served as a whole piece, and not in crumbles. I do have to admit I like serving it this way because then people can take as much as they want, but by all means crumble away if you prefer.
How to Make the Chunky Greek Salad
Servings: makes 8 cups
Time: 20 minutes to make and an hour (or more) for marinating
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
- 1 cucumber, roughly 7 ounces
- 1 green bell pepper (medium or large)
- 1/4 cup of thinly sliced red onion, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup of greek olives (I like a mix of marinated green and kalamata olives, such as from an olive bar)
- 2 heaping tbsp. of pepperoncini peppers (also spelled peperoncini)
- feta cheese*
- 2 tbsp. of your best quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. of dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp. of dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. of ground black pepper
- 1 large clove of garlic grated on a micro plane or crushed (about 1/3 tsp. packed)
- pinch of salt
- To make dressing, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried herbs, garlic, and salt and pepper. Whisk or shake in a small jar to emulsify.
- Chop cherry tomatoes, green bell pepper, and cucumber into desired size. I like to halve the cherry tomatoes and cut the cucumber and pepper into 1/2 inch to 1 inch chunks.
- Combine chopped vegetables, thinly sliced onion, olives, and pepperoncini and mix to distribute ingredients evenly.
- Add dressing and mix to combine.
- Allow salad to marinate for at least 1 hour, and up to 6 hours before the veggies release a lot of water. If marinating for longer, taste then make and add more dressing as needed.
- Top with chunk of feta cheese. Sprinkle on pepper and dried herbs, if desired.
Note: In the above images, I used 4 ounces of feta. I think that is a good amount for about 4 large servings.