In the classic family tree of salad dressings, we start with vinaigrette, which is 3:1 oil:acid. Add Dijon mustard to that, and you get a French dressing. Add dried oregano and garlic to that, and use red wine vinegar, then you have a Greek dressing. It is as simple as that. If that dressing is poured over typical Mediterranean fresh produce, then you have a dish you confidently call a ‘Greek salad.’
The idea for this version of a Greek salad came from Toronto cook Aleyda Batarse, who publishes a food blog she called ‘The Dish on Healthy.’ Aleyda started her blog when she decided to revolutionise her diet to as a self-directed treatment for ankylosing spondylitis. After months of ineffective polypharmacy, Aleyda adopted a gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar diet plan, and it has been very effective in maintaining her mobility and interaction with her children. She is now off medication and rediscovering her health.
I saw this salad in my Instagram feed, and the nosey parker in me ws struck by the idea of ‘what makes this Greek?’ After a bit of ferreting around, I was able to synthesise together a range of Greek salad dressing recipes to work out what the common thread was in all of them. The result is the recipe given here, which is pared back from the Aleyda Batarse, but includes notes on her version.
Basic Greek salad
- For the salad:
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- Half a cucumber, chopped
- Half a can of chickpeas, drained
- 300g black olives, pitted
- 200g feta cheese, cubed
- For the Greek dressing:
- 150ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 50ml red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix the salad ingredients in a bowl and leave the flavours to combine for 5 mins.
Shake the dressing ingredients and seasoning in a sealed jar and pour enough over the salad to coat evenly.
Toss the dressing through the salad and serve.
The dressing given here is the bare-minimum needed to make an authentic Greek recipe. Other common additions are a tbsp or so of Greek yoghurt. The original dressing from Aleyda Batarse used white wine vinegar, split the acid 50/50 with lemon juice, and added parsley and garlic salt.