My Big Fat Greek Salad
I recently posted about pairing flavors and following your nose. It’s just as important to follow the cliché flavors as a base before you start getting wild. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s what today is all about. There are of course varieties with every recipes and as you learn about food, you’ll find plenty of substitutions to keep your favorite recipes fresh but familiar.
I know this will make me unpopular with some but I LOVE feta cheese. Anyone who has eaten real feta will agree with me. Unfortunately, the closest we’ll get to Greece is block feta in the cheese section of your local grocery store. It’ll be stored in a brine, if it’s not, keep walking cause you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Seriously, if it isn’t in a brine, it’d be like eating chalk when you’re looking for cookie dough. Do. Not. Do. It.
(Ok, off my snobby feta soapbox.)
A typical Greek salad will have tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, feta, and banana peppers. That just left me wanting more. Thankfully we are kicking off pomegranate season and no one loves them more than the Greeks. They smash them on their front porches at the New Year for good luck and well being and all that jazz. Chickpeas make sense because of hummus, no one can say they dislike artichokes, and that brings me back to my beloved feta.
Salad recipes are a little silly in my opinion because you can load them up with as much or as little toppings as you want, so rather than trust my numbers, follow your instincts and get after it. I’ve detailed some tips and tricks in here to help up your taste and presentation game.
- mixed salad greens
- 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed well then drained
- pomegranate seeds
- (pro tip: buy them from Harris Teeter already removed from the pomegranate, you’ll thank me later)
- cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
- pickled onions
- feta cheese
- canned artichoke hearts, rinsed well then drained
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp of grainy mustard
- 1 c olive oil
- less than 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (more to taste if necessary)
- 1 big mixing bowl
- 1 little mixing bowl
- whisk or fork
- chef knife
- cutting board
- wash your hands and prep out all of your toppings
- for the dressing, put the mustard in the little mixing bowl and add the vinegar. Stir until combined.
- Mustard is an emulsifier and will help hold your dressing together
- Slowly drizzle in your olive oil while whisking vigorously
- Salt and pepper to taste then set aside.
- Put your greens in the big mixing bowl and toss in a little salt and pepper (trust me, this makes a huge difference)
- Add in about 1/3 of your toppings
- Add about 1½ TBSP of dressing per serving (if you’re making more than one salad)
- Use your nice clean hand and toss the salad, making sure that the leaves are all evenly coated
- Portion out your salad onto your plate(s) and take the remaining toppings and place them nicely on top and around the sides, purely for presentation purposes
- Crumble the feta cheese over the salad
- Because you are dressing the salad, you’ll need to serve it relatively soon afterwards so the leaves don’t get soggy.
- If you’re looking to dress it up a little more, I’d recommending chiffonad-ing (or making ribbons out of) some fresh mint and tossing it in with the greens early on.
- This will pair well with grilled or blackened chicken, for a vegan option, skip the chicken and the feta and you’re good to go!