Chopped Greek-Style Salad
We knew it couldn’t last forever. Summer is coming to an end. In a little more than a week we will be back in school and the lazy days of summer will be behind us. Before you get too sad, how about a simply amazing salad recipe? Something great to make or take to the Labor Day last hurrah of summer. This Greek Salad from Kalyn’s Kitchen may just be the perfect salad. You can make it ahead. It will survive the heat and stay beautiful looking on the buffet table. It keeps well (if there’s any left over) in the fridge for several days. It travels brilliantly and arrives unruffled. It’s a bit lighter than the potato and pasta salads, but a bit heartier than a plain green salad. You will want to keep making this again and again and wonder how you ever lived without it. I am passing it on with a few minor changes, because it is just a great recipe! See for yourself.
Chopped Greek-Style Salad
1/2 cup Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (or use your favorite oil and vinegar dressing)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 English cucumber
3 Persian cucumbers, or 5 mini cocktail cucumbers
4 mini red bell peppers
4 mini yellow bell peppers
4 mini orange bell peppers
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained and cut in half
1/3 cup chopped red onion, or 1/3 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup Feta cheese, cubed
freshly ground black pepper
Mix oregano into salad dressing and let stand.
Partially peel seedless cucumber by removing long strips lengthwise and leaving some strips of peel intact. Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 3 long pieces. Slice each half into chunks widthwise (each slice will yield 3 pieces). Cut Persian cucumbers in half lengthwise, then in slices. Remove stems and seeds from peppers and slice into equal size pieces. Cut Feta cheese into equal sized small cubes, about 1/2 inch square.
Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions and olives in large bowl. Add desired amount of dressing (you may not need all) and toss to combine. Gently stir in Feta cubes and season with freshly ground black pepper.
To speed prep time, have a large bowl ready and add the ingredients as you slice them. I use the Light Balsamic Dressing I posted earlier this year (March 20, 2015), and use just shy of 1/2 cup of dressing and add several tablespoons of red wine vinegar to make it more zesty and give it a little more Greek flavor. I also like to mix two kinds of cucumbers, but make sure to taste as you go. I had an English cucumber that was bitter and added it to my entire bowl before I realized it. Live and learn… You can use regular red, yellow, and orange bell peppers. Just use about 1/2 pepper of each color. I like the mini peppers you get at Costco. They are sweeter, and really add to the layered flavors of the salad. Finally, I like to buy Feta in a block and then cut into cubes. It holds up better this way and doesn’t disappear into your salad. This keeps the salad looking neat.
You can serve this salad immediately or allow it to marinate. If you have any leftovers, you can pack them up in a small canning jar and take for your lunch, or you can use jam jars and make single-servings for a picnic. You still have time, but you better start now.