My childhood in Corfu shaped my life. If I had the craft of Merlin, I would give every child the gift of my childhood.

 – Gerald Durrell

Piper and I lived in Greece when she was tiny. We lived on the small island of Corfu (Kerkyra) in the Ionian Sea. It was a wild adventure, but we both left with a love for Greek food. There is nothing better than a fresh Greek salad with warm crusty bread and sparkling water in the summer. It’s the most perfect meal. Fun fact, Greeks don’t call it a Greek salad, they call it a salad or village salad.

The acidity of the tomatoes, the saltiness of the cheese, and the slight sweetness of cucumbers combine to create a feast for the senses. Greek salad is often served as an accompaniment to the main dish, but it can also stand alone as a very satisfying light dinner. This recipe presents a couple of different options for presenting the salad as a full-fledged meal.

Mediterranean cuisine is renowned for being both flavorful and healthy, and this salad is no exception. How many other recipes can boast of being this easy to make, light and healthy, and delicious to boot?

The vegetables are the star of the dish here and must be as garden-fresh and ripe as possible.

Greek salad with fresh vegetables. Pepper, tomatoes, onion, cheese, salad.

You will need:

 1 cucumber
 3 red plum tomatoes
 ½ red onion
 12 kalamata olives
 4 oz. feta cheese
 3 tbsp. olive oil
 1 ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar
 Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
 4 whole-wheat pita pockets, halved

Directions:

  1. Peel the onion and slice into very thin rings. Place the onion rings in a small covered saucepan filled with water and simmer over very low heat for 10 minutes. This will remove any bitterness or excessive sharpness from the onions.
  2. Peel the cucumber and trim the ends. Slice lengthwise into quarters, and chop roughly into large pieces. Some people prefer to core the cucumber to remove the seeds, but this is rarely necessary. Slice the tomatoes into wedges, and cube the feta cheese.
  3. Drain the onions, and then gently toss all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Fill the pita pockets, distributing the salad evenly among the eight pieces of pita. Enjoy!

Optional Fun Additions:

You may add any of the following ingredients to the salad:

 ½ green bell pepper, cored and diced
 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
 1 clove garlic, minced
 ½ tsp. dried oregano
 1 ½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice (omit the balsamic vinegar when using lemon juice)

Try this with the left overs:

Spread fresh hummus on the inside of the pita pockets before filling with Greek salad. This adds a pleasant nuttiness to the taste and makes the meal even more substantial.

Another fun Greek Salad idea:

Serve the salad on a bagel instead of on pita bread. Slice four whole wheat bagels in half, and mound the salad on each piece, distributing evenly between the eight halves.

Piper likes this variation:

This version is not traditionally Greek but is tasty nonetheless. Shred 4 oz. of sharp cheddar cheese, and sprinkle over top of the salad. This works for a salad that is being served on either the pita bread or bagels. If using bagels, place them on a baking sheet; if using pita halves, place them in a baking pan with high sides so that they can stand upright. Broil on high no more than 1-2 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the salad is just slightly warmed through.

Fresh Vegetable salad. Useful vitamin food.

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