Dictionary.com defines the word Horiatiki as a traditional Greek salad consisting of tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives, and feta cheese. And, so it is! I had the pleasure of eating my first Horiatiki Salad on Saturday night, not in Greece (unfortunately) but in a little Greek restaurant nestled on the Main Street of La Crosse, Wisconsin!
The salad has a combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives (pre-pitted), red onion slices, and a block of feta cheese set on top of it all! The salad I ate Saturday night had an added variation of roasted red peppers. It was dressed with a light coating of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. So simple, so light, so fresh, and so delicious!
My husband and I noticed, now that we’ve been to this Greek restaurant twice, that we have not had ANY lettuce in our salads. This is surely different from the Green restaurants we ate at when we lived in Buffalo, New York. There is a large Greek contingent in Buffalo and we regularly ate at several of their restaurants. Kosta’s on Hertel Avenue and then their expansion to Williamsville was always a treat. Our favorite there was Chicken Souvlaki either in a sandwich or as a salad. Both the salad and the sandwich had shredded lettuce in the recipe along with a large dose of feta cheese.
We also became familiar with other Greek delicacies such as baklava and Retsina wine. Pita was served with most everything, and it was warm, slightly buttered, and oh, so yummy!
Since we moved to the midwest, we returned to Buffalo and ate at Zoe’s, another Greek Restaurant on Transit Road. It also offered some authentic and delicious Greek cuisine. Lettuce was part of the greek salads we had at both Kosta’s and Zoe’s, as was pita bread.
We’ve been pleasantly surprised to not be served the lettuce with the souvlaki in La Crosse. In addition, they offer pita but we’ve never ordered it. Now, I understand the Horiatiki Salata is not supposed to have lettuce. It is a fresh vegetable salad without lettuce. This is the authentically greek way to have a salad. This is confirmed online by the website The Genetic Chef which also offers a greek salad recipe. You’ll find a Horiatiki Salata recipe on The Spruce Eats and The Mediterranean Dish website. Neither call for lettuce! Be warned though, that the photos of the salads on these sites will have you drooling and you’ll want to make one immediately!
And why not? It is the height of the summer harvest season! Make a Horiatiki Salata today!