One bite of this delicious Springtime Greek Salad will have you saying Opa! Just be careful not to smash your plate if there's still salad on there! This salad pairs wonderfully with our Feta and Oregano Meatballs, but it’s just as good on its own. One thing this Greek Salad does is pack a wallop of Mediterranean flavor that just hits the spot on a warm and sunny spring day.
Greek Salads are traditionally called Horitaki, which means peasant salad. Traditionally, these salads are tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, olives and feta cheese with an olive oil dressing that’s lightly herbed with oregano. An authentic Greek Salad doesn’t contain lettuce, but it often does in America. The Greek Salad’s popularity corresponds with the popularity of the tomato in Greece, and Europe as a whole. This dish was said to be inspired by what rural farmers of the region would eat for a morning snack that typically consisted of feta cheese, tomatoes, and onions. Farmers would carry them around in a cloth and then take bites straight out of each.
Back when the Conquistadors brought tomato seeds back to Europe from South America, the plant was originally viewed with skepticism and suspicion due to its uncanny resemblance to Nightshade. Tomatoes at this time were grown purely ornamentally. Up until the Italians, towards the tail end of the 16th century, started using them in recipes. However, it wasn’t until 1818 that the tomato was introduced to Greece.
Tomatoes were first grown on the Island of Syros, but the plants quickly spread to Santorini, where they began to grow petite waterless tomatoes. These tomatoes thrived in the volcanic soil, heavy sun, and heavy early morning dew of the region. Around 1915, the first Greek canning plant opened in Nauplion. The plant was supplied by increasing tomato production in the plains of Argolis, leading to tomatoes becoming widely available across the country. This led to the tomato becoming one of the main ingredients in Greek Cuisine! Once you’ve tried this Greek Salad, you’ll understand why it’s one of the most popular dishes in Greece!