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The History of Greek Salad in the United States

Updated: Feb 18, 2023


The Greek salad arrived in American cities and town in the 1960s. Greek immigrants opened diners and coney island restaurants in many cities and towns. They brought family recipes with them from Greece, and the Greek salad became a popular item on restaurant menus. Customers ordered the salad for lunch and dinner, and it was a complete meal.


Greek families that opened restaurants hired family members and friends in their community. The restaurants started offering traditional Greek salad as an addition to the meal. The salad became Americanized by cooks adding iceberg lettuce, romaine, and other ingredients. Changing the recipe added variety to their menu and attracted new customers. The popularity of the salad was due to the promotion of the Mediterranean diet and it relation to good health.


The traditional Greek Salad Horiatiki was made with feta, cheese, olives, tomatoes, red onions, peppers, cucumbers, and served with oil, vinegar, or lemon juice. Horiatiki means village salad. Over time the recipe for Greek salad evolved and restaurants added other ingredients chicken, lamb, beef, fish, beets, pepperoncini, and pickled vegetables.


  • Interesting Facts About Greek Salad

  • Greek salad first became popular in Greece and Cyprus

  • In some countries it is called lettuce salad made with lettuce, fresh tomatoes, onions and herbs.

  • Sometimes Greek Salad is called a peasant salad and made with fresh tomatoes, onions, and herbs.

  • It is a healthy salad low in calories, has vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

  • Traditional Greek salad cuts vegetable and ingredients into large pieces or chunks

  • Feta cheese is made from sheep and goat's milk

References:


As American as The Greek Salad by Priya Krishna Taste 2019


How Greeks Invented Salad by the Petersburg Examiner May 2020


Traditional Greek or Pheasant Salad Recipe


1 red onion peeled and sliced thin

2 ripe red tomatoes diced

2 pickling cucumbers peeled and sliced thin

1/4 cup pickled pepperoncini chopped

1/4 cup pitted Greek olives cut in half

4 ounces or 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese or chunks cut in squares

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar or lemon juice

1 teaspoon oregano

salt and pepper to taste.


Directions:


  1. You will need a potato peeler, colander to wash vegetables, knife, cutting board, plastic bowls, measuring cup, plate, or bowl for salad.

  2. Peel the onion skin and discard. Wash the tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion in the colander or bowl of warm water and drain.

  3. Cut the end off onion, remove skin, and discard. Cut the onion into thin slices and cut slices in half. Peel the cucumber discard peel. Dice the cucumber very thin. Dice the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. Arrange the cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions on a platter or bowl. Mix ingredients evenly.

  4. Remove the pepperoncini from jar cut and remove seeds and discard. Slice into thin strips and add to salad . Remove several Greek olives from jar, use measuring cup, and cut in half . Add these to salad mix.

  5. Open the feta cheese and crumble evenly over salad or cut into chunks about 1/2 cup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Mix the oil and wine vinegar or lemon juice in a small bowl with a whisk. Add the oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Refrigerate salad with dressing or eat immediately. Pour dressing over salad evenly before serving. Serves 4.

Greek Salad with Lamb


1 head of romaine lettuce chopped

2 tomatoes washed and cubed

1 red onion peeled and thinly sliced

1 package of crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives

1-1/2 pound of lamb chops


Salad Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar

1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese

salt and pepper to taste


Marinade For Meat

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons dried oregano

Salt to taste


Directions:

  1. You will need a colander, cutting board, knife, measuring cups, pan for cooking lamb chops, plastic container or bowls, plate or bowl for salad.

  2. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and salt to taste in a small bowl. Defrost the lamb chops and put them in a covered plastic bowl or container. Pour the marinade over the lamb chops and marinate for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

  3. Cut end off the red onion, remove skin, and discard. In a colander wash the Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Drain. Cut the end of the Romaine lettuce off, discard end, and cut into bite sized pieces. Peel the cucumber and cut into thin slices and cut slices in half. Cut the tomato into bite sized pieces.

  4. Remove the lamb chops and cook in oven under the broiler about 10 minutes per side or roast to internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove lambchop and cut into bite sized pieces remove gristle, bones and fat. Put aside.

  5. Arrange the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, on a plate or in bowl. Mix ingredients evenly. Add the crumbled feta cheese. Remove olives from jar and cut in half. Add to salad. Finally Add the lamb meat, mix evenly.

  6. Mix the salad dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, chopped garlic, and feta cheese in small bowl and stir. Pour over salad and serve immediately. Serves 4.


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