Mediterranean Salad

I love mediterranean salad, which is why I make it so often when I have friends over for dinner and when I am home all by myself. Over the past few months I’ve got a lot of request for the recipe, so today I’m going to share my standard approach along with a few suggested variations.

There are many different names for this salad, I think every middle eastern country tries to claim this salad as their own. I’ve heard it called turkish salad, greek salad, shepherd’s salad, israeli salad, and so on. We won’t get embroiled in any international disputes here today, so I’m going just to call it my mediterranean salad.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 medium-sized onions (red, spanish or white)
  • 1 english cucumber
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • feta cheese crumbled or grated (recommended)
  • almonds slivered (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon mint (optional)

Instructions

Some people will claim that the order in which you take the following steps is arbitrary. Those people don’t understand the difference between a mediterranean salad that tastes good and one that tastes great. In other words, make sure to follow these steps in order. You’ve officially been warned.

  1. Dice the tomatoes, place them in large bowl and add the salt. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the other stuff. The resting time is important. It allows the salt and tomatoes to develop a beautiful friendship, so that the tomato opens up to reveal its full flavor.
  2. Make the vinaigrette by mixing the lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper. Make sure to mix them together well. I usually put them into a small spill-proof plastic container and shake them up like a maraca.
  3. Dice the onions and place them in a medium sized bowl. Add the vinaigrette to the bowl with the onions. Let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Again the timing is important. When the onions gets cozy with the vinaigrette it sweetens up a little bit.
  4. Next peel and dice the cucumbers and place them in their own medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  5. Remove the parsley leaves from the stems and place them into a tea cup – if you are planning on using mint, add it here as well. Once you’ve filled the tea cup with herbs use a pair of scissors to mince them.
  6. Add the onions to the large bowl with the tomatoes. Mix them up a bit and then let them sit for about 5 minutes.
    1. Note: Usually, you can do this while you are dealing with the parsley since preparing the cucumber and parsley takes about 10 minutes – unless you have some mad food prep skills.  
  7. Add the cucumbers and parsley to the large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix all the ingredients together.
  8. Optionally add feta cheese and slivered almonds. I recommend that you add both because they taste great, especially the cheese.
    1. Note: If you are making the salad for yourself and you expect to have leftovers, only add these ingredients after serving because they don’t keep as well as the other ingredients.

Here are some concluding thoughts. The order really matters, the relative amount of each ingredient depends on your taste. I love this salad with a lot of onions and parsley, some of my friends have bad taste and they prefer it with almost no onions and more cucumber. You get the gist, experiment so that you can find the best combination for you.

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One Response to “Mediterranean Salad”

  1. George Ivanov says:

    I’m Bulgarian and we have salad very similar to what you describe (I also do not want to dispute where it all came from, just mentioning here for your knowledge). So the Bulgarian name of this salad is called “Shopska Salad”. I do like the attention to detail to your recipe, especially how you wait for the veggies to stay with the seasoning. I’ll try yours soon. Thanks for sharing!

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