In its homeland, a Greek salad is simply a tasty chunk of creamy feta cheese served over a bed of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers that have been slathered with red wine vinaigrette and been further enhanced with a hefty pinch of dried oregano and perhaps some olives.
This delightfully refreshing salad is a classic, and the Greeks have a word for it – horiatiki salata (ho ree ah tee kee). Horiatiki is popular worldwide because of its special tart, salty and slightly crunchy finish.
Here at home, people change it up a little. A nice addition is garbanzo beans and adding macaroni adds a nice texture. You could make a meal of it, but I like to adhere to tradition and not add too many things. My personal favourite Greek pasta salad is listed below.
If you are going on a picnic, visiting people for a weekend get-together, or having a backyard barbecue, Greek pasta salad is a convenient and flavoursome dish you can assemble quickly and bring to the gathering. It is a lovely summertime hot-weather dish. Just remember to leave it in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours to marry the contents well. Then, bring a taste of the
Mediterranean to the party.
Greek Pasta Salad (horiatiki salata)
½ cup walnut pieces
½ pound of cooked rotini. Keep in cold water until ready to use or rub with oil
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, sliced in half lengthwise, and sliced into half moons
2 slices of a small sweet or red onion, cut in half and separated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup black olives, stones removed
1 teaspoon capers
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
In a dry skillet, over medium flame, toast the walnuts for one or two minutes, being careful not to burn. When lightly toasted, set aside to cool.
Stir the vegetables, walnuts, feta, herbs and drained rotini in a large bowl.
Mix the oil and vinegar with salt and pepper.
Pour over the vegetable contents, stir to distribute thoroughly, and then chill, covered, for at least two hours.