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American Greek Salad (with Lettuce)

Greek Salad with lettuce is strictly an American thing, but this is the salad I make every summer, all summer long, and American Greek Salad is low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, gluten-free, and South Beach Diet friendly! Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN American Greek Salad with Lettuce!

American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) found on KalynsKitchen.com

As soon as summer arrives, this American Greek Salad with Lettuce will be on the menu at my house for every single family party, and I’ll be making it quite often just for a quick lunch or dinner as well. Definitely this is one of my signature salads, and I never get tired of it! And summer is nearly here, and this recipe is getting some very badly needed new photos, which I hope will entice you to try it if you’ve never made this one.

I’ve been making and eating so-called Greek salads like this for years and years, but when I went to Greece in 1998, I discovered that what many American restaurants called Greek Salad didn’t really exist there! Greek Salad in Greece (often called village salad) has cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, Kalamata olives, green pepper, and Feta with a dressing made from olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice and seasoned with a little dried oregano. But no lettuce. NEVER lettuce!

I like my Greek salads both with and without the lettuce, but the version with lettuce is the one I make the most. I used to be somewhat unenthusiastic about the green bell pepper, but the last few years I’ve realized that thin slivers of green pepper and some sliced green onion add a lot of flavor to a salad like this. I’m also pretty insistent on the addition of some caper juice and capers in the dressing, and I actually like this salad with blue cheese dressing too, which is most definitely not Greek! You can add or subtract ingredients based on what you prefer, but don’t leave out the handful of lettuce if you’re going to call this American Greek Salad.

American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Cut up the Romaine and if it’s even the slightest bit limp let it crisp in a salad spinner with ice cold water for a few minutes. While the lettuce soaks, whisk together the dressing, cut up cucumbers, and cut cherry tomatoes in half.

American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) found on KalynsKitchen.com

You’ll also want crumbled Feta cheese (although it’s usually served in a block on top of the salad in Greece). And prepare Kalamata olives cut in half, thin slivers of green bell pepper, and some sliced green onion if you’re using them.

American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Spin the lettuce very dry, then toss together the lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers and green onions with enough dressing to moisten the salad to your preference. Add the crumbled Feta and olives and gently toss to combine. (I like to save some tomatoes, Feta, and olives to garnish the top of the salad.)

American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Season salad to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper and enjoy! (I took photos before I remembered to do that; bad blogger!) I served this recently with Low-Carb Steak and Mushroom Kabobs.

More Tasty Salads with Feta Cheese:
Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Lime, Mint, and Feta ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Joanne Weir’s Cucumber and Feta Salad ~ David Lebovitz
Green Bean, Tomato, and Feta Salad Oreganato ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Tabbouleh Salad with Freekah and Feta ~ Rachel Cooks
Mary’s Spring Mix Salad with Feta and Pine Nuts ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Greek Chicken Salad with Greek Tomato Dressing ~ Created by Diane

American Greek Salad (with Lettuce)
(Makes about 4 servings. Adjust the amounts of each ingredient for how many people you are serving and your own preferences.)

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup purchased vinaigrette dressing
(I like Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing; choose dressing with not more than 2 grams of sugar per serving for low-carb diets or South Beach Diet)
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T lemon juice
2 tsp. capers (chopped if you prefer; use more capers if you’re a capers fan like I am!)
1 tsp. caper juice
1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Salad Ingredients:
4 cups Romaine lettuce, broken or chopped into bite sized pieces, washed and dried
1 cup cucumbers, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup green pepper, cut into thin slivers
2 T thinly sliced green onion
1/4 cup Kalamata olives or black olives, cut in half if desired (I like pitted olives for this salad)
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese (or more; see below for more about Feta)

Instructions:
If the lettuce is at all limp, chop lettuce and put into the salad spinner with ice cold water and let it sit for about 5 minutes to crisp. This will make a HUGE difference in the quality of the salad.

While lettuce crisps, whisk together the purchased vinaigrette, olive oil, lemon juice, caper juice, capers, and dried oregano and let the dressing stand while you prep other ingredients.

Cut up cucumbers and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Crumble the Feta, slice olives in half, and thinly green pepper, and slice green onions.

When you’re ready to assemble the salad, spin the lettuce very dry in the salad spinner, or drain well and dry with paper towels. In large salad bowl toss together lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and green onions with desired amount of dressing. Add crumbled Feta cheese and olives and gently toss again. (I like to save out some Feta, cucumbers, and tomatoes to garnish the top of the salad.) Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and enjoy.

About Ingredients:
Personally I have a strong preference for sheeps milk Feta in a salad like this, although truthfully I never met a Feta cheese I didn’t like. To me, the sheeps milk Feta is creamier and a little milder. Whatever Feta you buy, try to avoid the pre-crumbled type; it simply does not last in the refrigerator. If you’re lucky enough to have a FoodSaver machine which vacuum packs food in plastic bags, it’s perfect for sealing those big blocks of feta, and sealed packs of Feta is something I always have in my fridge.

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American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This would be a great main dish salad for low-carb or low-glycemic diet plans, including the South Beach Diet, although South Beach would recommend going a bit easy on the Feta.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. Or Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

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American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) found on KalynsKitchen.com

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30 comments on “American Greek Salad (with Lettuce)”

  1. Blue cheese dressing, huh? Sounds good to me – I’ll use anything as an excuse to get more blue cheese in my mouth 🙂

    -Crystal

  2. Kalyn – I had lots and lots of amazingly tasty Greek salad during my trip last week – sans lettuce, of course (though Santorini salad has lettuce:) Your blue cheese dressings sounds delicious – I might try that soon..
    Also – I realised that in Greece feta cheese is usually laid on top as a block, and not crumbled onto the salad, although most cookbooks say so. Go figure..

  3. Oh, the front porch! I am green with envy! Our front deck is (a) completely saturated with rain and (b) prime staging ground for hordes of mosquitoes. I daren’t pray for a drought, but it’s my secret desire right now!!

  4. Crystal, I’m with you on the blue cheese!

    Pille, very interesting that the Santorini salad had lettuce. I didn’t get to go there. I got the name “American Greek Salad” from my favorite Mediterranean restaurant in Salt Lake.

    PatL, my house was built in 1912 and had one of those porches that go all the way across the front of the house. I love my porch, but it’s rotting away and needs to be replaced!

  5. To further confuse things, I ordered a “Greek” salad in a restaurant in Tampa FL, and what I got was a lettuce salad that had a scoop of potato salad in the middle, a piece of feta on top and some olives and pickled beets as well.

    Apparently this is a regional thing and hopefully it stays that way.

  6. This is nice… I really like it.
    Ciao.

  7. I live in Tampa and our Greek salads are the best in the country. No lie.

    Potato salad
    Lettuce
    black olives
    beets
    cucumbers
    tomatoes
    feta cheese
    greek dressing
    anchovies

    Amazingly good and, due to our rich greek heritage here, VERY authentic.
    Amy
    Tampa, FL

  8. Comments before this one were from 2006 when this recipe was first posted. You will see there is some lack of agreement about what truly constitutes “Greek Salad.”

  9. I will continue to consider this a classic! My experience with this salad: A friend whose family still lived in Greece served this at a teacher appreciation dinner! Go figure.

  10. Kalyn, I love how colorful and fresh this is. My kind of salad!

  11. I love American Greek salads! 😉

    Paz

  12. I always add sun dried tomatoes to my greek salad.. maybe not as authentic but its delicious!

  13. I see there are a lot of Greek Salad fans, whether or not you add lettuce! I do love the idea of sun-dried tomatoes in this!

  14. I love everything in your salad. I think I could eat this every day in summer when the veggies come out of the garden. I ate my first garden cucumber tonight–just sliced in rice vinegar and salt. Delicious. Even through a few cherry tomatoes in, too. I love summer.

  15. You are right that in most parts of Greece they make the salad the way you describe it. In Cyprus we make the Greek salad or Horiatiki as we call it (village salad) with lettuce, fresh coriander and all the other ingredients of the Greek salad.
    The addition of a blue cheese salad sounds good. I shall give it a try. I would add (this is my personal opinion) what makes a Greek salad is Greek olive oil, Greek oregano, kalamata olives, onion and the combination of certain vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, coriander, etc.

  16. I love it when the summer comes. Time to try new salads. This is an interesting variation. I loooove blue cheese too 🙂

  17. Maria, thanks. I’m obviously very happy about summer, and looking forward to the wedding. I’ll be there!

    jancd, lucky you. I love garden cucumbers!

    Ivy, thanks for clarifying. I hadn’t hard of coriander on Greek salad (but of course I’d love it.) I only got to go to Athens, but I want to go back to Greece!

    bestcaesarsalad, it’s really good with the blue cheese.

  18. School’s out!!!! Yippee!!!
    Great salad!

  19. LOL – Americans and South Africans have more in common that we ever thought! The absolute standard salad on any South African restaurant menu is this exact “Greek” salad. I thought it was a worldwide thing, got to England and discovered it certainly isn’t! When I go home for holidays I always gorge on this salad, and grilled haloumi salad (another South African favourite that doesn’t really feature here in the UK).

    And can I just say how jealous I am of your summer vacation?? It’s the thing I miss most about being a lecturer…

  20. Katie and Jeanne, I have to admit that having the summer off is a pretty great employee benefit!

  21. That's the most favorite salad!!! I like Greek salad!!!

  22. I remember enjoying a really good American Greek Salad with you at a restaurant near your house. This version looks even better.

  23. I could eat this salad every day!

  24. Lesly, thanks. I love it too.

    Dara, I always love the salads at that place. Fun memory!

    Maria, me too! I cut up the onions, cucumbers, and peppers and keep them in the fridge; then I eat salad every day until they're gone!

  25. I love anything with Greek flavors – I think it's because I love that saltiness. This looks fantastic – and a perfect way to feel better after eating too much on Thanksgiving!

  26. Thanks Deborah. That was exactly my thoughts about it!

  27. I like to use yellow or orange bell pepper to add another pop of color to the salad! I like mine with or without lettuce. Sometimes I'll make up the more traditional Greek salad and let it marinate for a while, and then just spoon it over a bowl of lettuce and mix it up, so you get the marinated flavor of everything and the fresh crunch of the lettuce.

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