Kalyn's Kitchen

American Greek Salad (with Lettuce)

This American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) is the salad I make every year, all summer long, and American Greek Salad is something I’d never get tired of eating! 

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American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) close-up photo

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.

My Thoughts about Feta Cheese:

Personally I have a strong preference for sheep’s milk Feta in a salad like this, although I never met a Feta cheese I didn’t like. To me, the sheep’s 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 (affiliate link) which vacuum packs food in plastic bags, it’s perfect for sealing those big blocks of Feta from Costco, and sealed packs of Feta is something I always have in my fridge.

American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) process shots collage

How to Make American Greek Salad (with Lettuce):

(Scroll down for complete recipe including nutritional information.)

  1. Cut up the Romaine lettuce and if it’s even the slightest bit limp let it crisp in a salad spinner with ice cold water for a few minutes.
  2. While the lettuce soaks, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  3. Cut up cucumbers, and cut cherry tomatoes in half.
  4. You’ll also want crumbled Feta cheese (although it’s usually served in a block on top of the salad in Greece).
  5. And prepare Kalamata olives cut in half, as well as thin slivers of green bell pepper and some sliced green onion if you’re using them.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.)
  8. Season salad to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper and enjoy! 

American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) square thumbnail photo

Make it a Meal:

I served this recently with Low-Carb Steak and Mushroom Kabobs and it would be a good side dish for any of my Low-Carb Grilling Recipes.

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)

American Greek Salad (with Lettuce)

Yield 4 salads
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

American Greek Salad (with Lettuce) is my signature salad to take to family parties, and this is a recipe I've enjoyed for many years!

Ingredients

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (see notes)
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. capers, chopped chopped (see notes)
  • 1 tsp. caper brine from the jar
  • 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 (optional)
  • 2 T thinly sliced green onion (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives or black olives, cut in half if desired
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese (or more; see below for more about Feta)

Instructions

  1. If the lettuce is at all limp, chop lettuce and put into the salad spinner (affiliate link) 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cut up cucumbers and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Crumble the Feta, slice olives in half, and thinly green pepper and slice green onions if using peppers and green onions.
  5. 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.
  6. In large salad bowl toss together lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and green onions with desired amount of dressing.
  7. Add crumbled Feta cheese and olives and gently toss again.
  8. I like to save out some Feta, cucumbers, and tomatoes to garnish the top of the salad.
  9. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and enjoy.

Notes

I like Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (affiliate link); choose dressing with not more than 2 grams of sugar per serving for low-carb diets or original South Beach Diet. Use more capers if you're a capers fan like I am!

Recipe created by Kalyn many years ago, and this is a salad that I've made hundreds of times!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 121Total Fat: 9.5gSaturated Fat: 3.6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5.5gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 283mgCarbohydrates: 6.6gFiber: 2.2gSugar: 3.2gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

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 original South Beach Diet, although South Beach would recommend going a bit easy on the Feta. To make this recipe Keto, use less tomatoes and more Feta.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Salads to find more recipes like this one. Use the Recipes by Diet Type 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.

Pinterest image of American Greek Salad

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    32 Comments on “American Greek Salad (with Lettuce)”

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

  2. 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…

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

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

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

  10. I love American Greek salads! 😉

    Paz

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.”

  14. 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

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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!!

  19. 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..

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

    -Crystal