Here’s a simple Greek Salad for two simple reasons. The first reason is I’m trying to present meals that are more vegetable-centric. What, in our new vernacular, is referred to as plant-based eating. This vegetable heavy menu isn’t quite the same as vegan or even vegetarian. It just means that meat doesn’t take center of the plate importance at every meal. It’s what some would call “semi-vegetarian” or more traditionally “flexitarian” because it involves following a generally vegetarian diet that includes cheese, meat and fish sparingly. I call it plant-positive eating.
There’s another term for this this style of eating and it’s not new. It’s called the Mediterranean Diet and it’s simply the traditional way people in Greece and other countries of the region have eaten for centuries. Though not on the advice of health experts or environmental scientists – but by necessity. Meat was scarce and home cooks made necessity the mother of deliciousness.
Which brings me to the second reason for this simple Greek Salad.
I’ve been doing a bit of research into the traditional Mediterranean diet myself. Though not on the advice of health experts or environmental scientists. But because, as I promised at the beginning of this pandemic, Ken and I plan to spend three months (April, May, and June of 2022) in the Cyclades on the Greek Island of Sifnos. It seems the perfect place for plant-positive eating and this is one excited flexitarian!
Simple Greek Salad
One thing my research as shown me is that Mediterranean cooks seem united in their affection for raw vegetables. They appear at almost every meal either thickly sliced as an accompaniment to the meal or assembled into a salad and served on its own.
It’s that salad I want to talk about today. If there’s one dish that conjures up the image of a Greek island for me it’s the simple Greek Salad. The pairing of sweet tomatoes and tangy sheep’s milk cheese is a flavor combination so perfect that Zeus himself probably invented it.
I plan to make this salad my Greek island staple. I can see myself in a white-washed Cycladic house overlooking the sea. I’ll be barefoot and there will still be sand between my toes. With wet hair and salt water on my lips I’ll toss together sweet juicy chunks of tomatoes, large slices of ice cold cucumbers, and a thick slab of feta cheese the size of my palm. I say slab because I’ve learned not to crumble the cheese but to serve it as simply as they do in Greece – in one large slice. It sounds like the perfect recipe for my Greek life. GREG