Greek Salad is Trending

At a time when consumers are reconsidering options and choosing healthier foods, the Greek salad is enjoying a moment as an accessible and delicious dish high in nutritional value.
By Costas Vasilopoulos
Sep. 9, 2020 12:47 UTC

A sta­ple of the coun­try’s cui­sine, the Greek salad is a pop­u­lar dish among natives and tourists alike. It is always present on the din­ner table, accom­pa­ny­ing almost all meals or stand­ing alone as a main dish.

Made up of sim­ple ingre­di­ents, includ­ing tomato, cucum­ber, onion, olives, a pinch of salt and dried oregano, topped with a slice of feta cheese and dressed with a gen­er­ous amount of olive oil, the col­or­ful salad — or Horiatiki, as the Greeks call it — is food for the eye and a top selec­tion for healthy eat­ing, even more so now in the Covid-19 era.

The bou­quet of the col­ors of the Greek salad reflects the vari­ety of vit­a­mins and min­er­als the dish boasts, which shield our bod­ies against pathogens.- Melina Karipidou, research fel­low, Harokopio University of Athens

The Greek salad ranks high on social media with a strong pres­ence on Instagram and Facebook,” food pho­tog­ra­pher Nikos Paschalis said. One of the first things a new­comer to Greece will do is taste the salad and take a photo of it to depict the feast of col­ors in one dish. Foreigners find it dif­fi­cult to describe how it tastes and even the most selec­tive among them suc­cumb to its fla­vor and nutri­tional value.”

Amid the pan­demic, which has made con­sumers recon­sider their options and opt for health­ier food, the Greek salad is trend­ing as a dish of choice for a tasty meal high in nutri­tional value.

The Greek salad is the queen of the sum­mer, even more so this year now that peo­ple have turned to veg­eta­bles and healthy eat­ing to strengthen their immune sys­tems,” Kiki Emmanouilidou, a mem­ber of the asso­ci­a­tion of top chefs of north­ern Greece, said.

She added that the salad is easy to pre­pare and con­tains fla­vor, aro­mas, col­ors, vit­a­mins, antiox­i­dants and fibers and is low in calo­ries.

Melina Karipidou, a clin­i­cal dieti­cian and nutri­tion­ist and a research fel­low at Harokopio University of Athens, said that the salad con­sists of veg­eta­bles of dif­fer­ent col­ors that act as indi­ca­tors of the nutri­ents and antiox­i­dants the dish has to offer.

The bou­quet of the col­ors of the Greek salad reflects the vari­ety of vit­a­mins and min­er­als the dish boasts, which shield our bod­ies against pathogens,” Karipidou told Olive Oil Times.

Vegetables are rich in dif­fer­ent nutri­ents accord­ing to their color and color inten­sity, so the more veg­eta­bles of dif­fer­ent col­ors we con­sume the more nutri­ents we get to for­tify our bod­ies,” she added.

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The Greek salad con­tains the red tomato, rich in lycopene, potas­sium, and vit­a­min C; the green cucum­ber with flavonoids, carotenoids, folic acid and vit­a­mins B and K; and the onion, which belongs in the white/brown fam­ily of veg­eta­bles, is a good source of vit­a­min C and phe­no­lic com­pounds. Most of these ingre­di­ents also demon­strate impor­tant antiox­i­dant and anti-can­cer qual­i­ties.”

The undis­puted star among the veg­gies of the salad is the tomato, botan­i­cally clas­si­fied as a fruit. However, an 1893 rul­ing by the United States Supreme Court clas­si­fied toma­toes as veg­eta­bles since they are mostly cooked or used in a salad.

Tomatoes are an excel­lent source of lycopene, a dietary antiox­i­dant with anti-can­cer and heart-pro­tec­tive prop­er­ties,” Karipidou said. It also acts against inflam­ma­tory dis­eases and lung, neu­ro­log­i­cal and bone ail­ments. It is impor­tant to remem­ber that lycopene is not dimin­ished when cook­ing or pro­cess­ing the toma­toes. On the con­trary, it becomes more avail­able.”


The qual­i­ties of the olive oil, the olives and the feta cheese, are the per­fect com­ple­ment to the nutri­tional value of the veg­gies, Karipidou fur­ther explained.

See Also:The Best Greek Olive Oils

The white color of the feta cheese, the black of the olives and the yel­low-green of the olive oil com­plete the mag­i­cal pic­ture of the salad both visu­ally and nutri­tion­ally,” she said. Feta cheese is rich in pro­teins, cal­cium and phos­pho­rus impor­tant to the bones and mus­cles. And what else is left to say about the olives and the olive oil with the polyphe­nols, antiox­i­dants, vit­a­mins, and monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids they con­tain.”

The olive oil is what bonds every­thing together in the salad, offer­ing count­less oft-repeated ben­e­fits apart from its fla­vor and the chance to dip some bread in it.

Olive oil is a key to longevity and pro­tects against car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases like hyper­ten­sion and heart attacks, cer­tain types of can­cer and type 2 dia­betes mel­li­tus,” Karipidou said. Recent clin­i­cal research has also found a cor­re­la­tion between con­sump­tion of extra vir­gin olive oil and reduced appear­ance of demen­tia.”

Also, a research review pub­lished in the Revue Neurologique jour­nal in 2019 found that extra vir­gin olive oil pro­tects the mem­ory, increases the learn­ing abil­ity and acts against Alzheimer’s dis­ease,” she added.

The Greek salad is a nutri­tious mix of tomato, cucum­ber, feta cheese, olives and, of course, olive oil. If if you skip the salt and use only the oregano as a condi­ment you get a super healthy dish with only 360 calo­ries for an aver­age por­tion,” Karipidou con­cluded. What else can we ask for?”


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