Aegean Salad Recipe: Authentic Greek Vegetarian Dish

Aegean Salad

Aegean Salad Recipe: Authentic Greek Vegetarian Dish
Region / culture: Greece | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Aegean Salad
Aegean Salad

The Aegean Salad is a refreshing and nutritious dish that embodies the essence of Mediterranean cuisine. With its combination of fresh vegetables, wholesome grains, and tangy feta cheese, this salad is not only a feast for the eyes but also a delight for the palate. The vibrant flavors of dill, lime, and olive oil in the dressing bring the salad to life, making it a perfect choice for a healthy lunch or a light dinner. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a cooking novice, this recipe is straightforward and easy to follow, ensuring a delicious outcome every time.


The Aegean Salad draws inspiration from the traditional diets of the Aegean islands, where fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are a staple. The use of grains, such as brown rice, along with an abundance of fresh vegetables and herbs, reflects the eating habits of the region, known for its health benefits and longevity of its inhabitants. The addition of feta cheese adds a touch of Greek flavor, making the salad a modern interpretation of age-old Mediterranean culinary practices.



How to prepare

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the salad.
  3. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and mix well.
  4. The vinaigrette can be added ahead of time before serving.


  • For a gluten-free version, ensure that the feta cheese used is gluten-free. To make the salad vegan, substitute the feta cheese with a vegan cheese alternative or simply omit it. For a heartier salad, add grilled vegetables or chickpeas.
  • For a twist on the traditional recipe, try substituting quinoa or farro for the brown rice for a different texture and flavor. Adding avocado or olives can also enhance the salad's richness and provide additional healthy fats.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best flavor and texture, use freshly squeezed lime juice for the vinaigrette. When cooking the brown rice, let it cool completely before adding it to the salad to prevent it from becoming mushy. For an extra crunch, consider adding chopped nuts such as almonds or walnuts. If you prefer a more robust herb flavor, feel free to adjust the amount of dill weed to suit your taste.

Serving Suggestions

The Aegean Salad can be served as a standalone meal or as a side dish. For a more filling meal, consider adding grilled chicken or fish on top. It's also perfect for picnics or potlucks, as it can be made ahead of time and is easily transportable.

Cooking Techniques

The key to a great Aegean Salad is in the preparation of the ingredients. Ensure that the vegetables are chopped uniformly for a pleasant texture. When mixing the vinaigrette, whisk the olive oil and lime juice vigorously to create an emulsion, which will coat the salad ingredients more evenly.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you're not a fan of feta cheese, goat cheese makes a great alternative with a similar texture but a milder flavor. For a dairy-free version, omit the cheese or use a dairy-free cheese substitute. Lemon juice can be used in place of lime juice for a different citrus note.

Make Ahead Tips

The Aegean Salad can be prepared up to a day in advance. Store the salad and vinaigrette separately in the refrigerator and combine them just before serving to keep the salad fresh and prevent it from becoming soggy.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the Aegean Salad in a large, shallow bowl to showcase the colorful ingredients. Garnish with additional dill weed or parsley sprigs for a touch of elegance. A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper just before serving can enhance the flavors and presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

This salad pairs beautifully with white wines, such as a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a light Pinot Grigio, which complement the fresh flavors of the salad. For a non-alcoholic option, a sparkling water with a squeeze of lime is refreshing and complements the dish well.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

The Aegean Salad is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. It's not recommended to freeze this salad, as the texture of the vegetables will be adversely affected. This salad does not require reheating.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Aegean Salad contains approximately 200-250 calories, making it a light yet satisfying option. The exact calorie count can vary depending on the specific amounts and types of ingredients used.


A serving of Aegean Salad provides a healthy dose of carbohydrates, primarily from the brown rice, which is a whole grain. Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber, which aids in digestion and helps maintain steady blood sugar levels. The vegetables in the salad also contribute a small amount of carbohydrates, along with dietary fiber.


The healthy fats in this salad come mainly from the olive oil used in the vinaigrette and the feta cheese. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are known to support heart health. Feta cheese, while it does contain saturated fat, is used in moderation, contributing to the salad's overall flavor without significantly increasing the fat content.


Feta cheese is the primary source of protein in the Aegean Salad. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body, and cheese is a good source of high-quality protein. The brown rice also contributes a small amount of protein, making this salad a well-rounded option for a meal.

Vitamins and minerals

This salad is packed with vitamins and minerals, thanks to the variety of vegetables and herbs used. Cucumbers and parsley are excellent sources of vitamin K, essential for blood clotting and bone health. The scallions provide vitamin C, which supports the immune system, while the lime juice adds a boost of vitamin C as well. The brown rice offers magnesium, which is crucial for muscle and nerve function.


The primary allergen present in this salad is dairy, due to the feta cheese. Individuals with a dairy allergy or intolerance should avoid this ingredient or substitute it with a dairy-free alternative. The salad is gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.


Overall, the Aegean Salad is a nutritious and balanced dish, providing a good mix of carbohydrates, healthy fats, proteins, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. It's a heart-healthy option that aligns with Mediterranean dietary guidelines, known for their health benefits.


The Aegean Salad is a testament to the flavors and nutritional benefits of Mediterranean cuisine. With its simple preparation, wholesome ingredients, and versatile serving options, it's a dish that can be enjoyed in a variety of settings. Whether you're looking for a light lunch, a healthy side dish, or a flavorful addition to your dinner table, the Aegean Salad is sure to satisfy.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the sense of wonder I felt when I first saw this recipe for Aegean Salad. It was many years ago, during a trip to the beautiful Greek islands. The sun was shining, the sea was a brilliant shade of blue, and the air was filled with the scent of fresh herbs and olives. I had always been a lover of Mediterranean cuisine, so I was eager to learn as much as I could about the local dishes.

One day, as I was exploring a quaint little village on the island of Crete, I stumbled upon a small, family-owned taverna. The aroma of grilled fish and roasted vegetables wafted out of the open windows, beckoning me inside. I found a table in the shade of a grapevine-covered pergola and ordered a glass of crisp white wine.

As I perused the menu, my eyes fell upon a dish called Aegean Salad. The description read: "Fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese, tossed in a lemon-oregano dressing." It sounded simple yet delicious, and I knew I had to try it.

When the salad arrived at my table, I was immediately struck by its vibrant colors and fresh, Mediterranean flavors. The crisp cucumbers and juicy tomatoes were perfectly complemented by the tangy feta cheese and briny olives. The dressing, with its bright citrus notes and fragrant herbs, tied everything together beautifully.

I asked the waitress about the recipe for the salad, and she told me that it was a family secret, passed down through generations. I pleaded with her to share it with me, explaining my love for Mediterranean cuisine and my desire to learn as much as I could about the local dishes. After some hesitation, she finally agreed to write it down for me on a scrap of paper.

Over the years, I have made Aegean Salad countless times, tweaking the recipe here and there to suit my own tastes. I have shared it with friends and family, who have all fallen in love with its fresh, vibrant flavors. Each bite takes me back to that sunny afternoon in Crete, sitting under the grapevine-covered pergola, savoring the taste of the Mediterranean.

To make Aegean Salad, you will need:

- 1 English cucumber, diced

- 2 large tomatoes, diced

- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved

- 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

- 1 tsp dried oregano

- Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, olives, and feta cheese. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. May it transport you to the sunny shores of the Aegean Sea, where the flavors are as bright and vibrant as the Mediterranean sun. Bon appétit!


| Brown Rice Recipes | Cucumber Recipes | Dill Leaf Recipes | Feta Recipes | Greek Recipes | Greek Vegetarian | Green Onion Recipes | Lime Juice Recipes |

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