If you’ve ever traveled abroad, then you agree that food tastes fresher and smells more aromatic than here in the United States. It’s proven (at least from my experience) that produce in another country is more vibrant to eye and flavorful to the soul. Food is such a fun and important part of a country’s culture and it’s my preferred way to dive into the unique personality that my destination has to offer.
When we were in Greece, Greek Salad became a highlight of each day for me. It is my all-time favorite dish that was served to us over and over again, and I love all the different variations of the salad that we tried. Some with blocks or mixed chunks of feta, some with honey, some with mint, whatever your heart desires!
The start of a dreamy day
For the first leg of our trip, we explored the island of Crete. Crete is the largest island in Greece, and it was the most treasured part of Drew and I’s trip. Crete has a very down-home type of feel and a great deal less touristy than the more famous islands of Santorini and Mykonos. Drew is a huge foodie, which has definitely rubbed off on me. He does a ton of research leading up to our travels about which dishes are staples, must trys, and adventurous picks loved by the locals.
During our stay in Crete, we booked a private boat excursion with Dream Destinations. It was one of the most magical activities we’ve ever done on a vacation (better yet in our entire life!). We embarked on a skiff and the Captain immediately found the way to our hearts with heavenly hor d’oeuvres: cinnamon apple turnovers baked by Captain Yorgis himself. Drew and I knew we were in for a treat once we tasted the warm, little pockets of cinnamon-y apple goodness!
When dreams come true…
We made our way over to our private beach destination for the day. The excursion plan included relaxation, snorkeling, drinking lots of wine and homemade Raki, and eating plenty of authentic Greek cuisine, which sounds like a true dream of a day if you ask me!
Throughout the afternoon, we ate so many Greek specialties that I seriously don’t know where I was able to stuff it all. Our little beach getaway was decked out with tables, chairs, a brick stone oven, a cooking station, and even the appearance of wild goats!
Out of all of the homemade dishes we tried, Drew and I agreed that our most favorite was what Captain Yorgis called “dream salad.” This was his take on Greek salad and his descriptive title for his version was nothing short of a dream. I literally dream about this day and salad all the time. Luckily, replicating the Captain’s specialty is something relatively simple to do and a real time way for us to reminisce about that beautiful beach getaway we had in Crete.
Our adaptation of Dream Salad:
With items Drew and I have access to here in the United States, we made our own little copycat version of Captain Yorgis dream salad. If you crave a refreshing, light, and flavorful dish, then you have to give this a try! It’s the perfect addition to a steak dinner or have it as an entrée with your favorite protein! It’s also strong enough to have as a meal on its own!
Dream Salad recipe:
2 1/2 cups chopped red and green peppers (We like to use 2 red and 2 green)
1 1/2 cup of chopped cucumbers
2 cups diced whole tomatoes
1 cup diced red onion
2 tbsp white vinegar
2.5 tbsp of honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp McCormick All Purpose Seasoning – Basil, Oregano, Garlic and Sea Salt blend
Cracked pepper to taste (I use about 1 tbsp)
4 oz reduced fat feta
Half a baguette sliced into bite size chunks (the harder and/or stale, the better!)
*For an authentic Greek salad, use 1 cup of kalamata olives. We have not been using olives because Drew is not a big fan of them.
- Rinse and dry all produce and chop peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion.
- Place all chopped veggies in a large bowl and add white vinegar, honey, olive oil, and seasonings.
- With a wooden spoon, mix the contents of the bowl, seasoning, and liquids to coat all of the veggies.
- Add feta and mix until salad becomes creamy.
- Top salad with pieces of baguette and stir well to fully mix in.
- Add cracked pepper to taste and top with kalamata olives.
- Optional: add in fresh chopped mint or basil for a more refreshing taste.
When we were in Greece, we stocked up on local oregano and it gives the best punch to the Greek salad flavor. For convenience, the McCormick seasoning mentioned above does a great job mimicking the flavors of Greece.
Dream Salad is the perfect complement to any meal! Have it as a starter salad, a side dish, or make it the main event and top with grilled shrimp or chicken!
Now, it’s your turn!
Where have you eaten your most favorite version of this world-renowned dish? I would love to hear some of your favored experiences with Greek salad and new ways to make it! Meanwhile, you can catch me at home in my own little Greek dream world with my dream salad!