I love Greek salad. When I was pregnant with my first son, I craved it daily – fresh and crunchy red pepper, red onion, cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, and kalamata olives, with a drizzling of lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano. Now, not a week goes by that I don’t put together some sort of Greek-y salad. In fact, my husband gave me a mandolin for Mother’s Day because I make this salad so often, and my typical recipe requires a lot of chopping. I was delighted to find TWO Greek salad recipes in our quick’n’healthy cookbook Another Taste of Aloha, and today I tried the Aegean Spinach Salad on page 52, in the Salads and Dressings section. (Don’t worry – I’m sure I’ll make the other one soon).
This salad is so easy (you only chop the onion and mint!) and it has such a lovely, soft, warm texture and flavor. I will definitely be making this a regular in my Greek salad rotation (a nice change from the typical cold-and-crunchy version I fall back on). The heated olive oil softens the spinach and brings the onion, mint, olive, and feta together so nicely in mere seconds – not to mention the crunchy roasted garlic sourdough croutons I made just by toasting up a few slices (no need to get fancy). Delish!
Bonus (and the reason I tried this one first): it’s a play on the traditional spinach salad, which I have never made, but I’ve seen it often enough on cooking shows (and derided as “simple and old-fashioned” on fancy cooking shows) to know that it’s something that should be in my repertoire. I was right! Heating the oil almost to smoking and pouring it over the salad is a simple cooking technique. We saw it earlier this month in the Poached Trout recipe done Asian-style with peanut oil, and there’s a reason many cultures have used it – it’s easy and tasty.
The traditional spinach salad goes Greek.
Aegean Spinach Salad
- 1 pound fresh spinach, washed, trimmed and torn in bite-size pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
- 8-12 Kalamata olives
- 1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups croutons
- freshly ground pepper to taste
Put spinach in a large bowl. Add garlic, mint, olives, onion, vinegar and cheese. Heat olive oil almost to smoking. Pour over salad. Add croutons and toss quickly. Taste and season with pepper or more vinegar, if necessary. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 – 6.
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