My mom and I went to Greece when I was 15 years old. One of the things that I remember most about that trip was all of the fresh, delicious food!! We loved stopping at little cafe’s and patio restaurants. On that trip my mother and I dined at some pretty amazing restaurants (one with a stunning view of the Acropolis) but the place I remember most was a little hole in the wall that we stumbled upon on a quiet side street in Athens. No one there spoke English so we just said “Coca Cola”, pointed, nodded, and gestured with our hands, not really knowing what we were going to end up with. The meal was, of course, the most delicious of the trip and one my mother and I still talk about today! When travelling, I always find that it’s the hole in the walls that serve the best food!
The wonderful thing about Greek restaurants is that they always serve a simple yet amazing salad before the meal. It’s so refreshing and perfect.
- juice of 2-3 lemons
- generous drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse sea salt and ground pepper
- 3 pints grape tomatoes, halved (I used red & yellow)
- 3 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 1 small red onion, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 1 can canelloni beans
- 1 Tbs dried oregano
Cut red onion into thin strips and place in a large bowl, add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Let sit while you cut the other vegetables. Allowing the onion, lemon, and salt & pepper to sit will marinate the onions and give them great flavor!
You can serve immediately or let sit for a few hours to allow the flavors to combine. This will make 4 meal-sized servings.
This salad will keep well in the fridge so you can take extras to work for lunch or make ahead of time for a party. The traditional Greek salad does not call for canelloni beans but I added them as a source of protein so that this dish would be filling enough to have as a complete meal. There are several variations to this recipe so feel free to add orange and/or yellow bell peppers, fresh corn, 3 ounces crumbled feta, serve over butter leaf lettuce, or serve as a lovely side dish to a piece of grilled chicken or fish. Enjoy!!
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