My Favorite Greek Salad with Homemade Whole Wheat Pita.
I’m totally cheating.
Like super cheating. I’m only telling you about FIVE ingredients today – five ingredients in my favorite salad. A salad that can be lettuceless too, which is even better.
At least, five star ingredients. Buying it?
Boom. One two three four five.
Okay, maybe a few extra ingredients. There is a dressing. My crazy favorite salad dressing, slightly adapted from one in my cookbook and while it pairs fantastically with this greek salad, it works on all salads. All salads! Make a big batch and keep it in your fridge.
And then, pita. Whole wheat pita to be exact. We will chat about it soon. In just a few scrolls.
Just a few scrolls? Oh 2015. Get with it. I desperately need to, considering the song that has been playing in my head over and over is “pretty fly for a white guy.” What.
This dressing is my dream. I usually go for a simple olive oil and vinegar on my salad with lots of salt and pepper. If I have time, some sort of homemade vinaigrette. So this is me having time, and it’s awesome because you can make it ahead of time. It has extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, but it also has honey, lemon juice, crushed garlic, dried oregano and dried dill weed. The oregano and the dill MAKE this. It sounds easy and it is. And these flavors mesh and create wonders.
I swear. I swear on my teddy bear.
Once I whip up the dressing, I pour it over my oh-so important five ingredients.
Thinly sliced shallots.
A leeeettle bit of feta.
And it goes like this. Marinate it. Marinate it for 30 minutes. Marinate it for eight hours. The longer, the better. But obviously not like, weeks long, since it’s veg and stuff.
This is why I do what I do:
Tomatoes? Go for the rich little cherry or grape ones. Halve or quarter them. Cucumbers? Buy a big seedless one, peel it even if you don’t mind the peel. Cut it into cubes. Toss in your olives. My most important rule? The SHALLOTS. I prefer thinly sliced shallots over traditional red onion in slices or chunks. Shallots are slightly sweeter and don’t accost your tastebuds in the same way. The flavor is somewhat milder and since the onion portion will be raw, I say shallots win.
And the biggest player… the cheese. No kidding. I like to take half of the feta that I’m planning on using for the salad when serving and crumble it in. Let it marinate. Have you ever had marinated feta? Tastes like unicorn tears.
When you want to eat your salad, go for it in it’s pure marinated form or toss it with some butter lettuce. If you really want to get freaky, add in a few marinated artichoke hearts. The beauty of this is that you can use the ingredients that YOU like. For instance, I tend to go a bit lighter on the cucumber because Eddie isn’t a fan. I go heavier on the olives because I could survive on tart and briney things for the rest of my life.
I go doubly heavy on the feta, because…
If you let your salad marinate, you should definitely try making your own pita in the downtime.
Why haven’t I been making my own pita forever? I’m annoyed. I’m annoyed that I haven’t and that I’ve wasted good money that could be spent on shoes on grocery store bagged pita instead. 2015 is all about life lessons.
I made a whole wheat version based on this recipe from the kitchn and OH MY GOSH was it ever soft and fluffy. In addition to this salad I would like to suggest 13 pounds of hummus for pita dipping purposes.
These are easy. Yes, you make a yeasted dough. My go-to doughs are almost always foolproof as long as I use lukewarm water and honey, and add the salt with the flour. TRY IT! Once this rises, you cut it into equal pieces (again, do your thang. do you want mini pitas? a pita the size of your face?) and roll it out until it’s super duper thin. Like REALLY thin. Throw it on a hot cast iron skillet for three-ish minutes, flipping once, and you’re done. You have pita in your kitchen!
It’s fabulous for soaking up the extra dressing. Trust me.
It’s fabulous for sandwiches and peanut butter and bananas and even a bacon horseradish dip in your mom’s fridge. It’s all that and a bag of chips. Except it’s pita. You can do it!
Let’s salad up this Monday.
My Favorite Greek Salad with Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, some sliced if desired
8 ounces feta
whole wheat pita
1 cup warm water
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for your workspace/kneading
1/2 teaspoon salt
canola oil for brushing
In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, garlic, dill, oregano, salt and pepper. Continue to whisk while streaming in the olive oil. This dressing stays great in the fridge in a sealed container for a week or so, so feel free to make a double batch if desired!
In a large bowl, combine the shallots, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and half of the feta. Pour the dressing over top and let the mixture marinate anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. It's SO delicious the longer it sits!
You can east the salad like this (which I do often) or toss it with some butter lettuce or romaine for a bulkier "real" salad. When you're serving the marinated salad, top with the remaining feta. Another option you can throw in is marinated artichoke hearts.
whole wheat pita
Combine the water, yeast and honey in a bowl, stirring once to mix. Let it sit until foamy, about 10 minutes, then stir in the flour and salt. Stir until the dough comes together then use your hands to further bring it together - if it is super sticky, add a bit more flour (I usually add extra all-purpose when needed). Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it with your hands for above 5 minutes. I have kneaded it for a shorter amount of time and it's been fine. Rub oil along the inside of a bowl and place the dough inside, then cover it and set it in a warm place so it can rise. Let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Place the dough back on the floured surface and knead a few times. If it's still sticky, add a few sprinkles of flour with your hands and knead until it's silky smooth. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out as thinly as you can - we are talking super THIN.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with a bit of canola (or another higher heat) oil. Place the thin dough round on the skillet and cook for 30 seconds, just until it starts to bubble. Flip it over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, it should get puffy and have a few golden spots. Flip over and cook for another minute. Set aside and repeat.
[pita slightly adapted from the kitchn]
This is totally a salad that deserves a face dive.