Greek Salad with a Red Wine Vinaigrette

I love Greek Salads ever since I had my first one at Panera Bread. I liked the freshness of the vegetables, the crispness of the romaine and the tangy Kalamata olives and pepperoncini. But this is not the way Greeks make their salad according to Michael Psilakis in his cookbook “Live To Eat: Cooking the Mediterranean Way”.

Traditional Greek Salads do not add romaine lettuce or pepperoncini.  The author can understand the desire to add romaine as it does provide a nice “crunch” to a salad. This vinaigrette surpasses the other vinaigrettes I tried (including Panera Bread) which I will post later. I made four vinaigrettes; Ina Garten, California Pizza Kitchen, Panera Bread and Michaels’ was the best by far!

The fresh herbs (mint, dill and parsley) I forgot to add to Michael’s Greek salad above!

I served the salads with dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and mini pita bread. Dolmades can be found fresh at Whole Foods in their deli section, in tins at Trader Joes or better yet make your own. I hope to make my own dolmades and pita bread – some time in the future!

What sets Michael’s recipe apart from all others is the red wine vinaigrette made with garlic puree (see recipe) and Dijon mustard. These two ingredients give the vinaigrette great flavor and wonderful body. Michael thinks of “it as a condiment that can give almost any dish an unmistakable spark. Its bright acidity breathes life into a roasted piece of steak, fish or chicken. You can also add a wonderful layer of flavor to a dish with a final drizzle”. He provides 13 recipes where he uses this delicious vinaigrette…

Greek Salad with a Red Wine Vinaigrette

Red Wine Vinaigrette: 

  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. shallot, finely diced
  • 2-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2-1/2 tsp. Garlic Puree (I highly recommend homemade but you can buy this at the store)
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper, ground
  • 1-1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients except the two oils in a blender and puree until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the canola and olive oils until the vinaigrette is thoroughly incorporated. Store in a large container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate. It keeps for weeks…

On its own the vinaigrette is acidic and mellows when it is used to dress vegetables or as a dressing for a salad; add a little extra virgin olive oil before serving. If it is too mellow add a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice.

Makes 3 cups


Combine tomatoes, red onion slices, Kalamata olives pitted, yellow pepper slices, English cucumber peeled and sliced, fresh herbs (parsley, mint and dill), feta cheese cut into cubes, and salt and pepper to taste. Maybe add some dried oregano and a few tsp. of extra virgin olive oil to finish.


Place a layer of romaine on a salad plate and add cherry tomatoes cut in half, red onion slices, English cucumber peeled (if desired) and sliced pepperoncini, cubed feta cheese, sliced sweet peppers, fresh herbs (parsley, mint and dill) and extra virgin olive oil for drizzling. The modern version can be any way you would like!…wine-vinaigrette/ 

Look at the star of this vinaigrette; fresh garlic and pureed garlic

Traditional Greek Salad (without romaine and pepperoncini): Yes, I remembered the fresh herbs…

Modern Greek Salad: I removed the olives and added the pepperoncini and romaine. A modern version can be anything you want – what is important is the vinaigrette which is by far the best I have ever tasted. This time I remembered to add the fresh herbs – they do make a difference!

Linking to Angie @ Fiesta Friday #236 and Julianna @ Foodie on Board and Debanita @ Canvassed Recipes

21 thoughts on “Greek Salad with a Red Wine Vinaigrette

  1. Nice Judi. Love the freshness of this salad, one of my favorites too. I imagine the garlic puree added its own flavor to it? I can’t get enough salads these days, so keep looking for these cool suppers. Thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Thanks Loretta – this has become one of my favorite salads because of the vinaigrette. I’m sure the garlic puree played a big part in making this Greek salad so delicious. Love all the veggies and as you said the “freshness” of it. I froze a bunch of the puree in ice cube trays so I will have a nice supply for awhile.


  2. Michael Psilakis has another cookbook? I have his How to Cook a Lamb, and love that one… uh oh, I see a purchase coming… BTW, I do LOVE a good Greek salad, including that at Panera’s. No Panera’s near me at my new home, but there is a local Greek restaurant and they make a good one… even if they do include the pepperoncini and Romaine.


    • I highly recommend this cookbook Diann – I don’t have the other one but I’m thinking about getting it. I love Greek salads and finally decided to find a good recipe so I can make them at home. His recipe makes a lot but it keeps… and I love all the garlic 🙂


  3. I love garlic and dolmades! The best dolmades I ever had were at Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe in my home town. When Taziki’s came to Florida, I couldn’t wait to eat the dolmades and they DIDN’T HAVE THEM ON THE MENU! UGH!


    • I love garlic too and it’s nice to make my own garlic puree and always have it on hand. This salad is really special with the delicious vinaigrette. The dolmades came from Whole Foods and are always a special treat (expensive). When I saw how much work was involved in making them I probably won’t be making them any time soon 🙂


  4. Hi Judi! You have my mouth watering for sure! I adore Greek salads and am always second guessing myself when it come to the dressing. I will try this one out this week, and can’t wait. I don’t usually add the garlic or mustard, but I know that it will be outstanding – especially if you say so! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at FF today! 😀


    • Hi Julianna – I’m a big fan of Greek salads too and it took me awhile to find one I really liked. This was the fourth vinaigrette I tried and I just loved it – so did others who tasted it. By roasting the garlic you lose that “bite” fresh garlic has and it becomes nutty, smooth and very flavorful. You could always leave out the “fresh garlic” in the recipe. In most of the vinaigrettes I made they all used Dijon mustard. 🙂


  5. I absolutely love the idea of the garlic puree in the dressing and I am all on board when it comes to a Greek salad! Yum! 🙂


    • Thanks Petra – the recipe made 3 cups of vinaigrette and I enjoyed many salads using it. The garlic puree is so easy to make – I froze some so I will always be prepared to make a Greek salad any time – it has become my favorite 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am getting ready to make another batch of the vinaigrette (the puree is in the freezer in small portions) as a sister is coming for a visit and she loves Greek salads too! Lucky you to be going to Greece for a holiday – I’ve never been 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mimi – I’m happy I can make this delicious salad at home. The vinaigrette is soooo good – I mean the recipe comes from a Greek chef. I’m sure there are lots of versions, whether you are Greek or not. I do like it better with the romaine and pepperoncini…

      Liked by 1 person

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