Once a month, I get together with three of my friends—Whitney, Anna, and Kathryn to cook a meal for our “girls night in.” We don’t throw pillows around or get into the latest gossip. Girl’s night always revolves around eating and includes lots of laughter. We either prepare the whole meal together, or each of us will take turns bringing different course dishes or simply supplying the wine. For our most recent dinner, I volunteered to take salad duty. Summer had just started and there’s nothing more appetizing than fresh salad greens.

My first thought was to bring a Horiatiki Salata (Village Greek Salad) and call it good. The Horiatiki Salata is the most popular salad of Greece, consisting of only cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, oregano, feta, green peppers and olives, all lathered in Greek dressing. You can Google search “Horiatiki Salata” and find countless recipes and colorful varieties of the dish. It’s such a classic and tasty salad that soon My Big Fat Greek Fanny’s own recipe and artsy pictures will be among the many searches online. But there’s more to Greece’s salads than cucumbers and tomatoes. Greeks vary their salads season to season and use all kinds of ingredients such as beets, potatoes, watermelon, and most commonly—ranges of leafy greens.

For girl’s night, I prepared two of my favorite leafy green salads, plus one I hastily created that turned out to be the fan favorite among my trusted taste testers. These salads each comprise different greens as the base and tossed with different toppings, dressings, and herbs to make them unique. For your next BBQ, afternoon snack, girl’s or boy’s night in, go beyond the familiar Horiatiki Salata and try something new. You’ll truly surprise your guests and yourself. Give each a try to find your favorite. Then experiment with different leafy greens or other toppings to create your own new go-to salad.

Maroulosalata (Romaine Lettuce Salad)
Say maroulosalata out loud ten times fast and you’re sure to chuckle to yourself as you stumble on the word a few times. I sure did when I mispronounced it to my friends as I was introducing the salad at dinner. If you can’t get past the pronunciation, dig into the salad anyway and let your taste buds do the talking. Maroulosalata is comprised of marouli (lettuce), green onions and dill. Traditional maroulosalata calls for Romaine lettuce. It’s a light and easy to make salad that’s served year round but is more common in the warmth of spring and summer months. The fresh dill adds zest to every bite and marries perfectly to the classic olive oil and vinegar dressing drizzled throughout. I brought this salad when Anna announced her main dish of halibut seasoned with dill. The two paired together perfectly. It can also be served as a main or side salad and served alongside other vegetable dishes.

Recipe type: Salad/Starter
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 4-6
Maroulosalata is a light spring or summer salad comprised of marouli (lettuce), spring onions and dill.
  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce, finely chopped or cut in ¼ inch ribbons
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Wash and dry the lettuce, onions and dill.
  2. Finely chop the romaine lettuce, giving it a shredded feel and ensure there are no chunky pieces.
  3. Slice the green onions to the thickness you prefer, and finely chop the dill.
  4. Add the green onions, dill, and romaine lettuce to a bowl.
  5. Mix together olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
  6. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately.


Roka Salata (Arugula Salad)

Roka (arugula) is one of the most underestimated leafy greens, despite packing lots of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It’s numerous health benefits are well known. Arugula is native to the Mediterranean and is definitely a green that should be added to more plates worldwide. The Greeks eat plenty of arugula as a “Roka Salata” and is traditionally served as just roka, topped with thin slices of local cheese and dressing. To add more essence to the salad, it is common to add walnuts, pine nuts and sun-dried or fresh tomatoes to the mixing bowl. This is a common salad throughout Greece, and a go-to for Whitney whenever she sees it on a menu. She likes to add other types of lettuce to the roka. That’s ok. The strong peppery taste of arugula can be a turn off to some, and many recipes add romaine lettuce to the salad to temper the arugula. I like it solely with arugula and serve it that way. The Roka Salata is perfect as a main salad alongside chicken, fish or even pasta dishes.


Roka Salad (Arugula Salad)
Recipe type: Salad/Starter
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 4-6
Roka Salata is traditionally served as just roka (arugula) topped with thin slices of local cheese and dressing. To add more essence to the salad, add walnuts, pine nuts and sundried or fresh tomatoes to the mixing bowl.
  • -6 cups arugula
  • -Kefalotyri cheese, shaved
  • -1/4 cup white vinegar
  • -3/4 cup olive oil
  • -salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional add ins: walnuts, pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, or shaved parmesean cheese if kefalotyri isn’t available.
  1. Wash arugula and add to a bowl along with sun dried tomatoes and walnuts.
  2. Mix together olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Toss the salad with the dressing.
  4. Top with shaved kefalotyri and serve.


Lachano Salata (Cabbage Salad)

For my green salad taste-testing party, I decided to serve something new while keeping with the theme of leafy greens—this time the crunchier lachano (cabbage) was used as the base. I have a love for spicy foods, so jalapenos had to be in the mix too. To that, I added leeks and lime juice for a sweet flair, and cilantro on top for a finished touch. This cabbage and jalapeno salad is the right amount of spicy and equally refreshing. Create your preferred level of spicy with more jalapenos, or tone it down with less. Mid-meal, I was pleased to hear Kathryn say, “I usually hate cabbage but this is the best salad here.” I agreed with her and we both quickly reached for second helpings. The Lachano Salata can be served plain as a side salad, or by using Anna’s suggestion and top it on tacos to form a Greek-Mexican style dish that will wow any dinner guest.

Lachano Salata (Cabbage Salad)
Recipe type: Salad/Starter
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 4-6
Lachano salata is a refreshing crunchy salad made of thick cuts of cabbage, jalapenos, leeks, and limes. Add more jalapenos for extra spiciness, or omit them altogether.
  • 1 head of cabbage, finely shredded
  • 4 medium leeks,
  • 4 jalapenos, diced
  • ⅓ cup cilantro
  • 5 limes, juiced
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut and remove the stem and core of the cabbage. Clean and slice the cabbage in half and slice each half to create quarters.
  2. Thinly slice the cabbage into strips.
  3. Cut and discard the roots of the leeks, using just the white and a small portion of green parts only. Carefully clean the remainder of the leeks, and cut them into rounds.
  4. Halve the jalapenos and remove the seeds. Dice into small pieces.
  5. Add cabbage, leeks and jalapenos into a bowl.
  6. Combine the limejuice, olive oil, and salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk together.
  7. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and top with cilantro and serve.



Salads can be fun. Enjoy!

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