Don't Forget the Humble Greek Salad

©. Melissa Breyer

Hurry, before the tomatoes set sail for the season, indulge in a big, beautiful Horiatiki salad.

September can be a confusing month, as far as food goes. The tables at the farmers market are still heaped with teetering piles of summer corn and peak tomatoes, while our forward-leaning palates are switching into pumpkin mode.

But hear me out: Now is the time to be gorging on summer produce! It's at the top of its game ... and won't be around much longer.

Which leads us to the Greek salad.

Known as a Horiatiki salad in its native country, the traditional combination includes tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onion, feta, oregano, and oil & vinegar. (In Greece I had it both with and without bell peppers; I am not sure which is more standard.) The end result is one of those occurrences of food synergy where a handful of humble ingredients create something much more delicious than the individual parts.

Sadly, the Greek salad has kind of been left behind in the age of poke salads and Buddha bowls – and until recently, I had forsaken this once-favorite as well. Which is a shame because it's simple, beautiful, healthy, and delicious.

And it's especially a shame right now when the tomatoes are doing a swan song before hightailing it out of here before winter.

greek salad

© Melissa Breyer

So I am here to remind you to make a Greek salad.

It could not be easier – chop, pile, eat. The traditional way is big chunks piled on a plate and dressed, like the one pictured on top. But it's also a salad that invites flexibility. In both of these pictured (lunch on consecutive days), I added some avocado and tarragon along with the oregano (living on the edge, here, living on the edge). The second one I tossed with balsamic and olive oil, which is why it looks a bit messier, but I was in the mood for a more blended flavor.

I am not sure how many more days I can eat a Greek salad for lunch; will I tire of it before the tomatoes are done? I don't know. But I do know this: I have a long season of pumpkin, kale, and rutabagas ahead ... so I better eat as many Greek salads as I can.