The legacy of Greek Salad and other summertime recipes in the UAE

The legacy of Greek Salad and other summertime recipes in the UAE

Quick and easy to make, salad is a meal in a bowl

Greek Salata or Salad
Greek Salata or Salad Image Credit: Supplied/Ammos Greek Restaurant

Dubai: Nobody likes waiting when they're hungry. So what do you do for a quick fix? Make a salad. That's right. Salads do not have to be boring or bland if made and paired right.

Carrying your own salad to work will keep hunger pangs away and keep you feeling more energised, especially to beat the summer heat. Dubai-based nutritionist Soumya Mishra explained: "Eating a combination of vegetables and fruits will increase your hydration level even if you don't really feel thirsty. For instance, cucumber and lettuce have 96 per cent water content, whereas watermelon and strawberry have approximately 94 per cent water content."

Eating a combination of vegetables and fruits will increase your hydration level even if you don't really feel thirsty

- Soumya Mishra

Salad as a meal

There are ways if you want to make a wholesome meal out of a salad. Figure out what works for your taste buds and make your own salad box. Have legumes? Combine them with crunchy lettuce to make a protein-rich salad. Want to make it tangy? Add some yoghurt and chutneys for an Indianised salad chaat.

Mishra explained: "If you want to make a wholesome meal, add some carbohydrates like couscous, quinoa or pearl barley. You can add chicken, tuna, salmon, or beans for some protein. A good meal size for a salad is around 250 gms, a bowl to be precise."

Salad as a meal
Salad as a meal Image Credit:

Tear lettuce into bite-sized pieces, place in a salad bowl, dice some cucumbers and tomatoes, drizzle olive oil, add pickled olives and gherkins, season with salt, pepper and crushed rosemary, and you have your salad ready. It's easy.

The history of salads…

Food historians believe that ancient Romans and Greeks first made salads. The term salad is derived from the Latin word 'Salata', which basically means salted. In the UAE, Greek salad happens to be a popular choice among diners. It is a simple and easy salad and gets its name from its country of origin.

Gulf News Food team spoke with Chef Antonis Melas, from Greece, based in the UAE. He said: "Greek salad is called so because it has all the ingredients unique to Greece. For instance, Greek olive oil and feta cheese, previously only produced in Greece.

"We Greeks always have a bowl of Greek salad during our meal on the table, and it is a must. The salad leaves bind the juice in the bowl, and that is something that is not to be wasted. We dip sourdough bread in it and eat it. Nothing goes wasted, and everything is consumed."

The Greek salad recipe is famous worldwide but not everyone can get it right. Melas added: "When I first came to Dubai, I ate many types of Greek salads, which had rocket or spinach leaves in it and no tomatoes. But there is no such ingredient in the traditional recipe, and it is almost like making hummus without chickpeas!"

Here is a traditional Greek Salad recipe to try at home:

Prepartion time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2 to 3


• Tomato juice for dressing

• 500 gms soft ripe heirloom tomato, chopped

• ½ green pepper, diced

• 100 gms cucumber, diced

• 50 gms white onion, chopped

• 10 gms salt

• 10 gms sugar

• 10 gm sherry vinegar

• Few Kalamata olives

• Feta cheese, as per preference

• Olive oil to drizzle

• 7 to 8 capers


Add the cut vegetables to a salad bowl - cucumber, onion, Kalamata olives, heirloom tomatoes, green pepper, capers, Feta cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. Mix them with tomato juice dressing and serve.

Note: Kalamata olives are commonly used in Greek food because they are salty and pair well with feta cheese. As for tomatoes, you can also use cherry tomatoes because they release less water into the salad than the larger tomatoes. De-seed the cucumbers to avoid making a watery salad.

Recipe Courtesy: Chef Antonis Melas, Ammos Greek Restaurant, Dubai.

Here are other salad recipes to try this summer:

1. Ensaladang Mangga

This Filipino mango salad is a traditional side dish served with fried fish and rice, with a base of shrimp paste. The recipe uses a unique kind of lime from the Philippines called calamansi, also popularly known as (Filipino lime). Here is a step-by-step video guide to making the base and salad. 

Ensaladang Mangga (Mango salad)
Ensaladang Mangga (Mango salad) Image Credit: GN/Anas Thacharpadikkal

2. Guacamole

It's not just a Mexican dip but can also be used as a main, side or salad. A recipe by American-Palestinian chef Luma Makhlouf, suggests using Mexican Hass avocados (a variety of avocados where the flesh is very creamy) to get the best out of this salad. Here is a recipe

Guacamole, made using the freshest ingredients, it’s a classic Mexican dish that never disappoints.
Guacamole, made using the freshest ingredients, it’s a classic Mexican dish that never disappoints. Image Credit: Supplied

3. Israeli Salad or salat katzutz

It takes 5 minutes to make this famous Israeli salad, also known as salat katzutz (Hebrew for chopped salad). You need cucumber, tomato, onion, lettuce leaf and some lemon juice for drizzle and salt and pepper for seasoning. A quick salad to make for busy workdays. Try the recipe 

Israeli salad
Israeli salad Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

4. Traditional Turkish Gavurdagi Salad

This Turkish salad has walnuts and pomegranate syrup or fresh pomegranates as one of the key ingredients. The name of this salad in English means 'Gavur Mountain salad' (Gavurdağı Salatası). It received its name from the Gavur mountain located between Ceyhan River and Adana city, in Turkey. Here is a recipe by Turkish Chef Chef Muhammat Ors for this salad. 

Gavurdagi Salad
Turkish recipe: Gavurdagi Salad Image Credit: Shutterstock

Orange and rocket salad

It takes as little as 7 minutes to make this fruity salad. Made using honey, orange and a few herbs and spices, this salad recipe is best eaten at the end of a long day. 

Orange and rocket salad
Image Credit: GN Archives

Do you have a favourite summertime salad recipe you would like us to feature? Write to us at

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