Organic Greek Salad with Tahini Dressing

As a vegetarian for over 35 years, people often think I only eat salads all day every day. They ask how I can eat the same thing every day. With this salad is there are so many different flavors and textures to enjoy! This is not your plain-jane green salad.

How to make a 3-part Greek Salad

This recipe has 3 main parts and seems pretty complicated. To be honest, the first time you make it it will feel like you are using everything in your kitchen. But it is all worth it. Plus you can make 2/3 of it ahead of time, and then just assemble the veggies.

This recipe has three distinct parts to it:

  • Tahini Salad Dressing
  • Seasoned Ciabatta Croutons
  • Organic Greek Salad

The Dressing and croutons can be made ahead of time which cuts the prep down on this greek salad to about 5 minutes if you want.

And because over half can be made ahead of time, this is a great salad for meal prep. The veggies can be cut up and put into meal prep containers, and the dressing and croutons stored in a separate container, then it all comes together in just moments.

Tahini Salad Dressing Recipe

Most Americans don’t turn to a tahini-based salad dressing. In fact, I’ll guess most American’s don’t even know what it is made of.

According to a 2019 Food Channel Survey of the most popular salad dressings, the top 10 salad dressings are:

  1. Ranch Dressing
  2. Caesar Dressing
  3. Buttermilk Dressing
  4. Elderberry Vinaigrette
  5. Bleu Cheese Dressing
  6. Balsamic Vinaigrettes
  7. Salsa
  8. Olive Oil
  9. Thousand Island Dressing
  10. Italian Dressing – both Creamy and Oil-Based versions of the dressing

Tahini Dressing isn’t even on the list!

What is Tahini?

The name Tahini is actually Arabic. There isn’t an English word for it.

Tahini originated in the Middle East in the 1300’s, so it is almost 1000 years old. It went from Persia to Israel, and then other places. By the 1940’s Tahini was in American Health food stores, and it’s been around ever since.

By now you might be wondering what Tahini actually is. It’s a sesame paste. To make it, you take the hull off the sesame seeds, grind them up, and add a little oil and salt.

How long does Tahini Last in the Fridge

When you buy a Jar (or can) of Tahini at the grocery store the oil will probably separate from the paste. This is perfectly normal. It doesn’t mean that it has gone bad or needs to be returned or thrown away.

Tahini should have the consistency of runny smooth peanut butter. It should be stored in a sealed container either in the pantry or in your fridge. I’ve never had Tahini “go bad”. I use it up before it’s ever turned. I’m guessing it would last for 6 months to a year after it’s opened. Smell it, and taste it if you are worried. You will know if it has gone rancid.

Instead you might need to mix it all together. Depending on how long it has been sitting, you can either use a spoon or something to mix it together, or in severe cases, an immersion blender or regular blender.

And although Tahini is a seed butter, it isn’t very week tike peanut butter. Instead it is a little more nutty, and even a little bit bitter.

Most commonly Tahini is used as a base for Hummus. It goes great with garlic, and lemon, and in the case of this salad dressing, a little bit of sweetener (honey or maple syrup), and one of my very favorite seasonings smoked paprika.

How to make a Tahini Salad Dressing

Make the dressing the same day as you are making the salad, or before if you want. This recipe for the Tahini Salad Dressing makes a mason jar full. Enough for a week of daily use. I just throw all the ingredients into a blender, puree it until smooth, and transfer to the jar. Slap a label on it, and keep in the fridge.

Organic Greek Salad with Tahini Dressing
Organic Greek Salad with Tahini Dressing

What is a good Tahini Substitute?

Sometimes the dressing comes out a little thicker than usual. I’m not sure why, but when this happens I just add a little bit of water and blend it in. I like it to be able to pour easily, something between a ranch and vinagrette in consistency.

There really isn’t anything that tastes quite like Tahini. Of all the things I’ve tasted, Almond butter is probably the closest flavor, and a similar texture. But imagine using almond or cashew butter in Hummus. It would work, but wouldn’t be the same.

Seasoned Ciabatta Croutons

Let’s be honest – when you make Croutons at home how many actually make it to the salad. It’s like they are the perfect snack food. Crunchy, salty, and savory all at the same time.

My must haves for seasoned Ciabatta Croutons are

  • Amazing Bread
  • Dried Oregano
  • Garlic Powder
  • A good Olive Oil
  • Salt
Cube Ciabatta Bread
Cube Ciabatta Bread

Some people say to use day old bread to make croutons. Not me. I like it fresh. Sure, day-old works, and so does a good sourdough, but if you are taking the time to make these Croutons at home, why not go all out?

The complete recipe is below, but basically just cube the bread into approximately 1-inch pieces. Put it all into a 9×12 baking sheet, and generously drizzle the olive oil over it. Then sprinkle the herbs and salt.

You can mix it with a spoon, but just get in there with your hands. It smells amazing.

Then bake it for 20 minutes in a 350° oven. Until it looks like this. I suggest making the while loaf of bread so you can snack.

Ciabatta Croutons should be a golden brown and crispy
Ciabatta Croutons should be a golden brown and crispy

Making an Organic Greek Salad

This is the fastest (and easiest) part of this whole recipe.

Just take all the veggies and chop them up and add to a bowl.

On a bed of shaved romaine lettuce, I added Garbanzo beans, feta cheese, avocado, cilantro, olives, and of course cucumber. But obv you can add whatever you like.

But for a greek salad – olives, and feta are a must!

Add all greek salad ingredients to a large bowl
Add all greek salad ingredients to a large bowl

What To Eat a With Greek Salad?

This greek salad is great as a complete lunch or as a side dish with pasta dishes like my Pesto Chicken and Pasta in one Pot , or casseroles of any kind. You know we are a Vegetarian Food Blog, so all the dishes we recommend are meat, poultry, and fish free.

When I use it as a lunch salad I usually throw in a hard-boiled egg or two for some extra protein, but it isn’t necessary. Because as a Vegetarian, I do eat eggs (that are responsibly collected) and eat cheese (made without animal rennet) and drink milk (not just that weird nut milk stuff, but real milk from pasture-fed cows, or even goats.

Vegetarian Greek Salad with Tahini Dressing

Organic Greek Salad with Tahini Dressing

Eric
This salad has a LOT of ingredients. 18! But it is divided into 3 different sections, so you can prepare ahead of time. Personally, I always have a mason jar of the dressing in the fridge because it is so yummy that you can put it on anything. Seriously, I have dipped fries in it. Next are the croutons. I usually have to make a double recipe because somehow half are eaten before the salad is ready. They are so addictive. Last is the salad itself – I add feta, olives, cucumber, and some other things to a big bowl of lettuce. It's great for a healthy lunch, or even as a side or main course for dinner.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Greek
Servings 4 people
Calories 450 kcal

Ingredients
  

Croutons

  • ½ Loaf Ciabatta 1 inch cubes
  • ¼ C Olive Oil Extra Virgin
  • ¼ C Cilantro Freshly chopped
  • 2 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 1 TBSP Smoked Paprika
  • 1 TBSP Dried Oregano

Dressing

  • ¼ C Tahini
  • 2 TBSP Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ C Olive Oil Extra Virgin
  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • 2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
  • C Lemon Juice Fresh Squeezed
  • 1 Clove Garlic

Salad

  • 6 Cups Lettuce Roamine, Arugula, Spinach, OK to mix and match greens
  • 1 C Garbanzo Beans
  • 1 C Cucumber Cubed
  • 1 C Feta Crumbled
  • ½ C Olives Green or Black
  • 1 Avocado Cubed

Instructions
 

Croutons

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Cube 1/2 loaf of Ciabatta. I prefer fresh, but day-old works, too. Toss into a 9×12 baking tray or similar
  • Pour over olive oil
  • Add spices: Garlic Powder, Smoked Paprika, Dried Oregano. Mix well to make sure each piece of bread has a little bit of everything.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Dressing

  • In a Blender or Food processor, add all the ingredients. Process until smooth. Add a little water if too thick.
  • Transfer to an air-tight container for storage. Lasts up to a week in the fridge.

Salad

  • In a large bowl add all the salad ingredients.
  • Mix well
  • Add 1/4 cup (more or less) of dressing and toss to combine
  • Garnish with the croutons and Enjoy!

Notes

This salad easily serves 4 as a side for your main meal, or you can cut it down for a healthy lunch. 
Also great for weekly food prep, just don’t add the dressing until you are ready to eat.  
For extra added protein, you can add beans, nuts, or seeds (vegan) or hard-boiled egg goes really well, too.
Feel free to experiment with the salad ingredients.  I usually use whatever I have in the fridge.  It’s the dressing and the homemade croutons that make this special.
Keyword Salad

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating