mediterranean pepper salad

I have to own up to something: I’ve lost interest in leafy salads. There was a time when we filled out every dinner meal with mixed greens with a light vinaigrette and any plate without them looked sparse. But somewhere along the line, the world of lettuce has been so co-opted by bagged and pre-washed, chlorine-tinged flavorless green leaf-looking structures (what, do I sound like I have a bone to pick with them or something?) that not even fancy restaurants are a reliable source of good leafy salads anymore, and so, for the most part, I’ve bowed out, making only occasional exceptions made for nice greens mix or crunchy, velvety Bibb lettuce at a farmers market.

red onionbell pepperskirby cucumberfeta

Leafy salads are overrated, anyway, especially in the face of the big crunch and longer fridge shelf life of mixtures like this. And well, I know that chasing chocolate snack cakes with such egregious healthfulness will likely encourage nothing but yawns, the truth is, little has changed since I coined myself months ago The Most Boring Pregnant Eater, ever, with my steady diet of grapes, raw broccoli and now sweet red peppers. [Don’t worry, I still had ice cream for dinner last night, except it was actually a frozen yogurt shake with a cup of chopped mango blended in — like I said, boring! ]

quick-pickled red onions

This salad is my current obsession. Well, technically, it’s an older obsession because I discovered years ago at Zabar’s and had completely forgotten about it until an errand brought me up to the area last week and I was famished. For salad. Yes, I know, I really need to work on that. Seeing as the store is 70-plus blocks from my apartment, learning to make it at home was clearly in order, not just for me but for those of you who might also want a rainbow salad and but are 70-zillion blocks away. And although it’s not a requirement that you use all of those colorful peppers, the fact that it’s the prettiest thing in my fridge doesn’t hurt when I’m standing in front of it, trying to figure out what to snack on. Or, you know, about once an hour.

mediterranean pepper salad

Pepper salads, previously: Black Bean Confetti Salad (with cumin-lime vinaigrette) and a Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers

One year ago: I kicked off Project Wedding Cake. Holy moly, I cannot believe it’s been a year!
Two years ago: Strawberry Chiffon Shortcake

Mediterranean Pepper Salad
Insprired by one you can buy at Zabar’s, but now no longer need to

I put my own spin on this, of course. I omitted the green peppers because, well, they’re not my favorite and I quick-pickled the red onion to sweeten and soften its blow. But really, my favorite part of salads like this is is that they can be kept in the fridge already dressed, and only grow more deliciously marinated in a day or two. Should they last that long.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 a red onion, cut into a 1/2-inch dice (use less if your onion is huge)
3 bell peppers, your choice of colors (I used one red, orange and yellow)
1 kirby cucumber,
1/4-pound firm feta cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup pitted kalmata olives
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Swish together the red wine vinegar, water, kosher salt and sugar in a small bowl until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the red onion and set it aside.

Meanwhile, time to practice your knife skills. Core and seed your bell peppers and chop them into 1/2-inch pieces. Chop the cucumber and feta into similarly-sized chunks. Put your peppers, cucumber, feta and olives in a large bowl.

By now, your onions will have lightly pickled, both sweetening and softening their blow. Drain them and add them to the other vegetables in the large bowl, but reserve the vinegar mixture. Pour a quarter cup of the vinegar mixture over the salad, then drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste. Toss evenly and serve at once, or let the flavors muddle together in the fridge for a few hours.

Forgetful, who me? People, I just realized I forgot to add the cup of grape tomatoes that are usually in this salad, and that I’d purchased specifically to add to it. Like grape tomatoes? Add them! Don’t like them? Turns out you might not know they were missing.

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241 comments on mediterranean pepper salad

  1. Love it when my food is beautiful and colorful, in addition to being delicious ! Ironically, I used to never eat lettuce – I would always make creative chopped salads or bean salads, veggies, legumes, dried fruit and seeds in there — all sans lettuce. Since then, I have discovered this fantastic lettuce stand at the market here in Zurich, and I’m all over it ! Salads galore with different leaves all the time. That said, here’s an excellent exception, can’t wait to try your recipe here ! Back to the market tomorrow morning I go… with one thing off my shopping list ! :) Thanks !

  2. OMG!!! I had something similar to this a few weeks ago at Whole Foods and it was SO good. Their version had artichoke hearts in it as well as the other yummy ingredients in yours. I cannot WAIT to make this. I’m so excited! Thanks! Sorry for all the !!, but I just can’t stand it.

  3. Steve

    The ingredients you listed are always always always in my pantry / refrigerator… Now I tend to toss them with some spinach for a little bit of green, but I see no reason why they couldn’t work on their own… and the idea of pickling the red onion? I’m intrigued…….

  4. Wow. I mean, just, wow. If I wasn’t sitting at at work, I would already be on my way to the store… Perhaps I should suddenly come down with a terrible cold… :) I can’t wait to try this one!

  5. Mari

    I totally hear you about the pregnant salad cravings. I have eaten more healthy since I’ve been pregnant than most any time in my life. Greek salads in particular have never looked so good! Now that I am almost finished (kiddo is due in a month) sweets are looking good, but salads still win out.

  6. Amy

    Oh man, I thought I was the only pregnant lady who avoids anything that is both green and leafy. The row of Swiss Chard in my backyard garden keeps waving at me, only to be shredded up for my canaries. Onions and peppers are still my friends though; this will be a perfect replacement.

  7. I friend gave me this recipe about 10 years ago, the ony difference is that hers includes orzo. A lovely summer salad. Thanks for the reminder…

  8. Rhonda

    See I was looking for a way to use the rest of the banana peppers I bought at the local farmers market. Just an additional pepper. That’s a great idea for the red onion-wow, thanks.

  9. I concur… leafy salads are old news like kobe and lebron. Yesterday I made an easy cucumber yogurt salad with dill. English cucumbers ar ethe way to roll. Trader joes also sells persion which are FANTASTIC. Japanese cucumbers are also good. I lvoe them ice cold.

  10. there is nothing boring about a frozen yogurt shake with mango, in my opinion. it sounds like loveliness. it’s like my art teacher always said, “a good design is simple and complete.” (just like this simple and beautiful mediterranean salad which answers the question of “what will i bring to the 4th of july picnic?”!)

  11. Kirby cucumbers have become like my new boyfriend lately, so this looks great. In other news, I rejected all things leafy and green during my pregnancy. It left a lot more room for potatoes.

  12. Bri

    Oh, yummers. For whatever reason, I thought that the cucumbers were pickles – I might have to try adding that instead, I bet it would be delicious!

  13. I’ve been strongly anti-sweet pepper for as long as I can remember. Slowly, however, I’m coming around. My boyfriend is enamored, and being the doting girlfriend I am I have no problem preparing them for him. Because I lack any sort of self control, I inevitably end up eating them. You think he’d return the favor and start eating mushrooms and eggs. You would think.

    As far as pregnant eaters go, at least you still have taste. I pretty much just inhaled everything within sight. Oh wait, that still hasn’t changed, and I popped the kid out almost two years ago. But like most things in life, it’s easier to blame the kid.

  14. Steffi


    You should try this’s called Jajeek (or something like that…its Arabic).

    1 cucmber diced finely
    1 tub of plain yogurt
    2-3 cloves of garlic minced

    Mix and dig in. It’s the perfect summer treat!

  15. Gourmet Goddess

    Hi Deb , this salad looks amazing and so healthy and perfect for the hot weather which has finally decided to arrive in time for summer . Love your site and am always inspired by the way you put things together.

  16. Natasha

    Mmm… we just call this Greek Salad. It’s pretty much my favourite. :) The addition of some grilled chicken or shrimp, or even just some chickpeas (garbanzo beans) makes it a fantastic dinner all on it’s own.

    I have never heard of kirby cucumber though, I’ll have to look for it.

  17. This looks very nice. I too enjoy a great, lettuce-free salad at times but have not completely given up hope on our leafy friends altogether. Nothing beats a quick and easy salad like this one. One we made that turned out nicely was this Edamame Salad. Give it a try next time.

  18. Zoe

    This looks amazing! I love eating pretty food. This may just solve my lunch problem, since I love eating salad for lunch but never have time to make them in the morning. It never occurred to me that if you omit the lettuce there will be nothing to get wilty. I do have a question, I have the unfortunate affliction of disliking olives. Do you think I can just forget them or should I replace them with something else?

  19. Barbara

    Love chopped salad. So healthy. Sometimes I eat it with a separate bowl of greens with a tiny bit of vinaigrette. All winter I craved and enjoyed my version:

    sweet pepper
    cherry tomatoes if on hand
    feta cheese

    Dressing of choice for this is 1 T Marie’s (or similar) Parmesan Ranch.

    Love your writing and recipes Deb!


  20. What a gorgeous summer salad! I love to make a very similar salad on hot days with some mediterranean zatar (sumac) seasoning sprinkled on top in place of pepper. You can often find zatar in a blend with thyme and sesame seeds. It’s delicious!

  21. Ahhhhh – lovely summer eating! More please!
    I was lucky enough to be the guardian of a neighbor’s pea vines for 2 weeks (!) and made batch after batch of the sugar snap pea pickling recipe you gave on another post. So, I love the little pickling twist you put on the red onions above

  22. Susan

    I sure am glad to hear you say that you notice an odor (like surface sanitizer or something chemically) or odd flavor to those packaged lettuces. My family thinks I’m crazyl; they don’t detect it at all and will happily munch away at them. I, on the other hand, can barely be in the kitchen when there is an open bag around..and not only the lettuce, but other veg’s as well. Gah! What in the world are they using to clean the produce? I guess my palate is just too sensitive to whatever they are using.

    Thank goodness for summer and the farmers mkt. This will definately be on my list of things to make this summer. I’d like to dip those chunks in that good buttermilk dressing of yours..I love peppers and creamy dressing as a snack! Thanks, Deb.

  23. Beautiful Colors!

    I also can’t handle lettuce from anywhere but the farmer’s market anymore. None of that bagged crap has any flavor whatsoever.

    Great idea with the quickly pickled red onion. I’m going to try that the nice time I have one kickin’ around.

  24. Janet

    Mmmm, I’m growing bell peppers this summer for the first time and now know what to do with them! Thanks for the inspiration.

  25. This is amazing and could be a side dish to any meal. The only color of bell pepper available in the local markets are red and green. Those bell peppers that you have here,I can get in a special grocerystore.

  26. I make these types of salads with my mom alot! Unfortunately, we haven’t been doing it much lately? I don’t know why, they are so delicous! I can’t wait to try your version.

  27. i didn’t see a single salad with greens until we came to the US — all Russian salads were made without any trace of lettuce of green stuff… and it’s still my preferred way to eat them! :)

  28. kris

    Thanks for the yummy salad post. I am sick of green leaf salad lately and this will be a nice change up. The onion trip is great since my husband isn’t a big raw onion eater. Good for you for being a boring pregnant lady. It will make life easier post baby!

  29. Hmm. Chlorine is exactly it – what’s wrong with those pre-bagged salads, that is. I’m thrilled that it’s summer and my CSA is delivering piles of beautiful lettuce, but your crunchy bits salad looks awesome.

  30. I completely agree about the lack of beautiful lettuce in the stores these days. It is depressing, the green leaf lettuce is as tough as collard greens and you are left with pre-washed bagged lettuce that I have a really hard time bringing myself to buy.

  31. I know what you mean about leafy salads. Last year I made an awesome tossed salad with things from our garden. We made it so much I got sick of it.

    Hmmm…I love kalamata olives and feta cheese. This recipes looks so crunchy and delicious. And the ingredients aren’t so strange that they’d be hard to find. I may have to give this a try.

  32. Charlotte

    Rae (#43) makes a good point: aren’t pregnant women not supposed to eat soft cheeses? Or is that only for the first few months?

  33. It’s a toss-up between this and one of your slaws for a Fourth cookout. I’m leaning towards this bowl of freshness for the color and simplicity – perfect for a hot summer day and the fact that there’s feta in there doesn’t hurt. And I love that you pickled the onions – I was thinking fresh onions might have been a little over-powering.

  34. Oh my goodness. We eat a lot of peppers in many different colors. In fact, there are no less than 6 varieties growing in my garden right this minute. It looks absolutely divine.

    Really, don’t work the on desire for salads while pregnant. My kids eat everything and anything, and they prefer vegetables over sweets more often than not. (Not complaining.) My husband thinks it’s because of the disproportionate number of salads and vegetables I both craved and consumed while pregnant. I’ll be interested to hear how your little one fares in the food aversion category.

  35. Amy

    The soft cheese thing is only because some soft cheeses are unpasteurized. Pregnant women can eat any cheese that’s pasteurized (so, not raw milk).

  36. Eileen

    You must be nesting… there seem to be a lot of posts, I’m not complaining… I LOVE everything I have made from your site.. thank you, thank you.

    And the soft cheese thing is actually due to Listeria, which is a bacteria that can live happily in the fridge. It is present in cold cuts, hot dogs, salami, and can also survive in the soft cheeses because they are soft, and provide a great growing media. Think about a time when you pulled out a piece of cold cut and it had that lovely slime layer… that was probably Listeria (sorry… I’m a scientist, that has taken many a course on food science and was recently pregnant) Your doctor can tell you what is and what isn’t okay. However, most pastuerized cheese can be eaten after they have been heated to 165. Unless you have the cheese spoiler doctor like I did that wanted to make your life miserable… no goat cheese, brie, or even the lovely feta under any circumstances. Makes one want to think hard about getting pregnant again…lol.

    1. deb

      Charlotte/Eileen — I have one rule about pregnancy eating taboos: I don’t discuss them here. Harsh, right? Let me explain my reasoning, I promise I’m not trying to be mean:
      1) There’s a ton of information out there and much of it is inconsistent and in the end, every pregnant woman needs to speak to her Trusted Healthcare Provider and do what makes the most sense for her. I for certain will not be doling out pregnancy eating advice or discussing what I think is okay (i.e. pasteurized feta, anyone?) because it could not be further from my expertise, the topic of any of these posts, and is, frankly, too touchy a subject.
      2) Any even brief foray (which I’m engaging, but only this once, and I have to end it here) inevitably derails entire comment sections (though your comments, duly noted, have been nothing but polite) into What This Person Heard and What This Other Person Read and In [Insert Foreign Country Here] They Say It’s Safe and ZOMG You’re Obviously a Bad Mommy Let’s Panic etc. Personally, I’d rather file my fingernails on a chalkboard — no wait, worse, do the dishes — than get muddled in one of those off-topic conversations. I’m sure you all understand.

  37. That looks delish!! But, any suggestions for substituting the feta? My (crazy) roommate doesn’t like it! And I love it so I never know what to replace it with.

    Also, I can’t believe it’s been a year since Project Wedding Cake!! That is the first post I ever read on your blog, I believe, and I was hooked immediately. So I guess it’s our anniversary LOL!

    Love your blog!!

  38. Kathleen

    I love this salad! Sometimes I add fresh basil or oregano, and sometimes I add za’atar, as Emily does. It’s also great with toasted pita wedges mixed right in…make little wedges of your pita, saute them in olive oil, and sprinkle with za’atar. I love the idea of pickling the onion-does that mean I can bring it to work without having everyone leave the room?

  39. MK

    Yum, couldn’t agree more about the lettuce salads. I use organic romaine as an accent now and then but that’s about it. I much prefer a heartier, crunchier (and dare I say super healthy) many vegetable salad. And, once garbonzos or black beans sneak in – it’s a meal. Besides yours is beautiful, I can hear the crunch of those peppers from here! :)

  40. Soooooo tasty, the colours, and the crunch make it so much more than just a salad. What about adding some grilled chicken to it for the extra protein? I shall try that and report back!

  41. Liz C.

    In the event that one really loathes peppers in any form (hides under a table to avoid the evil-death-glares from all other humans), what would you recommend as a suitable substitution? I tend to substitute zucchini for peppers in recipes, but i wouldn’t mind another suggestion. Otherwise, the salad sounds fantastic.

  42. So colorful, eat a lot of red onion/shallot makes our mouth little bit smelly, but I don’t care coz I like it, I like eats red onion with satay and peanut sauce or pickled shallot, btw love your salad.. (“,)

  43. Amy E.

    Deb, I love you. I love your site. Had to say that. :)

    This salad looks amazing and like Janet said, it now answers the question of what I should bring to the 4th of July BBQ. I’m lame and can’t tell how much this yields in regards to normal servings. Could someone help me out with that? I want it to be one of a couple of side dishes to serve 10-12 people. Should I double, triple, the recipe? Thanks for the help. I know it’ll be a crowd pleaser since EVERYTHING I’ve ever tried from this site has been a big hit. I’m still getting demands for homemade Oreos!

  44. sz

    Is the feta intrinsic to the salad? (Not asking due to pregnancy concerns~ But if I want to make a non-dairy salad, am I better off just doing a differnet recipe or can I make this and treat the feta like the grape tomatoes?

  45. This is exactly the kind of salad that I crave on a hot, summer day…the briny/salty flavors in the olives and feta, and all of the texture and color you have created with the peppers and cucumber. Thanks for sharing!

  46. DesBisoux

    I love this kind of salads, it screams home and summer time!
    Never thought of the “onion in vinegar” thing (sorry, I’m not sure how to word it!) but I will definitaly try asap!
    lovely day to you.x

  47. Danl

    I have made a version of this, adding quinoa for some protein, making it a meal in itself. Have made it for many friends who all love it, and it does keep for several days! It is great lunchbox fare also.

  48. I’ll have to try this! At first glance, I thought “wow, those onions will be strong!” but then you mentioned the quick pickling. I’ll have to try that. I hate when raw onions overtake the rest of the flavors. But this salad is beautiful. I might have to just make ANOTHER trip to the store to gather veggies…I plan to break out the smoker this weekend and this would be the perfect side dish!

  49. Sue

    I used to make this salad years ago and loved it, but for some reason it fell off my salad radar screen. But just yesterday, I found myself buying a tub of feta at Whole Foods and wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, and now I know.

  50. Lauren

    This looks great- I LOVE colored peppers and feta and am also a little disillusioned with the greens salads lately, but how do you quick pickle an onion?

    1. deb

      Lauren — The “quick pickling” is the first step.

      Sufia — Actually, I’m stumped. I’d never considered the alcohol quotient and just about all of the vinegars in my pantry are grape-based. That said, I know there are a lot of fruit vinegars out there these days — play around. You probably won’t need to also use the water, which is really just to dull the vinegar’s effect.

  51. Crystal

    Because I don’t like most vegetables, my salads usually consist of a base of spring herb mixed greens, then strawberries, red grapes, nectarine, watermelon, mandarin, pineapple, basically whatever fruit I have on hand and I sometimes throw a little rosemary in there too. Basically fruit salad on mixed with greens. I wish I ate veggies though. Your salad looks beautiful I love the colors!!

  52. Winona

    This is what a greek salad is to me, when I first moved to the States, I was scandalized that people put lettuce into their greek salads. ;) I used to make one similar to this, though I threw a greek spice mixture in as well.

    I tend to make this in pretty big batchs – A lot of times I will make it a day ahead of time and keep it in a large glass jar…. I throw the dressing on, and wash it around every few hours — everything gets that slightly pickled effect then. I do wait to put on the feta till I serve, but I think it makes for a great snack/meal/whatever.

  53. Boy I couldn’t agree more………..lettuce is not what it used to be I guess.

    one favorite is tomato wedges or grape tomatoes chunks of avocado, cilantro, garbanzo beans rinsed from the can with a lite dressing of fresh lime juice and olive oil.

    we have a leafless salad almost every nite we are home. Yours looks wonderful…thanks

  54. NicM

    Your “boring” pregnancy cravings are giving me great new ideas for using all the produce I pick up at the farmer’s market!

  55. Cate

    This looks delicious and very similar to one I make here in London. What about using lemon juice to marinade the onions instead? When I make a feta salad I usually make my vinaigrette with lemon juice and not red wine vinegar which I find a bit harsh. Or possibly use a white balsamic vinegar or champagne vinegar. If you want to use peppers and don’t think you particularly like them it might be because they can be bitter. So why not chargrill them first. Hold them over an open flame until the skin is charred. Put in paper bag, let cool down and then take skin off and add to salad. The Greeks don’t put lettuce in their greek salads either. I have been to 3 different Greek islands, Crete, Santorini and Rhodes, as well as mainland Greece and have never had lettuce in one of those salads. Their salads usually consist only of feta, onions, tomatoes, olives and olive oil with a bit of lemon juice. Lettuce is usually quite rare in salads as well, especially late in the summer as it takes an awful lot of water to keep those green bunches alive. Today I marinaded some strong white onions in lime juice and had them on a cheese sandwich. Those are also good with tacos. To the person who posted about the yoghurt dip above, the Greeks do one. It is called tsatsiki, and usually has oregano in it. You can also add dried mint. That dip and greek salad is what I usually live on when I am in Greece.

  56. Zoe

    I make salads like this all the time, they are the best! Great with some cold roasted chicken or shrimp if you want protein. To the other Zoe’s comment about not liking olives, I would replace them with capers so you still get the salty flavor.

  57. This is the perfect salad! I agree that lettuce can get a little mundane at times. Whenever I make a Greek salad (without lettuce), I can’t help but eat the whole bowl in one sitting.

  58. Mary

    This is so beautiful! For those of us who are meat-friendly, a chicken breast grilled with some garlic and lemon, then cut into strips, makes this salad a low fat, high protein meal.

    And I agree…no lettuce! Yaay!

  59. Hey Deb!

    I am a new food blogger and I’ve been following your website for a few weeks now. I love your food! Reading your recipes and seeing the lovely phtography is always a treat! This salad sounds delish, and the fact that it’s like eating the rainbow certainly adds to it’s appeal :)

  60. Salad greens have lost (some) favor with me, too, if only because of their short life in the fridge. I still like to get them a couple times a week near my office for lunch, when I can have them tossed right there with the freshest greens & veggies. At home, I like longer life veggies (cucumber, cabbage, etc) for salads.
    I like the idea of this Israeli/Med salad for its lasting power, and LOVE it for the inclusion of pickled onions. Must make.

  61. Sally

    Hi Deb,
    Thank you so much for this great new recipe! I’m excited to jump into the kitchen and make it this weekend. BTW, the summer’s last hurrah panzanella was uh-maz-ing. We made it for a father’s day BBQ and it lasted us all week in the fridge- no sogginess or nothin’. I’m totally with you on this “no lettuce” salad kick.

  62. I know what you mean… the only thing that’s been saving leafy salads for me is that I’ve finally learned to make my own dressings! What a difference! It was one of those eye or rather palate changing moments and now I can’t go back to bottled dressing.. but I digress. I love the use of mixed colored bells. I love how it looks and I can’t wait to try it for company!

  63. Ranbow salad! It’s the prettiest salad I’ve ever seen. Thanks for a little inspiration, as I am NOT a cook in any way, shape or form. It’s why I married a chef. However, this salad I think I can manage.

  64. I love salads without lettuce! Lettuce is so overrated. And the other stuff is so much more delicious and good for you. And your salad looks sooo pretty!

  65. Renee

    I just ran out to get all the ingredients and I’m making this tomorrow. I’m also pregnant (end of my first trimester) and several times lettuce has made me gag. (sorry for the tmi). I can’t wait to try this!!!!!

  66. MplsCathy

    Oh Deb, this looks soooooo good! So colorful and refreshing! I am always on a search for great summer recipes that do not heat up the apartment. This is perfect. Thank you!

  67. I still haven’t reached the point where I’m bored with lettuce salad, so such kinds of salads usually don’t appeal to me. Having said that, your salad is probably the prettiest I’ve ever seen! If there’s ever going to be a salad that converts me to a non-lettuce lover, its this one, for sure :)

  68. i have a salad recipe very similar to that. i roast my peppers first. i use fresh mozzarella instead of feta and black olive instead of kalamata with a little dijon mustard added to the vinegar. so yummy. yours i will have to try when peppers are in season.

  69. This is beautiful; I love salads without lettuce because it always feels a little different and special somehow. That being said….leafy greens are my friends and I adore them too!

  70. Claire

    Yum!! I have a serious obsession with non-lettuce salads and this one looks fantastic! I have a similar one made with asparagus, oregano and (I am drooling just thinking about it) banana peppers. And don’t worry- the only things I craved while pregnant were avocados, onions, avocados, and vinegar…. and avocados…. go figure!

  71. WN

    My husband made this and it was delicious (sub. Persian for Kirby cukes and would recommend one more cuke if one subs this way). The quick pickled onion was key. Our household loves your recipes and make the chicken tacos, pizza dough, and coleslaw(s) as regular staples. The intuitive design of your website and clearly explained recipes make everyday cooking accessible to people like us. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

  72. This salad looks gorgeous! I imagine it would be equally stunning with ribs of swiss chard (I’m sure I can use the leafy part elsewhere) and celery and pickled rhubarb.

    Now I need to try just that!

  73. I’ve been getting lettuce-less salads for lunch recently too – something about lone crunchy, fresh vegetables is very refreshing and cooling. And, you’re getting a huge serving of vitamin C from the bellpepper – obv great for the baby! Looks great.

  74. Kristin

    how is it that you seem to know exactly what I am craiving, before I even know it? off to the kitchen to pull out all the veggies.

  75. I make a version of a salad like this, but with cubed watermelon and more cucumbers, and without peppers or olives. The sweetness of the watermelon + the tang of the vinegar + the salt of the cheese makes me happy. This salad looks delicious and I’ll be happy to vary up my own refrigerator salad routine!

  76. Rachelle

    YUM! I just made this, using apple cider vinegar for the pickling because that’s all i had on hand. LOVED IT! I spooned some of it over french bread and soaked up some of the extra dressing with it too. Heavenly.

  77. First, I love, love, love your blog & I appreciate all the time you put into cooking, writing directions and taking those mouth-watering shots!

    In regards to your comment about lettuce and greens in general being tasteless, that is probably due to the fact that now most greens are irradiated. This started after all the issues with spinach, if I remember correctly.

    Here is a link to an old posting in my blog with more info about it–>

    I’d say you are smart for sticking with farmer’s market produce. By the way, lettuce, and most salad greens in general (and arugula in particular) are super easy to grow in pots. If you’ve never grown any veggies arugula and radishes are a great easy way to start.

    I hope you can regain your love for all things green, fresh, leafy and crunchy soon! ?

  78. Pony

    If you are bored with lettuce, grow some. Just sprinkle some seed on a pot of dirt or tuck it in among the flowers. It’s pretty. I live in a condo but I have plenty for salads all summer with almost no effort.

  79. sandra

    Love this type of salad, in Spain the markets are full of lovely HUGE peppers (not to mention onions and olives!)
    Have you tried Orange and Red Onion salad?
    Use one red onion to two oranges. Cut skin off oranges, removing pith and thinly slice. Peel and slice onions. Layer in shallow dish. Add any drips of juice and olive oil to taste, salt, black pepper and a sprinkle of dried mint. Leave to mellow for an hour.

    I know it sounds odd, but it really is lovely, serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.

  80. Christi

    Love the idea of pickling the red onion to tame it a pinch. I made this last night. I added some sourdough croutons to soak up the dressing. Delish. Thanks Smitten Kitchen. This will be a staple this summer.

  81. Addie

    I’m sympathetic to your “Boring Pregnant Eater” woes… I’m five months along, and my biggest cravings have been for fresh fruits and vegetables. I just can’t get enough. Also, sour vinegary things, or things that I can put vinegar on without feeling silly (like fish and chips). So, needless to say, this salad will be made soon in this house.

    And I agree with your overall statements about the sad state of lettuce in our groceries. The only saving grace for me has been our weekly CSA delivery, which always brings the most lettuce-y tasting lettuce I have even seen. When the season changes, though, I may be through with lettuce as well.

  82. Barbara

    Chopped red cabbage –or green–is a great addition to a salad like this. Marinated in wine vinegar or balsamic for a few minutes is nice for a change.

    Greens grown in home gardens are so much more flavorful. Just visited a friend in NE and had a taste from a gourmet mix she’d planted. It was the most flavorful lettuce leaf I ever tasted. I used to love the flavor of Black Seeded Simpson when I grew it or got it at an organic garden in Maine. Such a difference!

  83. I know what you mean about the burn-out on big leafy salads. We used to make them nearly every night too, but just don’t seem to crave them anymore. This mediterranean salad looks delicious, especially with the fresh cheese!

  84. What a wonderful recipe! I’m a big fan of feta cheese, I think it just brings so much flavor and punch to almost any salad. I will probably make this sans olives, since my two guys at home aren’t too crazy about them. I will definitely be trying this. Thanks for sharing!

  85. Elisa

    Right now Mignorelli Farms has those $3 bags of lettuce with three different yummy kinds inside…so I’ve been enjoying awesome green salads lately. I think it’s an amazing deal. But I love feta and olives, and this looks great! I’ll have to try it.

  86. Elizabeth

    I make a version of this quite a bit for so many reasons. 1. It’s super easy. 2. My kids love it. 3. It’s great to make a large batch for summer parties. 4. It’s an inexpensive crowd pleaser. 5. Mirrors your make ahead and marinate comment. I could go on but I think I’ll just try yours tomorrow:-)

  87. I am definitely going to make this for my sister’s upcoming baby shower: make-ahead, healthy, and beautiful on the table! I second your green peppers comment…

  88. I’m with you. Unless I score some amazing lettuce during my weekly trip to the farmer’s market, I’d rather have a gorgeous salad like this one along with my meal. The flavorless lettuce is kind of like the sad, pale tomatoes you get in mid-winter from fast food restaurant. What’s the point! This is beautiful, and looks delicious too. :-)

  89. Sally

    We made this on Friday to use up some old peppers. It was so delish husband went out for more peppers so we can have it again the next day! Thanks for posting this!

  90. Susan W.

    Once again, a winner from Smitten Kitchen! The confetti salad was such a hit, I had to try this, and I’m pretty amazed at how wonderful it is. It will be my (diet) lunch for the week. You never steer me wrong!

  91. Would this taste as good if you used another cheese, like a gouda or havarti or something? Ditto on the olives – I’m not keen on either of those things so I’m wondering how much of the flavor is dependent on those ingredients.

  92. I love your food photography! It’s almost edible, and I’m waiting for the “scratch and sniff” version… or is that click and sniff? And all your recipes. Anyway, I tried this recipe tonight and it looks and tastes wonderful. I have one tip that I got while idly channel-surfing one rainy weekend (these days in the northeast it’s ALWAYS rainy on weekends!) I was watching Jacques Pepin make gazpacho, and he PEELED his peppers, which never entered my head before. (He had some entertaining comments on pepper skin too.) I tried his recipe for gazpacho (very good by the way), peeling my peppers, and found that my biggest complaints (havoc wreaked with my digestive system, needing really sharp knives) about peppers had mostly to do with the skin. I peeled the peppers for this recipe, and not only are all the pepper pieces easier to eat and digest, but, they are much easier to dice once peeled.

  93. Coco

    I made this twice this weekend! Once and then I ate all of it and again when my fiance said “what, you didn’t save any for me?” :)

  94. Maggie

    I made this over the unbearably hot weekend (had to use regular, old cucumbers) but it was still delicious and beautiful! thank you!

  95. Yummm this salad was sooo good! I took a pic!

    but I made it without olives (bf doesn’t like) and cucumbers (I forgot).
    The tomatoes didn’t make it into the picture though, because I ate them all =)

    I kept the pepper salad in the fridge and threw it on a bed of lettuce when I was ready to eat! It was delicious with and without the greens.

  96. I made this tonight for dinner. I love Greek Salads, but I’m getting sick of the lettuce unless it’s from my in-laws garden lately. It’s beautiful & tasty! We paired it with a Marcella recipe for rosemary chicken. I did throw in a dash of the olive juice from the jar for an extra dash (since I love me some olives).

    Thanks! I’ve subscribed to your blog since you went out to Pioneer Woman’s ranch. I LOVE all of your pics!

  97. Gretchen

    This was outstanding. I loved it. Loved chopping it all up, loved waiting for it to “bloom,” loved eating it, loved everything about it.

  98. Carla

    This was absolutely perfect. I live in Missouri and it has been 100 plus degree weather and the though of actually using heat to cook something is just lunacy, so this perfectly crunchy, healthy meal (I made it a meal with some crusty french bread drizzled with EVOO) was so perfect. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  99. pam

    fabulous! i added a little green onion and cilantro and traded out the pickles for pepperoncinis…thought about adding a diced jalapeno for a little zip but forgot. great dish and so pretty!

  100. I was just thinking the other day how little I enjoy leafy salads anymore and how much I enjoy the diced up tiny veggie kind, just like this one! Thanks, I printed it out!

  101. Martha

    I just made this — wonderful and simple! I do not care for olives so I used capers instead. I will be making and eating this all summer.

  102. Stiffler

    i made this salad. it’s really good. i do like the taste of the onions after they’ve pickled a bit. next time i might add some chick peas.

  103. rockdoc

    I craved greek salads and red meat when I was pregnant with my first child. I would have loved this recipe then, since these ingredients are the best parts. My daughter is now 15 and loves Greek food. Funny how that works.

  104. Hannah

    This is so delicious, I’ve now made it for the second time in a week. I have a feeling this is going to be a new staple!

  105. You have the most wonderful recipes and this is one of them. I pick up the six pack bell peppers at Costco, red, yellow and orange so I always have peppers. This is a great recipe to use them in.

  106. pam

    i doubled the recipe i made yesterday and had way too much left over so i took some over to a neighbors house….she called raving about it and asking for the recipe! :-) (next time i double it, i’ll split it into 2 batches and hold off on the dressing on the 2nd batch so it’s fresh and crisp)

  107. So delightful and yummy! It’s finally summer in the bay area and it’s too hot to really cook. This was the perfect dinner and I know it will be a great lunch tomorrow.

  108. Mikki

    this was the first smittenkitchen recipe ive made. i had it for dinner yesterday but i used cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar because thats what i had in and it was yummy. i’ll be making it again.

  109. You were my muse. The memory of the picture of the layers of veg is what charmed me into gathering all of the ingrediants on todays grocery run. Made it, loved it. Delish.

  110. I’m making this for tonight (4th). I just tweaked it a little. I added a sprig or two of “mother of thyme” and fresh oregano and parsley that I have growing in my herb garden. I also added a clove of garlic. I can’t wait to try it. It is really a beautiful salad. I did add cherub tomatoes. Yummy looking.

  111. Katie

    Mmm, this is really crunchy and delicious. I used a “persian cucumber” because it’s what they had at Trader Joes, omitted the olives because I just can’t stand them :) and added the grape tomatoes. I might have to put feta in everything I eat from now on!

    Thanks for another great recipe.

  112. Lindie

    Made this for the 4th of July and just wanted to thank you for the recipe. I’m sure I will make it many more times!

  113. Lindie

    Incidentally, when I made it, I also used my parer and cut off most of the pepper skins and cucumber skin as I have a problem with them since my stomach surgery. Maybe it even helped them absorb more flavor!

  114. Okay, so update…I made this for the 4th, and wow, so delicious! It’s the strangest thing, I could totally curl up with a huge bowl of this and chow down, and I am not usually like that with salads. Ice cream, yes, salads, not so much. This was wonderful!

  115. Di

    Yup, I made this as well for the Fourth – I the tomatoes, skipped the olive (ick!) and added some chopped watermelon for a dash of fresh…Yum!!! Definitely a keeper.

  116. Karen

    I made this today, didn’t have feta, but the kalamata olives give it that saltiness anyway. IT IS SO GOOD. If you can’t find a kirby cucumber, you can seed, peel and chop a regular cucumber and it works just fine. The pickling of the onions worked perfectly. I was skeptical, but i remembered how the broccoli slaw–with red onions–mellows overnight, I did it and the salad is so good. Another one for the summer repertoire.

  117. Dancer who eats

    I really liked this salad. I was so caught up in the colors that I didn’t realize the pepper percentage until I was at the store. I also didn’t realize the pickling part of it since I have had a fear of attempting that! I have to go back through old recipes and pickle stuff cause those onions were amazing! Thank you so much for tricking me.

  118. Robin

    OMG! This is so tasty I can barely type while stuffing my mouth. Thank you for sharing – it’s beautiful to look at and yummy to boot. The only change I made was the addition of fresh basil confetti. The perfect summer salad.

  119. YUM. Just made this, but I used a white onion (all I had), and was able to pick up the purple color in a lavender bell pepper a coworker gave me. I had a bite before I set it in the fridge to marinate. YUM!!!!!

  120. Liz D.

    Oh, Deb, you’ve done it again. This was perfect. I too had all these things in my CSA box, and thought a salad sounded good, but not the leafy lettuce-y kind. This was absolutely perfect in every way. The pickling of the onions is genious! I think I may export that step to a few other recipes. We ate nearly half of the salad (just my husband and I) right away! Thanks so much for posting.

  121. Made this last night for a simple dinner with friends. Smitten Kitchen = WIN. Also, I’ll note that it works great with green pepper as one of the peppers, so you can save a buck or so and buy the packaged “stoplight” arrangement if that works for ya.

  122. Sarah P

    I have made this several times since you posted it, it is a new favorite of mine. I agree with Winona’s comment that it is good for days if you wait to add the feta until right before serving. I have given up on the tomatoes — I tried it both ways and prefer it tomato-free. I also tried making it with sherry vinegar because I ran out of red wine vinegar. Very good!

  123. stephanie

    i am eating this right now! i thought i had a bell pepper left over but i didn’t so i just skipped it, but did have the tomatoes. so, in essence a greek salad but it’s fantastic!

    my boyfriend hates veggies so he won’t go near it, BUT he did keep coming by to steal the onions out of the red wine vinegar mixture as they were ‘pickling’ and said he could eat just that. i wouldn’t be surprised if he snuck out and drank the leftover juice either…i’ve caught him with the pickle jar ;)

    anyway, thank you so much, this reminds me of a salad from a place i used to eat lunch at that is no longer convenient too and it really hits the spot.

  124. bridget

    well it’s been over six months since you posted (and I saved) this recipe and I’m happy to say I am eating it right now. It is delicious!!! My excuses for not cooking were many but the biggest one is that I have a tiny kitchen. You have made that excuse invalid! Thank you so much for this beautiful site. It is so inspiring. I plan to make one new recipe a week and already have many of yours saved.

    p.s. I’m a vegetarian and SO happy for all the yummy meat-free dishes you have here.

  125. Fyfe

    a salad very similar to this was taught to me by an older Greek woman that i know, now i keep it stashed in my fridge for after running. There’s nothing like a tangy, colorful, COLD veggie salad when you’re sweaty and need something to chow on that won’t undo all that exercise!

  126. Deb,
    I’m new to your site and I absolutely LOVE it! I tried this pepper salad yesterday for lunch and it was incredible. I wanted to let you know my twist though that made it a meal, instead of a side. I just made some bulger wheat a la Ina Garen (cooked in water, lemon juice and olive oil) and added it to this salad and wow was it good and filling!

  127. Which Jennifer

    Only my oldest child thought this edible, but the kids just don’t count. My husband and my guests thought it divine. I needed it as a dinner rather than a side, so I followed Kysta’s advice and added bulgur wheat to it and I also served it with cold thinly sliced grilled teriyaki chicken. I put all colors of peppers, including green, in, and it was still fabulous. Lemon/lime juice is our acid of choice around here, so I cut the amount of vinegar solution I put into the salad by half and put in as much lemon juice.

    It is a beautiful salad, holds up for several days, and it was the perfect solution to “What will I feed my guests when they arrive sometime between 9 and 10 pm?” I just pulled it out of the fridge and were they ever impressed. A definite keeper.

  128. jennie

    Trying this tonight with Quinoa(first try EVER). Tim and I just started the Mayo Clinic Diet (not a diet-a way of life) my mother informed me…hmm….well-it includes very limited amounts of meat, so I am looking for some vegetarian meals. Looks like dinner after teaching sixth graders all day in an un-air conditioned building (the high today was 95!).

  129. Seamus

    Excellent recipe. For those of us who like it spicy, some chopped jalapeno is a nice addition. The vinegar mitigates some of the fire. I plan to enjoy it with shrimp kebabs & vino on a beautiful Memorial Day weekend.

  130. Amy M D

    Tried this for our Memorial Day picnic and it was a huge success. I left out the olives, not being a fan, also added a little bit of green pepper for the color. I loved loved loved it!

  131. mary op

    WOW…was looking for a healthy salad that was full of flavour and I found it!
    We went out for Ahi Tuna appetizer and came home after and we ate this. It sat in the fridge about 5 hours and the flavours came together nicely.

  132. Alexis

    Cannot tell you how many times I made this since it appeared here. I love this salad and it is the hit of any party I bring it to. Am making it again now. It is absolutely gorgeous, healthful and outrageously tasty.

  133. Danielle S.

    This salad was so fantastic. It tasted a lot like the pasta salad I make minus the pasta and broccoli. I normally get lazy and just douse my salads with pre-made dressings, but this dressing was so simple to make and so delicious. I have to rethink the way I make salads.

    I’ve really been enjoying your blog. It’s been an adventure making the various recipes I read this summer. They are tasty, simple and just bring out the flavors of the food so much more.

    Thank you!

  134. Danielle

    I just tried this salad for the first time and thought that 1 tablespoon of salt in the onion-pickling step was way too much! I just used regular table salt, not kosher.. could that have been the problem?

  135. Sarah

    I make this salad all the time and I love it. I have a party coming up and was instructed to bring a summer pasta salad. Do you think adding pasta o this could work with a bit extra feta? Maybe I will try it on a small scale first. LOVE THIS SALAD.

  136. MaryClare

    At the risk of sounding juvenile, this salad KICKS BUTT. Wow, I could eat this for days. So, so good, and quick and healthy too. Thanks so much for posting this!

  137. Ariz

    just made this for dinner with a glass of cab sauvignon and it was amazing! it’s “summer” in SF, though it’s been raining for two days straight now, but this summer salad was still amazing! i’m new here and it’s my new favorite thing to do ALL THE TIME! can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  138. Erica

    I’ve been reading SK for years, and have been inspired and touched by your stories, your photos and your stunning recipes. Now, in my first trimester of my first pregnancy, when nothing appeals to my tummy, I’ve found some late summer solace in this gorgeous salad. I substituted grilled for the feta since I had it on hand, and almost ate half the bowl. Hurrah! Thank you! Next up: your pickled grapes, I think.

  139. Sharon

    This salad has way to much salt. Maybe you meant one teaspoon and not one tablespoon. I love all your other recipes that I have tried. This one I had to completely remake.

  140. Andrea

    I have tried many of your recipes, and I frequently come back to this one! The salad is delicious, and it’s been a winner everywhere I’ve brought it. Thanks for your recipes and your stories. I turn to you first when I’m looking to try something fun and new. Thank you, thank you!

  141. Sara

    Hi there,
    Just came across your recipe today as I was googling :) Looks so yummy I will have to give it a try. I too was wondering if the salt was meant to be 1 teaspoon rather than Tablespoon?
    Next up….google ‘haloumi’.

  142. Autumn

    I just made this, and it is fabulous! I was pondering adding a Jalepeno next time, just for a little zing. I see what you mean about the morton’s, though. I added less, and it is still a bit salty.

  143. Caterina

    I am religious about packing a lunch for work and this is one of my absolute favourites – I make this constantly. The combination of the olives, pickled onions and feta make this salad a great lunch. Add some nice bread and cheese and fruit and you have lunch fit for a queen!

  144. Stacy

    I love this! I used to make something like this instead of a pasta salad, but I love that now I have a recipe to use. I also like to add garbanzo beans to add a little protein. YUM!

  145. I just made this and it was love-at-first-bite. The quick-pickled onions were an especially nice touch, and definitely a trick we will be keeping in mind in the future. I thought I was going to eat this with dinner, but ended up eating it as my full dinner — it was that good. Thank you!

  146. alison

    we’ve been making this for a few years now. so easy and always always a hit at parties. it gets better over time in the fridge, but good luck waiting to eat it!

  147. Lynn

    I added grapes to this recipe as well and it was a great touch of sweetness.

    I made it for a big group dinner and salads can be really lacking at those sorts of things but mine was a winner!

  148. amoeba

    I have wanted to make a greek farmer salad for a few weeks now and of course I checked your blog first – once again, you have not disappointed me! I love the pickled onions.
    I added the grape tomatos and used green olives as I prefer them and it was easily the best farmer’s salad I’ve eaten yet. And really easy to make, too.

  149. Anisah

    I made this salad after googling what types of sides would go well with pizza. I made a Chicago style stuffed pizza that took way too much time to make and I chanced on this blog. To be honest I preferred the taste of this gorgeous salad more than the pizza, can’t wait to make it again. I’m pregnant right now so it’s healthy to boot and really good when I’m craving a snack. I didn’t think I’d like the olives but I ended up adding more… So delicious.

  150. Lisa

    Thank you Deb for this delicious and colorful recipe!! I used white whine vinegar instead of red and it turned out great. I will definitely be making this again. :)

  151. Bahb

    This has become a staple, without the Feta because we are dieting. We do it with 3 each of four colors of peppers, tripling all the ingredients plus adding diced celery. We eat it alone for lunch, add it to greens and diced mango and chicken for dinner, put it on cheese pizza, make an omelet with it, put it with some shredded cheese on a corn tortilla, ……thank you , thank you, thank you, Deb. I love the fact that I always have it on hand and know it won’t get limp or rancid before I make the next triple-batch. It’s pickles, afterall, but somehow better than. We never get tired of it because the crunch is ultra satisfying.

  152. Wendy-louise

    This looks so nice will give it a go soon I hope. Peppers are very expensive in Australia red ones can be $9.00 a kilo (2lb in your language) Green about $6 and yellow or orange the most expensive of all up $12 kilo
    I usually only buy 1-2 at a time yellow and orange can be hard to source they are capsicums here. This looks so yummy must try asap
    thank you a lovely website
    Wendy-louise in Qld Aust

  153. This is possibly my favorite recipe on your site. I make it ALL the time, and I’m planning to make it for a friend with a new baby with your version of Martha’s mac and cheese :) You should put this on your new Food Network show!

  154. Tom

    Dang it! You forgot the tomatoes (thanks for pointing that out), but I forgot the olives. Bought them and everything. Even had them out and ready to use. Easy to miss steps when reading the recipe on my phone, I guess. That’s my excuse, anyway. With that major flaw on my part, it was really colorful and delicious. Would have been better with the olives.

  155. Apriori

    Just when I think it can’t get better, you post this. It is 112 today, so this will be perfect for dinner tonight!

    I have some roasted red/orange/yellow peppers –will be trying this with those (they’re cooled now, so this may or may not be yummy? Giving it a go regardless, hard to go wrong with bell peppers!). This is totally dinner tonight. Thanks for the inspiration!

  156. Franci

    Sometime last year I found myself not wanting anymore leafy salads too! I’ve been feeling a little guilty about it, but no more!! Love this recipe, I’m going to try it soon.

  157. tammy

    Is it best made fresh or a day or so ahead? (I understand it’s good both ways, but is one better than the other?)


  158. Mary

    This is a keeper and will be a regular in the rotation. Followed recipe except added some chopped mint which was really yummy and added more like heaping tablespoon of sugar. Some of the feta dissolves a bit when you mix it all up and the dressing gets a little creamy. Was almost better the 2nd day and really good even four days later! You can double it and use up the tri-color pack of peppers at Costco!

  159. Kathy

    I made this two nights ago for the first time and my husband who does not eat vegetables nor anything that he deems to be too healthy absolutely loves this salad. He’s asked me twice “so what do you call this?” and has pretty much demolished the entire thing in two nights. I will definitely make this again.

  160. Barclay Terhune

    I added some anchovies simply because I like them in salads. I mash them and add to my Vinagrette dressing. A pizza without them is like a kiss without a hug…..I have had a Greek salad in Greece, but from the comments it seems that no one in Greece or for that matter Europe has ever used lettuce in a salad. Curious…

  161. Jane

    I must have scrolled past this recipe two dozen times in my exploration of this site… every time thinking, “Meh, not my thing.” All I can say is, I’m sorry I doubted you!! I had some extra bell peppers last week (homemade pizza planned, for someone who turned out not to like bell peppers), and made this salad just to get rid of them. OMG. So tasty! So easy! <3

  162. James Taylor

    Mediterranean Salad:
    My Mother made this salad about 75 years ago with all fresh stuff from the large garden. We called it “Grasshopper Salad”. We never heard of feta cheese or Kalmata olives for another 50 years. I still make and love this salad.

  163. Tina

    I’m looking forward to my lunches this week! I love a salad that holds up in the fridge. I skipped pickling the red onion, subbed lemon juice for the vinegar, and added two regular cucumbers and a full 8 oz block of feta. (The combination of cukes and salty feta is so good.) Also subbed a 15 oz. can of cannellini beans for the olives. Thanks for the inspiration.

  164. Margaret H. Barry

    Made this last night, and when I saw the huge amount it made I thought “Oh, no. this will rot in the fridge before we finish it”. We both had it again for lunch, and will probably finish the last of it for dinner tonight. It’s a keeper. Thanks, Deb!

  165. Vanessa

    Just made it for the first of many times. Delicious! It would be wonderful without the tomatoes, but with them it’s perfection.