Even though, if you looked in my fridge you’d find at least a half dozen salad dressings, I really love to make my own dressings for our dinner salads. They are fresher, can be customized, and you know exactly what is in it. One dressing that has alluded me for a while is a Greek vinaigrette. I don’t really have a story behind this recipe but I love Greek flavors – I’ve posted chicken gyros and slow cooker chicken gyros before. And I wanted to conquer that vinaigrette. Since I’ve had a couple really good Greek salads lately – Allie’s downtown probably makes my favorite, but they are so far away to walk from our new building – I decided I needed to learn to make my own. I think it’s the oregano that I really like in a Greek vinaigrette, and let’s face it the dressing is what makes the salad. It took me a lot of research and a lot of tasting to settle on a dressing recipe that I was happy with.
I’m going to throw in whatever I want rather than only super traditional ingredients, although I don’t think anything is super outrageous. Because when you cook at home there is no ‘No substitutions” rule. Romaine of course is the base. And cherry tomatoes and red onions remind me of gyro toppings. Cucumber is a key flavor in tzatziki. Yellow bell peppers for crunch. You could do Kalamata olives – Tory probably would – but I’m not an olive fan. The feta cheese gives me athe saltiness and the pepperoncini replaces the brininess the olives bring. And of course chicken because you need a protein.
One thing – make the dressing a few hours or a day before if you can. The flavors will really meld together better and the garlic flavor will infuse throughout.
Here’s what you need:
For the dressing we’re going to combine red wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, Greek oregano, grated garlic (use a microplane to get it really fine), salt and pepper and the juice of a lemon.
The Dijon will help emulsify things and help everything hold together and makes it almost a little creamy. I just used a whisk but you could certainly use a blender too. Make sure to taste at this point – I did a LOT of tasting trying to get the right balance of acid and other flavors. You might prefer a little more bite of acid or a little less than I do. And your vinegar brand might be more acidic too (I’ve maybe watched too many America’s Test Kitchen tastings).
I made this like a chopped Greek salad so I started off by piling a bowl full of chopped romaine.
Here are all my prepped veggies. Halved cherry tomatoes, peeled and diced cucumbers, diced yellow bell pepper, diced onion, and sliced pepperoncini.
Use a meat mallet to pound the chicken to an even thickness. Season the chicken with Greek seasoning (I used Penzey’s). Either grill, pan sear, or cook on a grill pan until it reaches 165. I used my grill pan and cooked it for about 4 minutes per side over medium heat. This will vary based on how thin your chicken is. Also, I was recently watching something on Food Network that said timing of chicken breasts could vary based on the moisture level in the chicken so focus on temperature not on time.
Once the chicken has rested for about 5 minutes, dice it into bite sized pieces.
I started assembling the salad by tossing the lettuce in a bit of the dressing until all the leaves were lightly coated.
Now, just pile all the ingredients on top – I forgot the feta when I took the picture but remembered once I served myself and had messed up the big serving bowl to try to take another picture.
And dig in.
- ¼ c red wine vinegar
- ½ c olive oil
- 2 t Dijon mustard
- 1 ½ t Greek oregano
- 2 t garlic, grated
- Kosher salt
- Juice of one lemon
- Chicken breasts, one per person
- Greek seasoning, such as Penzey’s
- Romaine, chopped
- Cucumber, diced
- Red onion, diced
- Cherry tomato, halved
- Yellow bell pepper, diced
- Pepperoncini, thinly sliced
- Feta cheese
- Whisk together all the dressing ingredients until emulsified.
- Pound chicken with a meat mallet until an even thickness. Season well with Penzey’s Greek seasoning on both sides. Heat a grill pan (or a saute pan with a little olive oil) over medium heat and cook for approximately 4 minutes per side until chicken reaches 165 with an instant read thermometer. Allow chicken to rest for about 5 minutes and then chop into bite sized pieces.
- Add romaine to a large bowl and toss with a little bit of the dressing to coat the leaves. Add cucumber, onion, tomato, bell pepper, pepperoncini, feta and chicken. Toss with a little more dressing.