Monday, June 10, 2013

Spicy Chopped Greek-Style Salad with Peperoncini (and Ten More Greek Salads for Summer!)

Spicy Chopped Greek-Style Salad with Peperoncini
 Chopped Greek Salad with Peperoncini is perfect for Meatless Monday!

I've been a pretty devoted Greek Salad fan for years, as well as being seriously addicted to Peperoncini, so it's no surprise that I'd be crazy about a salad combining these two flavor favorites.  I think the combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and Feta that define Greek Salad are pretty amazing no matter what you put with them, but in this salad I really kicked it up by using the brine from the Peperoncini in the dressing and adding sliced Peperoncini to the salad.  I used Mezzetta Greek Peperoncini, a product I've had lots of fun experimenting with since it first appeared in two-packs at my Costco.  This type of slightly-spicy Peperoncini is often used as a garnish on restaurant salads, and if you like them at all you'll probably love this salad.  When the weather really heats up, I'd eat salad like this any day for lunch or dinner; hope you enjoy!

I could go on and on about why I think this is a perfect Meatless Monday dish, but if you already like Feta cheese, you probably don't need to be convinced.  If you're one of those people who don't like Feta, I think those fresh mozzarella balls that show up in the summer would also taste great here.  (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch. For Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post.)

Peperoncini from a jar are full of the brine, so I cut the ends off (with kitchen scissors) and let them drain in a colander.

While they drain, mix together the Peperoncini brine, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, dried Greek oregano, and black pepper and then whisk in olive oil to make the dressing.

When the Peperoncini have drained well, squeeze out the seeds from each one and use kitchen scissors to cut into slices.

I used regular canned black olives for this salad because I wasn't sure how Kalamata olives would go with the Peperoncini flavor, but your choice on that.

Chop the tomatoes and cucumbers into same-size pieces.  (These are grape tomatoes, but if you have juicy garden tomatoes I might drain them in a colander.)

I cut the red onion into slivers, and next time I might make them a bit thinner.  (And when I tried out the salad on my sister Pam and niece Alyson they loved it, but Pam isn't an onion lover and she'd use sliced green onions when she makes it.)

I cut the Feta cheese into small cubes to match the look of the chopped vegetables.

When everything is chopped and/or drained, toss together the Peperoncini slices, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and onions with the desired amount of dressing.

Then add the Feta cubes and gently toss again.  Season salad to taste with fresh ground black pepper and serve.


Spicy Chopped Greek-Style Salad with Peperoncini
(Makes 4-6 servings, depending on what else you serve with it; recipe created by Kalyn.)

Ingredients:
15-20 large Peperoncini, drained well and sliced (I used Mezzetta Greek Peperoncini which I buy at Costco.)
1 can black olives of your choice, drained (6 oz. drained weight)
2 cups diced tomatoes (drained if they're juicy garden tomatoes)
2 cups diced cucumbers
1/2 cup red onion strips or sliced green onion
4 oz. Feta cheese, cut into cubes
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
1 T Peperoncini brine
1 T lemon juice (I used my fresh-frozen lemon juice)
1 T red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:
Cut the stem end off each Peperoncini with kitchen scissors and drop into a colander placed in the sink.  Let the Peperoncini drain while you combine the Peperoncini brine, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, dried Greek oregano, and black pepper and then whisk in olive oil to make the dressing.

Use scissors to cut the drained Peperoncini into strips.  (I like them on the thick side, but it's a personal choice.)  Drain the olives (and cut in half if desired, but I liked the whole olives in this.)  Cut the tomatoes and cucumbers into same-sized pieces.  (I cut mine about 3/4 inch square.)  Cut the red onion into slivers or thinly slice if you're using green onion.  Cut the Feta into cubes about the same size as the cucumbers and tomatoes.

Gently combine the Peperoncini slices, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and onions, and toss with the desired amount of dressing.  Then add the Feta cubes and gently toss again.  Season salad with black pepper to taste and serve.

I generally don't like to refrigerate salads with tomatoes, but this was surprisingly good even after it had been in the fridge overnight.  If you're planning to make more than you will eat at once you could also just add tomatoes to the amount you're eating and then add tomatoes to the leftovers when you eat them.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This salad is loaded with low-glycemic vegetables and as long as you use a moderate amount of Feta cheese, this is a perfect main-dish or side-dish salad for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

Ten More Amazing Greek Salad Variations to Enjoy:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Brown Rice Greek Salad ~ The Lemon Bowl
Lentil and Barley Greek-Style Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, and Capers ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Raw Cauliflower "Couscous" Greek Salad ~ Vintage Mixer
American Greek Salad ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Greek Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Purslane ~ Healthy Green Kitchen 
Grilled Zucchini Greek Salad ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Greek-Style Panzanella Salad ~ Farmgirl Fare
Baby Kale Green Salad ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Greek Salad with Lemon and Oregano ~ Smitten Kitchen
Chopped Greek-Style Salad with Red, Yellow, and Orange Bell Pepper ~ Kalyn's Kitchen 
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

I purchased the Mezzetta Greek Peperoncini myself, and the company has no idea I'm spotlighting their product.
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14 comments:

  1. sounds amazing! I have most of this on hand and am going to whip up a batch this afternoon for a late lunch. I'm thinking I'll also throw in a can of chickpeas (drained) to pump up the protein and make it stretch a bit further!
    Would also be good with some chopped grilled chicken over a bed of romaine.
    Can't wait!!

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  2. Shu, I love the idea of adding chickpeas; hope you enjoy!

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  3. This is my kind if salad - I'm a sucker for all things Greek!!

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  4. We have a great local feta cheese here in Rhode Island that would be perfect in this salad.

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  5. I do always love Greek salads, Kalyn! But the addition of Peperoncini is inspired - yum!

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  6. Lydia, sounds yummy.

    InquiringChef, glad you like it!

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  7. Feta can ALWAYS get me excited about a salad! Sounds so delicious!

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  8. I have been hooked on Greek salad lately. This recipe looks terrific, Kalyn! :-)

    Thanks!
    Shirley

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  9. Joanne, ME TOO!

    Shirley, I have loved Greek salad for so long, look forward to it every summer when the tomatoes are good.

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  10. One of the perks of being Kalyn's sister is her abundant generosity. Recently when i visited we talked about this salad and she loaded me up with some of the ingredients to take home.

    This salad is so yummy!! I made it with heart of palm like we talked about during my visit and I added some leftover steamed asparagus and it was a fabulous lunch at work. Thanks again for the peppers and heart of palm. I loved the salad and it made me smile and think of you, Kalyn, during an otherwise stressful day.

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  11. Laurel, so glad to hear that. Love ya!

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  12. It's been pretty hot here in NH, Kalyn, and this week I decided to try this... omg, the pepperoncini addition is inspired! We *loved* this salad! I served it with some grilled pacific salad on top... delish!!!

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