i’ll just have a salad.

by Janetha on October 20, 2010

in meals

when eating out, i often order a salad for dinner.

sometimes fellow diners ask me, “you’re just having a salad?”

yes, i am. just a salad.

but that doesn’t mean a salad can’t be an entree.  in fact, some of the best items on a restaurant’s menu can be found in the salad section.

take my favorite greek restaurant, aristo’s, for example.

when i open the menu, i go straight to the σαλάτα section. FYI: “σαλάτα”  is salad in greek. and it is pronounced “saláta”. 

side note: wouldn’t it be awesome to know greek? do any of you know the language? it’s beautiful.

anyway, back to my salad ramble. my favorite thing on the menu is the greek salad with chicken souvlaki.

you’ve seen it here before.


i order it with a side of tzatziki as well as a side of the best hummus in the world. or, at least, the best hummus i have ever tried.


it simply cannot be beat.

when i was offered the chance to participate in a salad challenge hosted by fresh express (via foodbuzz) using one of their lovely salad mixes, i knew what i wanted to make.

a dinner salad.

not a salad that goes with dinner. rather, a salad. for dinner.

not just any salad, but a greek salad with chicken souvlaki, a side of tzatziki and a side of hummus.

only problem here: the only thing i had actually made myself was hummus.

that’s okay, i love a challenge.

especially a food challenge.

double especially a salad challenge.

triple especially a greek salad challenge.

i eat greek food enough to know what ingredients go into it and how it should taste. after browsing a few recipes, i decided i could figure out how to make each component of my meal, using my own recipe.

greek salad with chicken souvlaki, hummus & tzatziki

serves two

component 1: chicken souvlaki


  • 4 bamboo skewers (soak them in water for 30 minutes)
  • 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TB oregano
  • 1 TB thyme
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ground sea salt and black pepper


1. combine lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, thyme and garlic in a small bowl.


2. add chicken to bowl. stir it around so the sauce covers the chicken. cover the bowl and throw it in the fridge. let it marinate for as long as you can handle. i went to the gym and ran some errands, so my chicken marinated for three hours. this is a great time to soak your skewers!


3. remove chicken from fridge and thread chicken onto skewers.


4. dust with paprika, salt & pepper.


5. grill chicken skewers on outdoor grill or indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. make sure to turn them periodically, it will take about 2-3 minutes per side. (cooking all four sides)


6. remove from grill and set aside.


the next three components can be made while you are letting your chicken marinate.

component 2: greek dressing


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Greek Seasoning
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste


1. mix all ingredients in a blender (or use an immersion blender). alternately, you could mix it well with a fork.


in case you are wondering, this is greek seasoning:


you can find it in your spice aisle.


2. pour into two ramekins (or shot glasses) and set aside.


love the color!


component 3: tzatziki


  • 3/4 cup 0% plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled, seeded & diced (or julienned)
  • 1 tsp dill (dried or fresh)
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste


1. mix all ingredients in a small bowl with a spoon.


2. pour it into a fancy looking bowl and place it in the fridge until you are ready to eat.IMG_9992

component #4: hummus


  • 15 oz can garbanzo beans (peeled if you have the patience)
  • reserved liquid from the can of beans (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 TB tahini
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • smoked paprika, for dusting


1. combine beans, lemon juice tahini, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper in a food processor.


2. add 1/2 TB olive oil along with enough reserved liquid to make it the consistency you desire.


3. place hummus in a bowl, top with remaining 1/2 TB of oil and dust with paprika.


4. place in fridge until you are ready to eat.


component #5: salad


  • 1 bag (about 4 cups) fresh express 5 lettuce mix
  • 15-20 kalamata olives
  • 2 small vine ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1/4 of a small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 of a cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


1. get two plates or large bowls. divide salad mix among bo2. divide both dishes.

2. divide olives, tomatoes, red onion and cucumber among both salads.IMG_0029

3. sprinkle each salad with 1/4 cup feta.

4. place two chicken souvlaki skewers atop each salad.


time to eat!


serve your salad with the dressing, tzatziki, hummus and, if you want, some store bought pita bread (i am a good wife, but i have yet to make my own pita bread. sorry, marshall).


just like a restaurant Winking smile


sure, it’s just a salad. but it is also a meal :)


απολαύσει! (that means “enjoy” in greek)

for the record, marshall and i both loved this meal. it was almost identical to the greek salad at aristo’s! yes, i am tooting my own horn. toot, toot!

special thanks to foodbuzz and fresh express for sending me coupons to participate in the fresh express salad challenge! i had a lot of fun recreating one of my favorite restaurant meals.

1. do you like greek food?

2. what is your favorite kind of salad dressing?

xo. janetha g.

disclaimer: i was not compensated by fresh express or foodbuzz in any way, but the salad mix used in this post was free of charge.

p.s. winner of the nature made giveaway will be announced tomorrow. get your entries in!

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Natalia Baage October 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Wow! Congratulations on making that – it looks absolutely delicious!

kbwood October 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm

WHY are you so awesome!?!? I NEED SOME OF THIS STAT! I LOVE GREEK FOOD!! oh my gosh!

Laura @ Starloz October 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm

i love ordering salads, restaurants often surprise me when i order a salad

BroccoliHut October 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Gorgeous salad! I am a bit of salad queen when I eat out, as often they are the only items on the menu without meat! I am a huge fan of Greek food (seeing as I eat hummus about 15X per week). In fact, whenever my parents visit NC we always go to my favorite Greek restaurant here in town, where I always make sure to get some tzatziki and pita (plus hummus, of course).
My favorite kind of salad dressing is Goddess, by far, but I also really like using cottage cheese as a dressing. Anything salty and creamy works!

kellybwell October 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I’m a wee bit jealous…I’d love to order salads out! For some reason, though, it’s very hit or miss for me — sometimes, restaurant salad makes me sick to my tummy…and I think it has to do with washing the greens (or not…in which case the problems come in). Usually it isn’t worth the roulette game! Anyway…there’s your TMI for today ;)
I’d love to find some new salad dressings — especially homemade ones. Bottled are hit-or-miss for me…I normally resort to a red wine vinagrette or a lemon juice/olive oil combo!

Sheila October 21, 2010 at 7:42 pm

I love Greek food!! Gorgeous salad it looks absolutely delicious!

inmytummy October 21, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I eat salads for dinner a lot when I am out. My friends tend to make fun of me because we’ll go to a bar and I’ll order a salad.

Kristie October 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Meals salads are great. Greek salads are better. Your amazing Greek meal is BEST. Blown away. I adore greek salad, souvlaki, tzaziki, hummus, feta… perfect perfect perfect meal.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 21, 2010 at 9:12 pm

youre the 2nd or 3rd totally not vegan, not raw, not like a “veggies” type blogger who got the fresh express action…I got bread. It contains gluten and is not vegan and i cant eat it. Why oh why can’t i “just have a salad” :)

Dana @ my little celebration October 22, 2010 at 11:35 am

YUM. That salad looks amazing. It’s a must try since my husband and I heart Lebanese and Greek food.

andrea October 22, 2010 at 8:37 pm

I just re-created all of those dishes and it was amazing!!!!!

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