Sunshine Recipes: Traditional Greek Salad & Tzatziki

Last month I shared my recipe for Cretan Style Lamb Burger with Feta, it’s a really tasty and easy burger recipe for the summer months, and perfect for new season spring lamb. Alongside my lamb burger (and many, many other recipes) I often serve a traditional Greek Salad and a side of Tzatziki.

I tend to cook a lot of Mediterranean style food, it’s delicious, fairly healthy and my husband is half Armenian, so it’s good to recreate some of his favourites too. Greek salad is so easy to throw together and it’s one of our favourite salads, plus it tends to keep quite well – no wilted leftovers the next day!

Sunshine Recipes: Traditional Greek Salad & Tzatziki

These recipes are family favourites, created from memory every time. I’ve long since forgotten where the recipes originally game from but I know I’ve changed them slightly over time to match our taste buds.

Greek Salad Recipe

Ingredients (serves 4 as a side)
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1/2 cucumber, halved and finely sliced
12 black olives, pitted
200g feta cheese, cubed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & pepper

The best thing you can do for this salad is find the ripest tomatoes. I have used cherry tomatoes, but if the ripest are something else, use the best tomatoes you can find.

Quarter your tomatoes, slice your cucumber and onion and cube your feta, put all of your ingredients into a serving dish, add the red wine vinegar, olive oil and seasoning and toss together before serving.

Taste and add more seasoning, herbs or vinegar if you feel it needs it.

Sunshine Recipes: Traditional Greek Salad & Tzatziki

Tzatziki Recipe

250g Greek yoghurt (I use fat free)
1/2 cucumber, grated
1 clove of garlic, finely grated
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
Salt & pepper

Traditionally the skin and the seeds of the cucumber are removed for tzatziki, but I like the texture of it so I keep it in.

Grate your cucumber onto a clean tea-towel and sprinkle with some salt, leave it for ten minutes and then squeeze the excess water out.

Tip your cucumber into a bowl with your finely grated garlic, Greek yoghurt, olive oil and red wine vinegar and mix thoroughly. Taste the tzatziki and then add sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

It’s not usual to add sugar to tzatziki, but I think a little pinch gives it a slightly nicer flavour, but leave it out if you prefer.

Any leftovers of this Greek salad make a great lunch with some toasted pizza bread.

Sunshine Recipes: Traditional Greek Salad & Tzatziki

Recipe: Bifteki – Cretan Style Lamb Burger with Feta

They say that a Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest ways of eating. It’s certainly a favourite of ours and in the summer months especially we love throwing together a salad, cranking up the barbecue and eating al fresco. The grey skies of Manchester are sadly no match for dining under the Cretan sun, but what is?

In Crete their burgers are known as bifteki. They can be made from beef, pork or lamb and they’re usually stuffed with cheese – juicy Lucy style! Here’s my take on the traditional bifteki burger. It’s made with lamb and stuffed with feta, served with a fresh Greek salad and a generous helping of tzatziki. It’s so good!

Recipe: Bifteki - Cretan Style Lamb Burger with Feta

Cretan Style Lamb Burger with Feta

Ingredients (makes 4 burgers)
500g lamb mince
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or grated
1/2 a red onion, grated
75g stale breadcrumbs
An egg
1 tablespoon of fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
2 tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
200g feta cheese
Salt & pepper
4 burger buns

Slice your feta cheese into 8 pieces, they’ll need to be flat rather than chunky. Put them to one side.

In a bowl tip all of the remaining burger ingredients and knead together. A bifteki has a firmer texture than a normal style burger, so get your hands in and work the meat. Once it is all combined, cover and put the mixture in the fridge for half an hour.

Divide the lamb into four equal parts and taking a slice of the feta, mould the lamb around it so the cheese is encased. Do this with all of your four burgers. Grill your burgers on the barbecue until cooked through.

Alternatively if you are cooking them in the oven, pre-heat your oven to 200°c and cook for ten minutes, then flip your burgers and cook for a further ten minutes. You might want to put your remaining feta slices on top of the burgers during the last few minutes in the oven.

Serve your lamb burger on a burger bun smeared with tzatziki and a pile of Greek salad. Delicious!

Recipe: Bifteki - Cretan Style Lamb Burger with Feta Copyright Jane Arschavir HodgePodgeDays


Recipe: Bifteki - Cretan Style Lamb Burger with Feta