This Layered Horiatiki Salad delivers exactly what it promises. The classic Greek salad stacked. This showstopper borrows its format from the legendary Seven-Layer Salad but all the flavors are Greek. The produce on the other hand is local. The tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers found in this towering beauty are grown year-round right here in Ontario’s vast greenhouses. In the summer it’s easy to lose track of the veggies you always have on standby. It’s understandable, there is an abundance of seasonal produce looking its best right now. But you got to give it up for the veg that always has your back. This salad is a monument to the tasty jewels the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers consistently serve up.
I have a bizarre fascination with fattening salads. You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones laden with more cheese than greens and drenched in mayonnaise. Oh and don’t forget about those jiggly Jello situations – I could stare at those all day. I don’t sit in judgment of these church basement wonders, I actually have a deep affection for them. To me, there is nothing more human than loading up a bowl with cheese and calling it a salad. We are geared to consume calories and if we can do that with a somewhat clean conscious, so much the better. So, as far as I’m concerned, the salad paradox is peak humanity. How can we condemn human nature?
Today’s Layered Horiatiki Salad with Farro and Tzatziki borrows its format from the Seven-Layer Salad. The Seven-Layer Salad is a potluck legend that is as disparaged as it is beloved. The salad is met with understandable condemnation for its fat and sodium content. A typical Seven-Layer Salad contains, yes, seven layers and not all of them are vegetable-based. The top layer, for instance, is usually a thick blanket of mayo or sour cream topped with shredded cheddar cheese, and crumbled bacon. Yeah, we’re peak 1950s here.
While I don’t think I’ll ever faithfully recreate a Seven-Layer Salad, I do recognize its genius. When the salad components are separated into layers, you can make it ages ahead. Nothing sogs-out if they don’t have the opportunity to mingle. So you can make the salad in the morning and take it from the fridge to the car, to the table without serious veggie limp-age. Let’s see a caesar salad do that. And when you get to the party, you have a salad and a centerpiece for the host/hostess.
But while I love studying, writing, and observing these retro relics, you won’t find me eating a cobb salad on the regular. I much as I enjoy hard-boiled eggs, blue cheese, and bacon they can be a lot for one plate. This Layered Horiatiki Salad, on the other hand, is teeming with fresh veggies and a good dose of acidity. Resulting in a salad that looks charmingly retro but is refreshing rather than heavy. The briny olives, bright lemon vinaigrette, and cooling cucumbers are the perfect counterbalance to the salad’s tzatziki and feta snowcap.
While the Layered Horiatiki Salad’s stacked appearance makes a party out of the salad course, it is serving a real purpose as well. As with the Seven-Layer Salad, this salad’s layered look guards against sogginess. This means you can prepare this bad boy well in advance of eating it and still be treated to crisp vegetables. But enough about the format, let’s breakdown the individual layers.
The first layer is tender farro in a lemon, oregano vinaigrette. This dressing is essentially the dressing that would typically find in a horiatiki salad. On top of the farro, we have a layer of juicy tomatoes. I used vine-ripened cocktail tomatoes and grape tomatoes. Next, we have a combo of mini cucumber ribbons and mini cucumber medallions followed by mini pepper rings. Then things get a little less traditional with a head of romaine lettuce. I know horiatiki salads don’t generally come with lettuce but we’re going for drama and height here and nothing adds volume like lettuce. On top of that crown of lettuce are slices of red onion followed by a mountain of tzatziki and crumbled feta cheese. And final touches include olives, capers, and fresh mint sprigs.
As impressive as this Layered Horiatiki Salad looks it’s actually very simple to pull off. All it requires is a little patience while chopping and a trifle dish. The actual stacking process is as simple as scooping things into a bowl. So while it may look intracate, this is salad is very achievable at home. And did I mention you can make it pretty much whenever you have a spare moment?
So that’s everything you need to know about this Layered Horiatiki Salad with Farro and Tzatziki. It’s refreshing, crunchy and satisfying. And it will make an impression on everyone gathered around your table.
This post is sponsored by Produce Made Simple.
Layered Horiatiki Salad with Farro and Tzatziki
- Trifle dish
Lemon Oregano Farro
- 1 cup uncooked farro
- 3 cups water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 clove garlic
- 1½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ – 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1½ cups full-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 mini cucumbers shredded
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ cup dill finely chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
Layered Horiatiki Salad
- 1 batch Lemon Oregano Farro see above
- 6 vine-ripened cocktail tomatoes quartered
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 4 mini cucumbers 2 cut into ribbons, 2 cut into medallions
- 6 mini peppers cut into rings
- 1 head romaine lettuce washed and dried
- ½ red onion halved and sliced
- 1 batch Tzatziki see above
- 200g (7 oz) feta crumbled
- ½ cup kalamata olives
- 2 tbsp capers
- Fresh mint leaves and blooms to garnish
For the Farro
- Place the farro and water in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let cook uncovered until the farro is tender and most of the water is absorbed. This should take about 40 minutes. If the pot boils dry before the farro is tender, add more as needed. If the farro is tender before the water is fully absorbed, drain it like pasta.
- In a small bowl whisk to combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt. Pour the mixture over the farro and toss to coat. Chill the farro until ready to serve.
For the Tzatziki
- Place the yogurt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
- Squeeze any excess moisture out of the shredded cucumber and add it to the yogurt. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
For the Salad
- Spoon the farro into a large trifle dish. Top the farro with the tomatoes and top the tomatoes with the cucumbers. Top the cucumbers with the peppers and top the peppers with the lettuce. Sprinkle the surface of the lettuce with the red onion.
- Spoon the tzatziki on top of the center of the salad. Top the tzatziki with the feta and garnish with the olives, capers, and mint leaves and blooms. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve. This salad is best enjoyed within 24 hours after it is made.