The New York Diner Greek Salad is one of the best salads you’ll ever have. It combines the ingredients from a traditional Greek salad with iceberg lettuce, it’s tossed with a garlic-oregano dressing, piled high and topped with pepperoncini, kalamata olives, and stuffed grape leaves.

Diner-style Greek salad in white platter with spoon drizzling Greek vinaigrette on top.


Having grown up on Long Island, I’ve eaten my fair share of diner fare and while I have a few less-than-healthy favorites (mozzarella gravy fries, Montecristos, and cheeseburger deluxes), the classic diner Greek salad is one that I’ve ordered the most.

While it combines the ingredients in a traditional Greek salad, or Horiatiki, it’s bulked up with iceberg lettuce and often served with grilled chicken, chunks of chicken souvlaki, or sliced gyro meat.

Oh, and the Greek dressing is one of the best you’ll ever have. Trust me.

Recipe Ingredients

All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Ingredients shown: red wine vinegar, lemons, olive oil, garlic, kalmata olives, oregano, honey, Dijon mustard, onion, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, Tuscan peppers, and stuffed grape leaves.
  • Lettuce. Most diners will use iceberg lettuce for their Greek salads, but you could also use romaine. Lettuce is not usually part of a traditional Greek salad, but is always part of a New York diner Greek salad.
  • Feta. Opt for the brined block of feta over the pre-crumbled feta for best results. You can either crumble it, or slice it; the choice is yours.
  • Olives. Kalamata olives are preferred but you can use other types of olives if you can’t access kalamatas.
  • Toppings. Most diners and Greek restaurants in the New York area will top their Greek salads with Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) and pepperoncini (Tuscan peppers). More often than not they are using the canned stuffed grape leaves (I’m looking at you Restaurant Depot!). You can find these in the grocery stores or make your own if you’re feeling adventerous.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to make it

  1. Chop one head of iceberg lettuce, slice 1 medium cucumber into half moons, and 3 medium tomatoes into bite-sized chunks. Thinly slice 1 medium red onion and slice (or crumble) 1 cup worth of feta cheese. Mince 5 cloves of garlic and place them in a bowl or mason jar and add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, 3 teaspoons of dried oregano, and 1 tablespoon of honey and whisk together while adding 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Continue to whisk until emulsified.
  2. In a large bowl combine the lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes with 1/2 cup of pitted Kalamata olives, and half the feta cheese. Add half of the dressing and toss to combine, then taste test and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve in bowls and top with more feta, dressing, pepperoncini, and grape leaves, if using. Alternatively, you can serve the dressing on the side. Enjoy!
White plate with Greek salad topped with feta cheese, Tuscan peppers, grape leaves, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

More recipes you’ll love

If you are a fan of diner-style Greek salad, I think you’ll love these other recipes.

  • Greek pasta salad – cucumbers, tomato, peppers, feta, and dill tossed with penne and Greek dressing.
  • Caesar salad – with homemade croutons, pan-seared chicken, and homemade Caesar dressing.
  • Italian chopped salad – with salami, provolone, pepperoncini, and romaine.

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Greek Salad

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 8
This classic New York Diner Greek Salad combines tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, onions, and feta with iceberg lettuce, homemade Greek vinaigrette, and topped with pepperoncini and stuffed grape leaves.

Ingredients 

For the Greek salad

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber sliced into half moons
  • 3 medium tomatoes sliced into bite-sized chunks
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives pitted
  • 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbled or sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 canned stuffed grape leaves optional
  • 10 jarred pepperoncini optional

For the Greek dressing

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

For the Greek dressing

  • Combine together all of the dressing ingredients and whisk until emulsified. Alternatively, use a food processor or blender. Taste test the dressing and season with salt and pepper if required.

For the Greek salad

  • In a large bowl combine the lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, red onion, and half the feta cheese.
  • Pour half of the dressing on the salad and toss to combine. Taste test and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Alternatively, you can serve the dressing on the side.
  • Serve in bowls topped with more feta cheese and the pepperoncini and stuffed grape leaves, if using. Enjoy!

Notes

  • If not serving right away, do not toss with the salad dressing otherwise the salad will become soggy.
  • The pepperoncini (Tuscan peppers) and stuffed grape leaves are optional but are typically included in Diner-style Greek Salads.
  • Undressed salad should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 3 days.
  • The Greek dressing should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 3 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 30.6g | Protein: 5.1g | Fat: 13.7g | Saturated Fat: 3.3g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 279mg | Potassium: 278mg | Fiber: 1.6g | Sugar: 12.8g | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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5 Comments

  1. Susan says:

    5 stars
    Delicious dressing! Greek salad is a favorite for me.

    1. Janet Skochdopole says:

      I am going to try making the Greek salad tomorrow to go withy husband’s azing Greek chicken thighs
      I’ll let you know how it goes!

  2. SARA DOUCETTE says:

    I have been searching for the best salad dressing for decades. This is it! I have made many of your recipes, all wonderful. As a fellow New Yorker, I especially love the deli recipes. Thank you!

    1. Tara says:

      We’re so happy you loved the salad dressing, Sara!

  3. Bea Gustafson says:

    5 stars
    Hi James, just looking at the photo of the salad made my mouth water. It looks delish!