This has been a go-to favorite for lunches for the past two weeks. It's easy to prepare, and easy to transport (can you say "Hello plastic bag?!"), so it makes total sense if you're trying to eat right but have a busy life.
What is also nice about this salad is that it's filling, packed with great veggies and nutrients, and entirely satisfying on warm spring days.... not that we've had many where we are right now.... but for the rest of the world enjoying spring, this is truly a great dish. The crisp, crunchy sweetness of the peppers and the cool, delicately mellow taste of the cucumbers are contrasted by the gently herbed tang of the dressing.
Also....the savory pop of the cherry tomatoes is fantastic, especially when you can find great heirloom tomatoes that just burst with flavor. And the dressing - honestly, it is amazing. It has the tangy punch from the vinegar, the herby, earthy hold from the oregano, and the rich depth given by the extra virgin olive oil. I made a whole bottle just to have on hand - that is how good it is.
Another nice thing about this is that it can be served as a side dish or a main lunch. If you're looking for more protein, toss in cut up grilled chicken or drained garbanzo beans.
Serves 2 for main dish, 4 for side dish.
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (no substitutions!!)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano (or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, crushed)
salt/pepper to taste
3 bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange - one of each is my favorite), diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 cups diced cucumbers (mini cucumbers work great)
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion (about 1/8th of an onion)
1 cup crumbed feta
1. In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together all the vinaigrette ingredients. Add salt and pepper to preference- set aside.*
2. In a large bowl combine all of the vegetables and gently toss together. Top with feta cheese and gently pour dressing over everything.
Serve immediately at room temperature, or chill before serving.**
*Dressing can be made ahead, and if desired, mix the onions in as well and let them marinate a bit. This reduces the sharp edge of the onion flavor and allows ingredients in the vinaigrette to blend together better.
**If you make this salad ahead of time DO NOT mix in the dressing or the cheese. If you mix in the dressing or feta and then chill the salad, it tends to pull out water from the veggies, making the veggies limp (rather than nice and crisp) and the dressing watery.