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Cretan Summer salad with fresh cheese and traditional rusks

— 3 medium, ripe red tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

— 1 crisp cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthways and then into thin half-moon pieces

— 1 green pepper, halved and sliced

— 1 small red onion, cut in half and then into thin wedges

— A handful of good-quality olives with stones (we use black wrinkly Greek olives)

— 1 tbsp capers

— 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

— 1 handful of purslane, if available, or rocket leaves, chopped

— 1 tsp dried oregano

— 4 small Cretan barley rusks

(paksimadia) or 2 large ones, broken into bite-sized pieces

— 60ml (21/2fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

— 3 tbsp good-quality aged red wine vinegar

— 150g (51/2oz) Cretan mizithra or feta, crumbled

— Sea salt, to taste


Serves 4–6 as a sharing plate


A Cretan salad is in fact very similar to the well-known Greek salad, but has mizithra – traditional goat’s cheese – or goat’s curd instead of feta as well as broken Cretan barley rusks. Sometimes you may also find capers or caper leaves, purslane and even a few leaves of basil. For me, this is one of the best salads to have with a meal, especially grilled fish, or even just make a big bowl and eat it with nothing more.


Finding Cretan barley rusks may not be the easiest thing unless you live close to a Greek deli. However, there are many alternatives you can use instead that are readily available on the market. Swedish crispbreads are a good alternative and can be easily found, but thickly sliced sourdough drizzled with

olive oil and dried out in a preheated oven at 160ºC/325ºF/ gas mark 3 would be my choice.

Add all the salad ingredients to a bowl, apart from the cheese, and mix gently. Let it sit for a few minutes and then add the cheese. Mix once more and serve.


This recipe is from Aegean by Marianna Leivaditaki


If you liked this recipe, check out this Carrot Top Pesto and CousCous Salad from Broke Vegan