Joanne Weir’s Cucumber and Feta Salad Recipe

feta salad fixings

I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to share one of my all-time favorite recipes, from one of my all-time favorite books. And if you don’t make it, you’re out of your mind. Okay, I don’t really mean that. But I just get so excited about this book and I can’t help myself; this is my favorite salad ever!

When From Tapas to Meze was released, I was invited to the book party in San Francisco, and all the food was—to be modest, amazing. Everything I ate was incredibly good; the salads, tarts, appetizers and tapas. I wolfed everything down.

herbs

Once I brought the book home, each recipe I made was an out-of-the-ballpark homerun.


This is my favorite kind of food; full of lively flavors, lots of herbs, garlic, and olive oil. And simple. I made the Chicken, Leek & Feta Pie that same week, which appealed to me because A) I love anything made with feta cheese, and B) It was so good at the party I had to try it myself.

Then sadly, the book went out of print, as good books tend to do. So when a publisher considered bringing the book back into print, they asked me what I thought and I could barely get the word “Yes!” out of my mouth fast enough. It was one of the very few books that I personally hand-carried when I moved to France and my only complaint is that I don’t cook nearly enough from it.

pur jus

I worked with Joanne at Chez Panisse when we were both just starting out cooking in San Francisco. We had a great time and if you watch her on television, on Joanne Weir’s Cooking Class, you’ll see how much fun she is. (You can take a tour…and drool.) She came over to my kitchen once in San Francisco, and we made pizza together which was one of the most delicious evenings that I could’ve imagined. I even made sausage for the first time in my life. Who’d a thunk it?

This recipe couldn’t be easier. You just mix everything up and serve it, and it’s actually fine to make a day ahead. The salt and pepper are to taste, and because feta and feta-style cheeses vary, if you’re unsure, add a small amount and re-season as you go. The last time I made this, one guest professed not to like cucumbers. Like, at all. And she not only had one helping, but helped herself to seconds.

Once you make this, you’ll find yourself craving it over and over again. So consider yourself warned.

salad

Cucumber and Feta Salad

Six servings

Adapted from Joanne Weir’s From Tapas to Meze (Ten Speed)

After I wrote this post, I made the salad twice; the second time I added some chopped fresh savory to it. I plan to make it again next week and might added some finely chopped black olives to it.


  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced into pea-sized pieces
  • coarse salt
  • 8 ounces (225g) feta cheese (see Note)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely-diced
  • 1 tablespoon (each) chopped fresh mint, parsley and fresh dill

1. Place the cucumber pieces in a colander, mix with a light sprinkling salt, and let drain 30 minutes to an hour, shaking the colander from time to time.

2. Crumble the feta into a bowl and mash together with the olive oil, lemon juice, water, and a few turns of black pepper.

3. Mix in the cucumbers, onions, and herbs. Taste, and add more salt if desired.

Serve with toasted or soft pita triangles or crackers.

Related Links and Recipes

Marinated Feta

Panzanella Salad

8 Tips for using & choosing olive oil

Roasted Feta (Matt Bites)

Cucumber Salad with Mint and Feta (Simply Recipes)

Chopped Vegetable, Watermelon, and Feta Salad (Smitten Kitchen)

Watermelon & Feta Salad (Amateur Gourmet)

Stuffed Mushrooms with Feta and Olives (Kalyn’s Kitchen)

33 comments

  • I’ve only just heard of the very same cookbook, and here you are with a beautiful recipe from it. Roll on summer downunder – I”ll definately be making this many times, and munching down the lot. Thanks once again David

  • rhaaa :)
    the wheather is getting steamy here and i’m just craving fresh feta and cucumber like that, your picture is a torture in itself :)

    Is this lavash bread on the right ?

  • Love it
    Great food
    Great images
    Really nice work

  • I just got this book in the mail yesterday! You’re right, everything in it is amazing — and since I’ve organized a potluck (tomorrow!), this salad is right on time!

  • I’m fortunate enough to have been able to watch Joanne’s show in the Chicago area. Everything she makes has the the same appeal as this dish: simple, beautiful, with fresh ingredients.
    Interesting about the DOP standard. I’ll have to check my market to see what they’re selling.
    Love your photography!

  • Oh this is GORGEOUS. This is my favourite kind of food too – flavours that know their own mind and are all in love with each other! Beautifully fresh and summery. I’ve never heard of the book but now I really, really want it and I’m off to track it down….

  • Breakfast, I hear you calling …

  • This is my favorite kind of food, too, and make me think I’d be very happy living somewhere on the Mediterranean. Or northern California.
    Good for Greece getting the protective label. Poor feta has been used and abused so much…. I suspect many people who think they don’t like feta might like the real thing.
    Delicious, David.

  • Mmmmm. I usually like the really hard blocks of sharp Feta in their watery brine…yours looks really soft. I will have to search for some of that…..I wondered when I first saw the pic if there was yogurt in this salad. It looks so delicious!

    I love your blog and style of writing, you make me laugh! :-)

  • Mickle once more – this will be wonderful using an apple cucumber, the only type my Mum can cope with. Will result in white cucumber flesh in the mix so I can have fun with green herbs etc…. ta muchly, dear David

  • I will be trying that when I get back home to my cucumbers. I wonder what the DOP deignation will do for Valbresso, my favourite feta. They may have to change the name I am guessing?

  • Okay, I’m convinced and just ordered the book! (So much for my don’t-buy-more-cookbooks plan!) I also love this type of cooking with fresh food, lots of herbs, and anything with Feta would get my vote. I would love to meet Joanne Weir, she seems so great on TV.

    BTW, my favorite feta is a sheep’s milk variety from France, and maybe it’s just that the U.S. ignores the rules about country of origin, but it’s still labeled feta. I wonder about that every time I buy it.

  • David, I’ve been following your blog for quite some time and felt it was about time I made a comment… first off, I love feta so this is going on the Must Make Soon list.

    And second, I’ve got a group of bloggers who are going to be making ice cream each week from your book The Perfect Scoop and blogging about it – we’re calling ourselves the Sunday Slow Scoopers (most of us met through the Slow Travel website, hence the “slow” designation). We’re all really looking forward to it.

  • Salad sounds very good..I like the idea of the olives as an addition. Would you use kalamata?..those would be my choice I think. I’m not olive wise, though.

    It’s PDO.

    I would use kalamata, but might rinse them first so they’re not so strong. Green olives would be nice, too. Since the cheese is Greek, I changed the designation to the Greek symbol! – dl

  • David,

    I love your blog. It´s added.
    Congratulations!

    Ricardo Escandon

  • This salad looks so delicious. I never get tired of increasing my repertoire of great summer salads. Thanks! I’ll have to get the book as well. It sounds awesome.

  • All right Mr. Lebovitz, you have officially been elevated to “ICE CREAM DEITY” status at our house. First, your blog inspired me to get the bowls out of the freezer where they had been chilling for a year. Or two. I tried the frozen yogurt recipe from The Perfect Scoop, using greek yogurt from Monoprix. Heaven. Next, the creme fraiche. O as my kids say, MG. Today, I made the chocolate. EEEK. Thank god the freezer bowl isn’t any bigger. I don’t seem to have the problem of storing ice cream and having it get rock hard because we always finish it off. Now if you can give me a clue how to make the creme renverse from Au Pied de Fouet, my life will be complete.

  • I am positively drooling as I read this. My hubby adores feta and I think I’ll treat him with this salad over the weekend. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’ll be sure to add From Tapas to Meze to my growing collection.

  • Made this last night with some soft chevre. The fam loved it.

  • This is such a fantastic salad and so easy to make too. I’m sure it’ll be a big hit at my sunday bbq lunch. Thanks.

  • David,
    Why is it every time you mention a cook book, I always end up buying the book?
    I remember her cooking show years back, and didn’t think of own her book. Now that you’ve mentioned her, I feel like I must have the book!

  • This is such a wonderful recipe that simply validates my tastebuds and all that I do in my kitchen :o) I’d add in garbanzo beans, David. ooooo can’t wait. *skip*

  • Thanks for sharing the recipe and the tips about the book. I love this type of stuff…so I will definately take your advice and try it!

  • I have to agree on Tapas to Meze. Back in the ice ages when everyone (well, anyone who was anyone…ha) was in San Francisco, I was lucky enough to jump into several cooking sessions with Joanne Weir at Tante Marie’s. What a blast. And you are on the mark. Her books are a must have… even in France.

  • david….this is amazing! the whole family enjoyed it last night.
    it was truly a ‘farmers market’ recipe….even found a super creamy cow’s milk feta.
    i HAVE to find this cook book!

  • OK – I’ve just made this and I can’t stop scooping it out of the mixing bowl!

    Thanks for the recipe and the book recommendation :-)

  • I made this last night and I am writing about it on my (new) blog today. I’m a longtime reader and fan and this salad was simply superb. Thanks for sharing!!

  • I can’t wait to make this. And I found the book on ebay and just ordered it. Cheers!

  • Oh I am *so* going to make this! Cucumber and feta is such a great combo and I love all the fresh herbs. Thanks for sharing!

  • This salad sounds really good! I like all of the fresh herbs in it!

  • wow. I made this for guests this weekend and it was a hit! and it is now my favorite cucumber salad. thanks for sharing it!

  • I love this salad too, with a passion! Basically it’s tzaziki made with feta instead of yogurt (or where I live, labaneh). The only difference is that usually some minced garlic is added instead of the sweet red onion. I’ll try it with onion too, looks good…

  • David,

    I adore making this salad for all my Summer parties. Everyone raves and asks for the recipe. You’re the best best- your recipes tickle my palette (in the good way) at least once a month! Please continue sharing your culinary journey.