Food

This Salad Is One Reader’s Cure for Homesickness

Greek salad with shrimp

Today, our month of reader recipes continues with a twist on Greek dakos salad from Julianna, a menswear merchant from New York City. “My family is Greek and has owned Greek restaurants since immigrating to America. A Greek food purist might laugh that I call it a dakos salad because it’s made with torn bread and not barley rusks, but I think it’s a close comparison!” Here’s how to make it…

Greek salad with shrimp

Greek Shrimp Salad with Quick Tzatziki

Julianna first shared this recipe on a post about Alex’s 10-minute salmon sandwich. “This is my go-to meal when I’m burned out, missing my family and want something that feels like it took effort but cooks up in the time it takes for me to finish my post-work glass of wine.”

You’ll need:

Shrimp
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Lemon juice
Red pepper flakes
Bread crusts
Tomato
Red onion
Feta
Red wine vinegar
Spinach

For quick tzatziki sauce:
Greek yogurt
Shredded cucumber
Garlic
Olive oil
Spices (salt, pepper, oregano, dill) as desired

Pan fry shrimp with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. While that’s grilling, tear up some bread crusts, chop a tomato and red onion, and crumble feta into a bowl. Once the shrimp is done cooking, dump them and the pan juices over it all and top with red wine vinegar. Add some spinach and mix. To make the tzatziki, shred a bit of cucumber and mince some garlic into Greek yogurt; add some olive oil and whatever spices you love (salt, pepper, oregano or dill) and let it sit before dressing the salad.

Thank you so much, Julianna! What are your family’s signature dinners?

P.S. More recipes, including shrimp and ginger stir fry and lemony soup with white beans.

(Photos by Ali Stafford for Cup of Jo. Thanks to Franny Eremin for helping with this series.)

  1. Cynthia Lee says...

    I am a terrible cook. I need specific guidelines with respect to temperature, amounts, etc.. This salad looked so good. I attempted to make it over the weekend, and I guesstimated, but alas it turned out terrible. Is there any way the recipe could be reprinted in a “for klutz” version? I need to redeem myself with my husband.

  2. k says...

    I just eat the tails too!

  3. Paige says...

    I made this for dinner tonight! My husband says its his new favorite salad! A big compliment- he’s kind of a meat/burritos/pasta kind of guy. Delish!!

    His other favorite salad is what he calls a “Watsonville Salad”. We live near Watsonville, California where there is tons of Mexican food and taquerias. We tear up some romaine lettuce, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, some carnitas (that we pick up from a Taqueria or Mexican grocery store) and drizzle it with Brianna’s poppyseed salad dressing and crumble some tortilla chips on it. If we have one handy, we also add chunks of avocado. Yum!

  4. Not gonna lie, I really wish I could have that for lunch today. Looks very appetizing.

  5. jeannie says...

    Yum. :)

  6. Catie says...

    Feta selection can also elevate this to a whole new level. If you can find one made with sheep’s milk (instead of cow’s milk…in the US, if it doesn’t specify, it’s likely cow), the cheese is mind-blowingly better. It’s pricier, but worth it if a cheese splurge fits in your budget!

    • Julianna says...

      Hi Catie- I totally agree! Extra special imported feta is always a must for me when I make this recipe. It can be a splurge- especially when I was just starting out in the fashion industry and on a very tight budget- but it’s one I made when I needed to be reminded of home. My Papou used to ship in barrels of real Greek feta so he could have the real stuff and he’d hack off a chunk for me to keep at home. I’d eat it by the forkful!

    • Georgia says...

      Lol Julianna Papous are the best, aren’t they? I also think it’s worth it to splurge for the stuff in brine…anything else is WAY too dry.

  7. Uh this looks amazing. trying to clean up my diet a bit and a salad with shrimp looks perfect.

  8. Georgia says...

    I’m laughing because as a Greek food purist this is definitely not a Dakos salad BUT it does look delicious! Also FYI for everyone- the rusks can often be found at middle eastern food stores, Queens in NYC and at the little markets some of the Greek churches host on Sunday’s after services.

  9. Lindsay says...

    Looks so delicious, thanks! I use a food52 recipe I love for grilled shrimp do I’ll make this salad with it

    • Chika says...

      Would you mind sharing which food52 recipe you use? Inquiring cook would love to know ;)

  10. Nicola says...

    My mum was a closet vegetarian when I was young- she cooked us meat but secretly didn’t eat it (!) One of her favourite vegetarian dinners has become my weeknight go-to:
    1. Empty your fridge of roastable vegetables (pumpkin, potato, peppers, zucchini), the sadder the better! Put on a pan with oil and salt and roast.
    2. While that’s happening, in a small pot, melt peanut butter, then add soy, chilli (sirarcha) fresh ginger and fish sauce.
    3. Drizzle sauce over veggies and serve, maybe with some brown rice if you have it.

    Whenever I make it I feel like I’m instantly transported back to my mum’s kitchen.

    • Sara Campbell says...

      I ate a version of this in university, and it’s still my comfort food. Mine was stir fried veg & tofu + homemade peanut sauce,

    • Lorena says...

      Your mum’s sauce sounds delicious! I would love to know the ratios of the ingredients. Yum!

  11. Kelsey says...

    I have to chime in to suggest one extra ingredient for the tzatziki: white wine vinegar (lemon juice also works–and already on hand for the shrimp).

    After visiting my husband’s family in Kavala, I tried to replicate tzatziki at home. For the longest time I could not figure out why tzatziki recipes didn’t taste authentic. For a while I thought it must have something to do with the yogurt. Turns out the key is a little acidity. Add a little vinegar or lemon juice to taste!

    • kate says...

      I second this- when I read the tzatziki recipe my first thought was “but where’s the lemon?!”

  12. CaraM says...

    My favorite family-friendly comfort food dish is One Pot Butternut Mac and Cheese – you can make it in less than 15 minutes and everyone in my family (including a picky toddler loves it). It uses low-fat milk, dijon, nutmeg, onion powder, butternut squash, elbow pasta, sharp cheddar (low-fat or whole), and chives. Easy cheesy. It serves a crowd and who doesn’t love a one pot dish on a cold night when you want to cozy up to a fire.

    • Lisa says...

      yum! I want this recipe!

    • Gina Dwyer says...

      I want the recipe too!! :)

    • Emm says...

      THIS PLEASE!

    • CaraM says...

      Hi Gina and Lisa, happy to share! Feel free to take liberties where you want (you could easily use full-fat ingredients or add mushrooms/broccoli/peas), but the core recipe is this:

      1) Get out your soup pot. A dutch oven also works! Combine 2 cups of milk (2% or whole) with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp onion powder, a pinch of nutmeg, 10 oz of pasta (elbow or another fun shape) and a cup of water. If you are fancy, try grating in fresh nutmeg, it just tastes better. Cook over medium/high heat and be sure to stir constantly for about 3-4 minutes (you’ll see bubbles form around the edge). Then reduce your heat to medium/low (be careful not to let it come to boil, just a gentle simmer).

      2) Continue to cook and stir it pretty frequently, until the pasta is tender, and the liquid gets saucy. This can take between 12-15 minutes. Stir in 10 oz. of pureed squash for a minute. I buy the canned version at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. You could also puree your own – but who has time for that?

      3) Turn off the heat, add 1 cup of sharp cheddar. Get fancy if you want. Go full-fat, or vegan, or 2%. Add a bit at a time (handful) and stir until it is melted before adding more.

      4) Serve with some chopped chives. I like it with hot sauce. In Colorado, this is the season of roasted pueblo chilis, you could throw those in. The sky is the limit! If you want to add some sophistication, put it in a casserole dish, mix some fresh grated parm regg and panko crumbs, and spray lightly with olive oil and throw in the oven until brown. Or just steal bites out of the one pot like I do! It reminds me of a warm hug.

      My husband and visiting nieces love it when I put out dishes of various toppings or add-ins (kind of like a mac n’ cheese bar). My toddler loves it with peas and bacon!

    • Elise says...

      Yum! Thank you:)

  13. Ginny says...

    This is perhaps my favorite food series yet. I made the KSB last week the day you posted it, and it was a hit with all of my family—my kale-averse husband, 4 year old, and 14 month old! Can’t wait to try this one.

    • Toni says...

      100% AGREE!
      I made the KSB last week too and it was such a hit with my husband that we’re making it again this week!

  14. Colleen S. says...

    Sounds great, except for the shrimp. Like my grandma, we hate the texture.

  15. Maria says...

    Very cute, heart-warming post. Thanks :)

  16. Sarah says...

    I could just picture Julianna eating this in her dining room, natural light coming in, taking a bite of salad and then grabbing a piece of shrimp by hand, leaving the tail behind. This is comfort food at its finest.

  17. Carrie says...

    What would be a yummy vegetarian substitute for the shrimp?

    • Julianna says...

      Hi Carrie! I would swap the shrimp with either chickpeas or white beans if you wanted a vegetarian option that still feels filling. Hope you enjoy it!

    • Twyla says...

      I vote for roasted butternut squash!

    • C. says...

      tofu? or roasted vegetables maybe?

    • Kelly says...

      I think oyster mushrooms would be great. They have a chewy texture and will become smoky if cooked on high heat.

  18. Daniela says...

    This looks so good! We’ve been doing grilled cheese lately, with a twist. Just throw some cheese between bread and then make in a waffle iron, it’s so good. Perfect for lazy dinners with some fruit.

    • Kelly says...

      Cup of Jo has posted some great grilled cheese recipes before! There’s one with kale and caramelized onions and another with apple and grainy dijon mustard.

    • Min says...

      For a grilled cheese that tastes like a cheeseburger, add relish! It sounds crazy, but it’s sooo good!

  19. looks like heaven!

  20. Claire says...

    OH I want to make this! it looks really good! I would love to serve it with some homemade soup too.

  21. JB says...

    Looks delicious! Do you have a good source for peeled, deveined wild shrimp? The only ones I can find are farmed.

  22. Amy Fallon says...

    I love all the recipes. Have you considered publishing a cookbook ?

    • Ginny says...

      I third this idea!! I’d preorder a cookbook of Cup of Jo reader dinners in a second.

  23. t says...

    This looks amazing! I have to say that I am selective about store bought tzatziki but i love Whole Foods’ tzatziki.

    Also shrimp tails in food befuddle me as I struggle to remove them. am i the only one?

    • Sharon says...

      I take the tails off before putting them in any dish. If I have a lot of tails (and/or shells) I make shrimp stock.

    • Amy says...

      Yeah, I always peel them before adding them to a dish. I know I can just lightly bite the tail with the shrimp in my mouth and then pull the tail off with my fingers, but I’d rather just eat the meal instead of pausing to do that every minute or so.

    • Emily says...

      Wait, what? Shrimp stock? I feel like this is going to be a game changer!

    • Jill says...

      Yepperdoo, I take the tails off before incorporating them into a dish. Idonthavetimeforthat! ;))

    • JenMarie says...

      Am I the only person that eats shrimp tails? I find them crunchy and delicious.

  24. Abby Archer says...

    We love doing enchiladas. So easy to do variations with ground turkey, sweet potatoes, spinach, butternut squash, black beans. And our kids love them!

  25. Kate says...

    This looks delightful! I love this series!

    • Carrie says...

      Me too! I hope they keep it going for a long time. It’s such a neat way to involve readers plus they pick such awesome, easy recipes to showcase!