Shirazi Salad, or Persian cucumber tomato salad, is a combination of crisp cucumbers, ripe tomatoes, sharp onions, and fresh herbs ~ If you’ve had pico de gallo, Israeli salad, or even a good old Southern tomato salad, you already have an inkling of refreshingly delicious this is going to be.
Today I’ve teamed up with a talented group of bloggers for their latest installment of Project Design, an ongoing series that gathers together bloggers from different sectors around a common theme ~ this month it’s Summer Salads You’ll Want to Make Right Now and I’m honored to be a part of it. You know I love my salads, so let’s dive right in!
Wherever fresh vegetables are gown (and that’s just about everywhere,) there is a salad like this that celebrates them. Shirazi salad hails from the Middle East, and it’s served in some form or another in every region. The simple formula is endlessly variable depending on how you chop it, which herbs you add, and how you dress it. (See my Israeli Chopped Salad for an example.) The cucumber/ tomato/onion trio is the through line.
This recipe is proof (as if you needed it) that the best summer food is not fussy. With just a knife, a bowl, and clean hands, you’ve got this!
This salad is often served chopped in a very small dice, and I think I’ll try that sometime, but I love the bigger chunks in my version, it really shows off the colors and textures of the ingredients. Of course I decided to use heirloom tomatoes as well as classic reds.
Using a combination of red, colorful heirloom, and cherry tomatoes gives this salad a nice visual interest as well as a variety of flavors, textures, and acidity levels.
Small Persian cucumbers (you can use English or pickling cukes, too) are perfect for this salad because they don’t need to be peeled, and they have smaller seeds. They’re less watery so they stay nice and crunchy, too. I halve them lengthwise and slice in chunks. Traditional shirazi salads often call for decoratively peeling the cucumbers in lengthwise stripes ~ just run your peeler down the cuke leaving long stripes of the peel in between.
Of all the world cuisines I’ve explored on The View from Great Island, I get most of my inspiration from Mediterranean recipes. Here in Los Angeles our climate is identical to many of the countries along the Mediterranean Sea, and so recipes from that region are a natural fit for me. But in the warmer months most of us can get our hands on really fabulous produce for this kind of salad. If you have your own vegetable garden you’re golden, but a good supermarket or farmers market will do the trick, too.
You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that making a big bowl of fresh salad every few days can go a long way towards replenishing what your body needs. I think the key to keeping salads interesting is to pay attention to the extras ~ in this case that’s fresh herbs and a citrusy dressing. Here I’ve used fresh mint and dill, and enough of each to make a statement. Fresh squeezed lime juice and extra virgin olive oil make a memorable dressing.
Other Mediterranean salads to try from tvfgi ~
Heirloom Caprese Tomato Salad with Kalamata Vinaigrette (the kalamata vinaigrette is worth the price of admission)
Mediterranean Bean Salad ~ the most popular salad on the blog.
Falafel Salad Bowl ~ this main course salad is full of protein, and gorgeous to boot.
- 1/2 small or 1/4 large red onion
- 2 small Persian cucumbers
- approximately 4 cups chopped tomatoes, this can be a mix of regular, heirloom, and cherries.
- 2 heaped Tbsp chopped fresh chives
- 2 heaped Tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 2 heaped Tbsp chopped fresh dill
- Slice the onion in 1/4 inch slices, and then cut the slices in half to make manageable sized pieces. Soak the onions in cold water for at least 15 minutes while you assemble the rest of the salad. This helps reduce the sharpness of the onion.
- Cut the cucumbers in half the long way, and then into 1 inch chunks. Add to a large shallow salad bowl along with the tomatoes and fresh herbs. Drain and add the onions.
- Whisk the dressing together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately. (You may not need all of the dressing.)
Make this shirazi salad your own ~
- Make it more substantial by adding olives, feta cheese, or chickpeas.
- Make it with parsley or cilantro in addition to or instead of the dill, mint, and chives.
- Make it spicy ~ add sumac to the dressing, or, as a commenter below suggests, Aleppo pepper.
Now hop over to see what these other lovely ladies have in their salad bowls ~