If I had to pick my favourite salad, it has to be this Persian Shirazi Salad, also known as Salad-e Shirazi in Farsi.
You only need 3 ingredients for the base and it tastes so good with literally everything! It’s sour, fresh and very popular to serve as a side dish.
Two very popular Persian dishes this salad pairs well with are Makaroni (Persian Spaghetti) and Persian Rice with Tahdig.
The simplicity is the best part of a Shirazi salad. You’ll only need cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions.
Take some time and dice everything into tiny cubes, which is a little therapeutic in my eyes. Then toss in the dressing and it’s ready to go.
I’ve been eating Shirazi Salad since childhood, so I might be a little biased here as it’s in my veins, hehe. But in all honesty, I think it will be your new go-to as it pairs well with any meal!
What is a Shirazi Salad
Shirazi salad or in Farsi (Persian language) called Salad-e Shirazi, originated and adopted its name from a city called Shiraz located in Iran.
The main ingredients are tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions diced into tiny cubes topped with herbs. The dressing is made with olive oil, Ab Ghooreh (an unripe sour grape juice), and salt.
This is the most popular salad in Iran and makes the perfect side dish to complement any meal.
Ingredients to make Shirazi Salad
- Cucumbers, it's important to use Persian cucumbers (or Lebanese) as they are crisper, full of flavor and are less watery.
If you cant access these, you can use regular or English cucumbers. I would suggest to remove the seeds as they are usually quite large and can be watery.
- Tomatoes, make sure they are medium firmness, as too hard will have no flavor and too soft will be mushy when diced. Roma or regular tomatoes will do fine
- Red onion is a perfect addition for its sweetness and taste. In this recipe I use less onion than normal, so adjust the quantity based on your preference. Spring onions can also be used as a substitute.
- Lemon - traditionally Ab Ghooreh (unripe sour grape juice) is used for the dressing. It is sometimes harder to find, so I’ve used lemon juice here. Lime juice can also work
- Fresh mint is my herb of choice. Traditionally dried mint is used, however I prefer using fresh herbs. If you're not a fan of mint, I would suggest using fresh Parsley over cilantro or dill
How to make Shirazi Salad
Time needed: 10 minutes.
There are many versions of the Shirazi salad with small differences, as this salad is also very popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. This recipe uses cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion as the core ingredients.
- Prepare ingredients
Dice cucumbers into small cubes. Next chop tomatoes into similar-sized cubes
Then dice the onion into small pieces
- Add Dressing
Add all ingredients to a large bowl and pour over olive oil and lemon juice then season with salt
Top with fresh mint, mix together and allow it to sit for 10-15 mintues before serving
Serve alongside so many dishes such as rice, stews, seafood and meats. I also like adding some chickpeas or even cooked lentils to make it a vegan main meal.
Tips Persian Salad Recipe
- It's best to dress the salad 15 minutes before serving. This allows the salad to absorb the beautiful sour flavours and still say crunchy and fresh
- To avoid the salad becoming watery, you can de-seed the tomatoes. You can always add the seeds to a soup or another dish
- I have only used ½ a red onion as I personally don’t like a very strong onion flavour, however you can increase the amount
- If you’re like me and don’t like the harsh onion flavour, once diced, soak in a small bowl of water for 10 minutes. This leaves a subtle onion taste, which still packs a punch
More Salad Recipes
- 3 Persian or Lebanese cucumbers
- 2 tomatoes
- ½ red onion
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium lemon squeezed (approx 4-5 tbsp) or traditionally Ab Ghooreh (unripe sour grape juice)
- Handful fresh mint
- Salt to taste
- Dice cucumbers, tomatoes into small cubes, approximately the same size
- Dice onion into small cubes. I prefer to dice them into smaller sized cubes and soak in water for 10 minutes so the taste isn’t as strong
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and pour over the olive oil and lemon juice then season with salt Top with fresh mint, mix together and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving