Shirazi Salad, or Salad-e Shirazi, is a simple and bright Persian cucumber and tomato salad that's loaded with herbs and dressed in citrus and extra virgin olive oil! This quick no-lettuce salad is the perfect side to almost any entree.
A few tips make all the difference, so be sure to read on.
Shirazi Salad, or Salad-e Shriazi, is a simple Persian cucumber and tomato salad that hails from the beautiful city of Shiraz in southwestern Iran.
At first glance, it looks a whole lot like my earlier Mediterranean cucumber and tomato salad. The similarities are definitely there!
But, think of this Shirazi salad as Mediterranean salad's cousin, only a bit more nuanced. This salad uses a couple more ingredients. Plus, it's a bit herbier, juicier, and has slightly more zing.
You'll love how simple it is, yet so bright and packed with flavor! It's the perfect addition next to almost any entree.
Shirazi Salad Ingredients
There are a few Persian restaurants in the Atlanta area that my family frequents. Every time we're out for Persian food, I always order a side of Shirazi salad next to my kubideh kabobs, which are quite similar to grilled kofta. And I've noticed, each chef has their own take or twist on this Persian cucumber and tomato salad.
Traditional Shriazi Salad, as my Persian friends pointed out, includes: cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions. For seasoning, salt, pepper, and dried mint. And for the citrus, they use sour grape extract or juice, also called ab-e-ghooreh.
This is a slightly different version, my own modern twist with a few additions I think you'll love!
Here's what you need to make this version of Shirazi Salad:
- Tomatoes: I used 3 larger Roma tomatoes. Pick tomatoes that are firm but have a little bit of give to them. Although some recipes require you to remove tomato seeds, you do not have to. Tip: If you're tomatoes are too juicy or extra ripe, once you dice them, throw them in a colander to get rid of excess liquid.
- Cucumbers: Use 1 large English cucumber or 3 to 4 small Persian cucumbers. Tip: Both varieties are seedless, sweeter in taste, and have soft skin so you won't need to peel them. Do not use slicing cucumbers, which have a thick, waxy skin and can be bitter in flavor.
- Onions: In this recipe, I use about ¼ to ½ a medium-sized red onion. Tip: Try to chop the onions as finely as possible. If you prefer to use shallots, which are less pungent, that will work also.
- Green Bell Pepper. This is completely optional, but I do feel it adds some crunch and extra flavor. I used only ½ a green bell pepper, seeded and chopped.
- Mint: This is what truly distinguishes Salad-e Shirazi. Traditionally, dried, crushed mint is what's used here. I often use both dry mint and fresh mint, if available. Tip: if dry mint is not available to you, you can use about ½ cup chopped fresh mint.
- Fresh Herbs: I've seen Shriazi salads with just mint (dry or fresh), but I've also tasted some that include a variety of fresh herbs, which I really like. In this version, I use about 2 tbsp each parsley, dill, and cilantro. You can use just one of the three herbs or any combination that's available to you. This is completely optional.
- Seasoning: Aside from a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper, I like to use about 1 teaspoon of sumac. Sumac is beautiful deep red spice which comes from sumac berries. It's ever so present on the Persian table (and is used in a variety of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods.) Sumac adds depth and a certain tang that is different from what you'll find in lemon or lime juice. It's completely optional, but I highly recommend it. You can find all-natural sumac here at our online shop.
-Dressing: Shirazi salad, much like many Mediterranean salads, does not require much but citrus and quality extra virgin olive oil.
Because ab-e-ghooreh (sour grape juice), which is traditionally used, is not easily available, I used juice of 2 limes in this recipe. Then I added a generous drizzle of Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil. The rich, herby undertones of Early Harvest EVOO really enhance this salad. (Find Early Harvest EVOO at our online shop here.)
How to Make Shirazi Salad (Persian Cucumber and Tomato Salad): A Few Tips
This cucumber and tomato salad is super easy to make. As easy as 1, 2, 3
1. Chop or Small Dice The Veggies
For this salad, you need to either small dice or chop cucumbers, tomatoes, green bell peppers, and onions. Not quite as small as we do with tabouli, but more like Mexican pico de gallo your cucumbers and tomatoes should be around ¼-inch pieces. The chopped veggies will quickly marinate and take on the beautiful herbs and citrus from the lime juice!
It's best to use ripe tomatoes, but avoide extra ripe tomatoes that may be too soft. And like I mentioned earlier, a good first step, if you're not seeding your tomatoes (which I do not do) is to place them in a colander to allow them to drain a bit of their juice before combining with the rest of the veggies.
For the cucumbers, as mentioned earlier, it's best to use seedless cucumbers, English cucumbers or Persian cucumbers, which do not require peeling. If you can't find either and need to use regular slicing cucumbers, be sure to peel them and remove the seeds.
2. Add in Herbs and Seasoning
The main herb to use here is dry mint. If you can't find dry mint, use ½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped. I like to use a combination of parsley, dill and parsley in addition (finely chopped as well.) To season a good pinch of kosher salt, black pepper, and about 1 tsp sumac (optional, but highly recommended.)
3. Dress the Salad & Toss to Combine
No need to make a dressing in a separate bowl here. Just add lime juice and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (I used Early Harvest Greek EVOO.) Toss to combine.
A couple last tips
- If you like this salad more on the crunchy side, don't dress it with the lime juice and olive oil until you're ready to serve.
- For a juicier, bolder salad, go ahead and dress the Shirazi salad, then cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors to meld.
What to Serve with Salade Shirazi?
This salad is super bright and versatile, I love serving it with all sorts of entrees. It's great for a simple soup and salad type lunch maybe as a strater to a bowl of warm lentil soup.
Looking for more salads? Browse our selection of Mediterranean salads here.
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Shirazi Salad, or Salad-e Shirazi, is a simple and bright Persian cucumber and tomato salad that's loaded with herbs and dressed in lime juice and extra virgin olive oil! This quick no-lettuce salad is the perfect side to almost any entree.
Read the full post for additional tips and suggestions for what to serve along!
- 3 Roma tomatoes, small diced
- 1 English cucumber (or 4 small Persian cucumbers), small diced
- ¼ to ½ cup finely chopped onions (red or yellow onions will work here)
- ½ green bell pepper (optional), chopped into small pieces
- 2 to 3 tbsp EACH chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, and dill
- 1 tbsp dried mint (or ½ cup chopped fresh mint)
- Salt and pepper
- Sumac, to taste (optional)
- Juice of 2 large limes (4 tbsp)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil)
- Place diced tomatoes for a few minutes in a colander to release excess liquid. (I don't remove the seeds, so this step helps.)
- In a large bowl, place the diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and bell peppers.
- To flavor, add fresh herbs, dried mint, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add sumac (I started with 1 tsp). Finally, add lime juice, and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Toss to combine.
- If you have the time, cover and chill this salad in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour for best taste.
- Cook's Tip #1: Vegetables for this salad need to be diced very small or chopped. This is not just for looks, but also texture and flavor as the small-diced/chopped veggies will quickly absorb flavor.
- Cook's Tip #2: If you like this salad more on the crunchy side, don't dress it with the lime juice and olive oil until you're ready to serve. If you'd like the veggies to marinate a little bit, for a juicier, flavorful salad, then go ahead and add the lime juice and olive oil. Cover and chill the salad for 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors to meld.
- Cook's Tip #3: Sumac is a wonderful deep red spice which comes from sumac berries. It's used quite often in Persian and Mediterranean cooking to add depth and a pleasant tang. It's optional for this recipe, but I highly recommend adding it if you can.
- Visit our Online Store to browse our extra virgin olive oils and all-natural spices including sumac and more!
- Category: Salad
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: Persian
Keywords: Shirazi Salad, Cucumber and Tomato Salad, Persian Salad