Don’t let the simplicity of this classic Persian Cucumber and Tomato Salad, Shirazi Salad, fool you. It is full of flavor and makes a colorful and healthy side dish to any meal.
Not all salads are created equal. I admit that there are times that I really do not want to eat healthy. And when you are a parent, you do your best to model good eating habits. For our family, that means a salad is served with our evening dinner.
Our salads can be simple leafy concoctions to adding more color by including seasonal ingredients. But one salad that the whole family loves is this easy Persian salad, Shirazi salad.
Why this recipe is so great
Many people equate the simple tomato cucumber salad with the Greek version. Considering that all of these mediterranean and middle eastern countries are easily influencing each other’s cultures and menus, there are many similarities.
The Shirazi salad is made with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions. It is mixed with fresh parsley, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Very easy and simple, but really quite delicious.
Some people like to finely chop the ingredients, while others like it chunkier. My husband likes to use mint, but it is more commonly mixed with parsley. I prefer to use fresh parsley, but you can use dried, as well.
When the kids were little, they didn’t like the bite of the onions, but now that they are older, they love it.
As I said before, there are modifications to this salad around the world. Greeks add feta to their salad. Indians sometimes add chili peppers to their salad, while Turkish cuisine includes long green peppers in theirs.
Here in California, I sometimes add chunks of avocado. And it also delicious with cooked quinoa mixed in.
Ingredients you need
- Persian cucumbers: Our first choice in cucumbers is to use the Persian varieties. They are crispier than the regular variety and aren’t riddled with seeds. The skin is also thinner and edible. You can also English cucumbers.
- Tomatoes: Any variety of tomatoes can be used in this salad. Just make sure they are tasty and flavorful. I have used big heirloom tomatoes and even small grape or cherry varieities.
- Red onion: When it comes to eating raw onions, we prefer red onions. But you can use any variety of onion or omit it if you do not like onions.
- Parsley: I typically use fresh parsley – the American curly or Italian flat leaf variety both work. Some people add fresh mint. You can also use dried parsley and/or mint.
- Extra virgin olive oil: The base of the salad dressing is made with extra virgin olive oil. Be sure to use an oil that is not rancid, so taste it by itself. You can use a mild or robust oil, depending on personal preference.
- Lemon juice: You use bottled lemon juice or freshly squeezed.
- Salt and pepper
1. Chop vegetables and herbs and put in a serving bowl.
2. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
3. Pour dressing over salad and mix well.
Recipe tips and FAQs
We love this salad with Persian kabob or any main dish like roasted chicken or even a smoked prime rib roast. We eat it all year round. And when you have sweet summer tomatoes, let the rainbow shine and make a real colorful salad.
It even makes a wonderful appetizer. Serve your salad Shirazi with pita bread or lavash.
To make a heartier salad, I like to mix in 1 to 1 ½ cups of cooked quinoa. The quinoa soaks up the dressing, so you will need to add more oil and lemon juice if you do mix in quinoa.
To make a light meal, mix in some chicken breast or shrimp. The options are only limited to your own imagination.
- 4 Persian cucumbers
- 3 medium tomatoes
- ¼ cup red onion
- 3 TBS chopped parsley
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 2 TBS lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- Chop vegetables and put in a serving bowl.
- Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
- Pour salad dressing and mix it evenly into the salad and serve.
Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 97Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 55mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g
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