Salad Shirazi is a light and easy Persian salad that is a delicious alternative to the usual side dishes. It’s refreshing, healthy and very simple to make.
Update: This post was first published on Dec 5, 2015. It’s now updated.
Who’s in for a healthy, light and flavorful salad? Salad Shirazi is going to be your new favorite salad!
Of all the side dishes in Persian cuisine, salad Shirazi is indeed my all time favorite. This Persian cucumber and tomato salad is a side dish and its citrusy flavor compliments the main dish without being overpowering or even filling. Salad Shirazi is usually served with rice dishes or heavy meat dishes to balance the flavors.
How to make Salad Shirazi
Making this Iranian salad is pretty simple. You need a few ingredients including cucumbers, tomatoes and red onion. There are usually more cucumbers in the salad than tomatoes and red onions. I advise not to use too much red onion as it might overpower other ingredients. Chop all the ingredients and place them in a bowl. Next, add in lemon juice, dried mint, salt and pepper. Dried mint brings so much flavor to this simple salad and that’s what makes it different from every other salad you’ve had.
Salad Shirazi has two words: Salad, which is what we call salad in Farsi and Shirazi which means from Shiraz, a city in the south west of Iran, located in Fars province. I’ve been to Shiraz only once but I can easily say it’s one of the most beautiful cites in Iran. With all its flowers and amazing weather, Shiraz is a must visit in spring.
As far as I know, this Persian salad originated from Shiraz and through years it has made its way to many tables around the world. It’s probably the fresh flavor and crisp texture of this salad that has made it one of the staples in Persian cuisine, not to mention the simplicity and its quick preparation time that makes it a perfect healthy side dish on the busy days.
What to serve Salad Shirazi with?
Salad Shirazi is usually served with Persian rice dishes and main courses such as Adas Polo (Persian Lentil Rice) as a side dish. It can also be served with many non-Persian dishes such as roasted chicken, tacos, Mexican rice and much more. The acidity and freshness of this salad pairs well with many different dishes and brings more flavor to the table.
Notes and tips to make salad Shirazi:
- This salad is best served chilled. Make it a couple of hours ahead of time and refrigerate it so the vegetables absorb the flavors of the dressing. Sometimes, vegetables starts releasing their juice and that’s fine.
- To make this Persian salad, you need to use seedless cucumbers or ones with very small seeds like Persian or English cucumbers. These cucumbers also have very delicate skin so no peeling is needed. If using regular cucumbers, peel and deseed them.
- You can find dried mint at Middle Eastern or Iranian shops. If you don’t have dried mint, 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint would work, too.
- Tomatoes, cucumbers and onions are usually chopped very finely for salad Shirazi. Chopping the veggies into very small pieces would help them absorb more flavor.
If you’re planning to bring more Iranian dishes into your usual menu and eat more Persian food this year, this is a great place to start. The flavors aren’t uncommon but they’re actually elevated thanks to the addition of dried mint.
This is the year of Persian food for us and I hope you start enjoying Persian and Middle Eastern food as much as we do.
Here are some more recipes for you:
- Persian Appetizer Platter
- Greek Chickpea Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad
- Mediterranean Salad Recipe
- Tzatziki Recipe (Greek Cucumber Sauce)
- Traditional Greek Salad Recipe
- Turkish Tomato Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad
Tools used to make this recipe:
Salad Shirazi (Persian Cucumber Tomato Salad)
- 3 Persian or English Cucumbers
- 1/2 Red Onion
- 2 Tomatoes
- 4 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp Dried Mint
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- Cut the cucumbers, onion and tomatoes into very small pieces.
- Mix them in a bowl and drizzle lemon juice.
- Add in dried mint, salt and pepper. Toss to combine the salad with the dressing.
- Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour and then serve.
- Some would also add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the salad, but this is optional.
- You can use lime juice instead of lemon juice.
- You can refrigerate and use the leftovers for up to 2 days.
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