Salad Shirazi (Persian Cucumber Tomato Salad)

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Ready in 10 minutes, Shirazi salad is a Persian cucumber tomato salad that’s easy to prepare and packed with flavors. This classic Iranian salad can be served with any main dish. 


Persian salad shirazi served on a plate with a fork on the side.


 

When it comes to appetizers and side dishes, I love going down the Persian route because it’s always fresh, light and flavorful. From our mouth-watering Persian appetizer platter and mast o khiar (yogurt and cucumber) to borani (mast esfenaj), everything is made with fresh and simple ingredients that you can find easily. This 10-minute salad shirazi is no exceptions and makes a delicious side to your main dishes.

About This Recipe

Each country has its own traditional salad. Greeks have horiatiki -Traditional Greek salad and Turks have Gavurdagi (Turkish walnut salad). And us Iranians have our beloved salad shirazi, a simple combination of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with an abundance of flavor.  

Salad shirazi contains 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. 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 great place to visit in the springtime. 


Salad Shirazi is a light and easy Persian salad that is a delicious alternative to the usual side dishes. It's refreshing, healthy and easy.

The Origins of Shirazi Salad

As far as I know, this Persian salad originated from Shiraz and through the 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 since it compliments the flavors of the main dishes very well. Also, its simplicity and quick preparation time makes it a perfect healthy side dish on busy days.


To make shirazi salad you need cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, dried mint, lemon and lime juice or verjuice.

Ingredients For Shirazi Salad

  • Cucumbers: We traditionally use Persian cucumbers to make this recipe since they are seedless and very crisp. However, if that’s not available, English cucumbers work as well, but make sure to scoop the seeds out. You want the cucumbers to be fresh and firm. There is no need to peel the cucumbers.
  • Tomatoes: Much the same as Turkish tomato salad, we are looking for fresh and firm tomatoes to make this recipe. Make sure they’re not too seedy and if they are, remove the soft seedy parts. The tomatoes are also going to be chopped finely. 
  • Onions: Red onions work best for this recipe. The amount of onion you use depends on how much you like them in your salad. I usually go for one small red onion or half of a larger one. 
  • Verjuice: These vegetables are combined with a simple dressing traditionally made with unripe or sour grape juice known as verjuice (ab-ghooreh). However, verjuice is not always available so for acidity and brightness we can simply use lemon or lime juice.
  • Seasoning: You only need dried mint, salt and pepper. Don’t skip the dried mint! Dried mint brings so much flavor to this simple salad and that’s what makes it different from every other salad you’ve had.

How To Make Shirazi Salad

Step 1: Chop the vegetables

Chop the cucumbers finely and add the to a bowl. Deseed the tomatoes and chop them as well. Add them to the cucumber with chopped red onions.

Chop the cucumbers, onions and tomatoes finely.

Step 2: Season

Add the verjuice (or lemon/lime juice), dried mint, salt and pepper to the vegetables.

Pour the verjuice, dried mint, salt and pepper.

Step 3: Mix and serve

Using a spoon, stir the salad and make sure every bit of vegetable is mixed into the dressing. Taste and add more salt, dried mint or verjuice if needed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve.

Mix and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

What To Serve with Shirazi Salad

Salad Shirazi is usually served with Persian rice dishes and main courses such as Adas Polo (Persian Lentil Rice), lubia polo (Persian green bean rice) or Meygoo polo (shrimp and rice) as a side dish.

This Persian cucumber tomato salad also makes a great side for grilled dishes such as zaatar chicken or beef shish kabob or street food such as arayes (Lebanese stuffed pitas)

The acidity and freshness of this salad pairs well with many different dishes and brings more flavor to the table.


Plump tomatoes and fresh cucumbers go well with red onion. This gluten free, vegetarian salad is perfect with any rice dish.

Storage

Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. It’s best to add some more verjuice or lemon juice to the salad right before serving.


Frequently asked questions

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

It’s best to make and serve this salad on the same day. I usually make it a couple of hours before serving and refrigerate it so the flavors combine.

Can I add other herbs to this salad?

There is no right or wrong when it comes to making a salad. However, classic salad shirazi doesn’t contain any herbs but dried mint. You can add fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro if desired, but it’s not going to be the classic.


Tips To Make The Best Shirazi Salad

  • This Persian 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 recipe 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.
  • You can find dried mint at Middle Eastern, Iranian shops or online. 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 this recipe. Chopping the veggies into very small pieces would help them absorb more flavor.

 Add some dried mint and lemon juice to this salad for maximum flavor.

More Salad Recipes


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4.84 from 65 votes

Shirazi Salad (Persian Cucumber Tomato Salad)

Shirazi salad is a Persian cucumber tomato salad that's easy to prepare and packed with flavors. This classic Persian salad can be served with any main dish. 
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
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Ingredients 

  • 3 Persian cucumbers
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice or verjuice, see notes
  • 1 tbsp Dried Mint
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions 

  • Chop the cucumbers, onion and tomatoes into very small pieces.
  • Mix them in a bowl and add the lemon juice or verjuice.  
  • Add in dried mint, salt and pepper. Toss to combine the salad with the dressing. Taste and add more salt or verjuice if needed.
  • Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour and then serve.

Video

Notes

  • You can add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the dressing if you like. 
  • It’s possible to use lime juice instead of lemon juice for this recipe. However, traditionally the recipe calls for verjuice (unripe grape juice).
  • You can refrigerate and use the leftovers for up to 2 days. 
  • 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. If you like the veggies to be chunkier, add the dressing right before serving.
  • 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 this recipe. Chopping the veggies into very small pieces would help them absorb more flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 401mg | Potassium: 650mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 955IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Shadi HasanzadeNemati

I'm here to show you how to make delicious Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food at home. My easy to follow recipes will bring exciting new flavors to your table!

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71 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this salad to go with dinner last night and it was incredible! Everyone gobbled it up! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Shadi! I just wanted to let you know I made your Shirazi salad to serve along sumac marinated and grilled chicken kebabs. It was fabulous, and so easy! I had some fresh mint in my garden, and that’s the only substitution I made. ❤️

  3. 5 stars
    Looks like that’s the original form of the “Deli Health Salad” I grew up with here in New York City. I love having a big covered bowl of it in the fridge all summer… (Though that never has mint – I have to try that, it sounds wonderful! Even more refreshing!)

    1. So true Anne! Dried mint makes it so refreshing! 🙂 <3 It's just such a good side dish!