çoban salatasi – çoban salatasi is a simple Turkish salad recipe that combines an equal amount of crisp cucumber and fresh tomatoes with a bright citrus dressing. And like sumac onions, you can pair it with everything! Serve it with a dinner entree or feature it on a mezze platter with other small plates like skhug, piyaz, butter bean hummus, fresh pita, and marinated olives.
What is çoban salatasi?
Çoban salatası (Cho-BAHN’ sah-lah-tah-SU’), a staple in homes and restaurants in Turkey and the Middle East, steals the show with its light and crunchy goodness. It prominently features cucumber and tomatoes tossed in a lemon and olive oil dressing. I am a salad all-year-round type of gal, but the salad is best in the spring and summer when tomatoes are fresh and juicy.
çoban Salad Ingredients
- Persian Cucumber: Persian cucumbers have the best crunch, which I love!
- Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes work best because they have less moisture than other varieties. Vine-ripe tomatoes or grape tomatoes cut in half are a great alternative.
- Peppers: I use serrano chilies or green bell peppers, but if you have access to green Turkish chilies, use those instead. Anaheim peppers also work well.
- Onions: I prefer red onion because the strong flavor complement the salad; if you’re concerned about the sharpness, massage sumac into them to make them sweeter instead of sprinkling it over the top. You can also replace red onions with scallions, shallots, or white onions.
- Parsley: Garnish with flat-leaf parsley, or replace it with mint, depending on your preference.
- Olive Oil: Be generous with the olive oil; since it is a prominent ingredient, I recommend using high-quality olive oil.
- Lemon Juice: Lemon juice brightens the salad, but use red wine vinegar if you prefer something sweeter.
- Sumac: Sumac is tart and sweet, making it the perfect way to finish the salad. Sumac is a popular Middle Eastern spice found online and in health stores. However, I recommend visiting a local Middle Eastern store to explore; the ground-up sumac berries give the dish its signature color and flavor. If you don’t have any one hand, use sweet paprika.
How to Make çoban salatasi
The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Then, use a spoon to scoop out the watery center. Slice the cucumbers into 1-inch pieces. Then, cut the tomatoes to the same size. Add them to a serving bowl.
Chop the red onion and serrano peppers into smaller pieces and add them to the bowl with the cucumbers and tomatoes.
Top the vegetables with parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Garnish with a sprinkle of sumac, and enjoy!
- Since this is a classic summer salad, use fresh vegetables and herbs whenever possible.
- Aim for an equal amount of tomatoes and cucumbers, and adjust the measurements in the recipe card according to the vegetable size you’re using.
- Cut the cucumbers and tomatoes to the same size for consistency. Onions and peppers should be smaller to complement each bite.
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What to do With the Leftovers
- Refrigerate – Keep çoban salatasi in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you pronounce coban salatası?
The Turkish name for this salad is pronounced ‘choban sala tasəh.’
What is Turkish shepherd salad made of?
Traditional çoban salatasi is a cucumber and tomato salad finished with a simple dressing consisting of olive oil and lemon juice – everything else is a bonus!
Can this recipe be made ahead of time?
Yes, but don’t the dressing until you’re ready to serve.
How many calories are in coban salatası?
The number of calories in the salad varies depending on the recipe, but ours contains 133 calories per serving.
Why is it called shepherds salad?
The dish known as a salad was originally made by shepherds who would take a selection of their daily crops, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and other flavorful ingredients, and mix them together in a bowl. As a result of this practice, the dish became associated with the shepherds who created it.
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- 4 Persian cucumbers, 1-inch
- 3-4 tomatoes, diced, 1-inch
- 1 serrano chili or ½ green bell pepper, small diced
- ½ onion, small diced
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, flat leaf, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- sprinkle sumac
- Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Then, use a spoon to scoop out the watery center. Slice the cucumbers into 1-inch pieces. Then, cut the tomatoes to the same size. Add them to a serving bowl.
- Chop the red onion and serrano peppers into smaller pieces and add them to the bowl with the cucumbers and tomatoes.
- Top the vegetables with parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Garnish with a sprinkle of sumac, and enjoy!
- Aim to have an equal amount of tomatoes and cucumber, and adjust my measurements according to the vegetable sizes you have access to.
- Cut the cucumbers and tomatoes to the same size for consistency. The onions and serrano chilies should be smaller to complement each bite.
- The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.