Shirazi salad is a simple tomato cucumber salad with herbs and a tangy dressing. This refreshing and healthy Persian salad is versatile enough to pair with most main dishes. Learn the specific tips to make it authentically delicious.
What is Shirazi Salad?
Shirazi salad or Salad-e Shirazi is named after the beautiful southwestern city in Iran, called Shiraz. It is immensely popular in Persian menus and at meal times.
What is typical about this salad is the small dice of the vegetables. Salad Shirazi is fresh, juicy, zesty and crunchy. Packed with flavor, this quick and easy salad is low in calories and carbs.
This is like ‘Pico de Gallo’ of the middle-east and goes well with most main dishes across cuisines. Make it and see it become your go-to salad.
Ever wondered what makes some fresh salads tastes so damn amazing? Nothing but the absolute best organic fresh ingredients!
Typically this salad is made with simply cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, dried mint and unripe grape juice. Choose fresh, firm and crisp vegetables in the peak of season.
- Tomatoes: Choose firm tomatoes such as Roma tomatoes. You may squeeze out some of the tomato juices from the center, before chopping them.
- Cucumbers: We need organic cucumbers with thin skin, so that we can retain most of the peel. Persian cucumbers are ideal but English cucumbers will work too. The commonly available garden cucumbers have a thick skin. But if you can only find these cucumbers, then choose organic, peel and deseed them.
- Red Onions: Most often I use red onions, but shallots will work as well.
- Herbs: The classic recipe uses only dried mint. But I sometimes add parsley, cilantro, dill or green onions. Use whatever is available to you. But do not skip the mint, use it dried and crushed or fresh and finely chopped. You can also dry mint in oven.
- Lime Juice: Traditional Persian recipes use unripe grape juice known as verjuice (ab-ghooreh), which is available online and at Persian grocery stores. However lime or lemon juice is an acceptable option.
- Olive Oil: Several classic recipes do not use this, but I sometimes drizzle good quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Other Vegetables: You can add some bell pepper and such for a variation.
How To Make Salad-e Shirazi
- Dressing: Whisk lime juice, olive oil (if using), dried mint, salt and pepper.
- Cut Vegetables: Small dice all the vegetables in about the same size of ¼ inch pieces. Place in a colander to drain any juices. Finely chop all the herbs.
- Toss: Place chopped vegetables and herbs in a salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing and toss well.
- Best Tip: Allow the salad to chill for about half hour, to let the flavors meld together. Drain juices as you prefer.
- If you prefer a crisp salad, add the dressing just before serving.
- Most important thing for this salad is to dice the tomatoes, cucumbers and onions real small. Chop the herbs finely.
Dried mint gives this salad the characteristic flavor.
Combine vegetables with herbs and refrigerate. Add salad dressing before serving.
Shirazi salad is best eaten fresh. You can refrigerate leftovers for 1 or 2 days. It is not freezer friendly.
What To Serve Along
- Pairs well with rice or grilled dishes: Koobideh Kabob, Lentil Rice (Adas Polo).
- Serve with soups for a small meal: Vegetarian Barley Soup, Yogurt Soup with Chickpeas.
Shirazi salad is low in calories, low-carb, gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free and grain-free. Use less salt to make it low-sodium and increase the flavor with more lemon and herbs.
Cucumbers have more than 90% water and are good for hydration. As a rich source of vitamin K, cucumbers can support bone health. They are rich in phytonutrients known as cucurbitacins, touted to have anti carcinogenic, anti diabetic and anti inflammatory effects.
Cucumbers are part of Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen — the produce with high levels of pesticide residue. So, try to buy organic cucumbers.
Tomatoes are a rich source of antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C, beta-carotene and several phytonutrients. And an outstanding source of lycopene, known for cancer prevention.
Herbs have great health benefits, are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, protective polyphenols with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
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- ¼ cup lime juice fresh or verjuice, as per taste
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil optional
- 1 tablespoons dried mint or 2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound Persian cucumbers organic, or English cucumbers
- 1 pound roma tomatoes firm
- ⅓ red onion medium, diced very small
- ¼ cup parsley
- ¼ cup green onions
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 2 tablespoon dill
- parsley, dill, cilantro, green onions are optional
- Rinse vegetables and pat dry with paper towel. If using fresh herbs, rinse and put them through a salad spinner before chopping. If cucumber skin is thick, it can be peeled to leave alternate strips on it.
- Dice the tomatoes and cucumbers into ¼ inch pieces. Chop the herbs finely.
- Place chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and herbs in a large salad bowl.
- Drizzle salad dressing on vegetables. Toss well and adjust seasoning as per taste. Serve chilled preferably.
- Choose fresh, firm and crisp vegetables in the peak of season.
- If using regular cucumbers, choose organic and deseed them.
- Chill the salad to let the flavors meld together. Drain juices as you prefer.
- For a crisp salad, add the dressing just before serving.
- Make Ahead: combine vegetables with herbs and refrigerate. Add salad dressing before serving.
- Storage: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.
- Sometimes I add a small clove of grated garlic to the dressing, but it is my variation and is optional.
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This post was first published on February 2016 and has been updated with video, improvements in recipe, formatting, tips, and additional enhancements.