Fresh and vibrant, Shirazi Salad is a wonderful Persian tomato and cucumber salad tossed with lime and olive oil dressing! An extremely versatile side dish, this salad is a perfect example of how to make a delicious salad without lettuce! Fresh tasting and ready in 10 minutes, this is one of our favourite summer salads, when we have tomatoes, cucumber and herbs growing in the garden!
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What Is Shirazi Salad?
Similar to Meditteranean Cucumber and Tomato Salad, Shirazi is a flavoursome Persian salad that is popular across Iran. The name Shirazi refers to the southern city in Iran (Shiraz). Whilst the history of Shirazi salad is not very long (since tomatoes were not introduced in the region until the late 19th century), it has quickly gained popularity across the country (and the world) due to its simplicity, wonderful flavour and versatility.
Typically made with cucumber, tomato, red onion and tart dressing flavoured with dried mint, this salad certainly doesn’t lack in flavour. Our version of this Iranian salad uses a mixture of fresh mint and coriander and has an addition of yellow pepper too!
Ingredients and Substitutes
Simple everyday ingredients, but wow, does this salad taste special! Here’s the ingredients list and substitution suggestions.
Shirazi Salad Ingredients
- Cucumber: ideally you need a type of cucumber that doesn’t have too many seeds and skin that isn’t tough or bitter. Choose Persian cucumber if you can, but long English cucumber will work just fine!
- Tomatoes: we use baby plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes for this Persian Salad, however, if you can find Roma Tomatoes or any tomatoes with fewer seeds (less moisture in them) they will be perfect in this Shirazi Salad recipe.
- Yellow Pepper: can be substituted with any other pepper you have on hand. We love using yellow or orange simply because it adds another colour to the salad.
- Onion: red onion works best, as it is sweeter and slightly milder in flavour than brown or white onion. Plus it adds another colour to your salad.
- Coriander: fresh coriander adds heaps of flavour to this salad. Make sure to chop it finely (including the stalks) to distribute the flavour as much as possible.
- Mint: can be substituted with dried mint (which is actually a traditional way to make this Iranian Salad). We personally love fresh finely chopped mint in this salad.
Shirazi Salad Dressing
Traditionally made with verjuice (or ab-ghooreh), which is sour grape juice, we opted for a more available ingredient of lime juice, but if you can find verjuice, don’t hesitate to use it instead for a more authentic Shirazi salad dressing.
- olive oil: we used extra virgin olive oil, but cold-pressed rapeseed oil will work here too!
- lime juice: use lemon juice instead if you don’t have any limes on hand.
- salt & pepper.
After cutting all the vegetables and chopping all the herbs, place them all in a large bowl.
To make the dressing, mix the fresh lime juice with extra virgin olive oil. Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Pour the dressing onto the Shirazi salad and toss gently. Serve immediately!
Tips and Tricks
- If your tomatoes are really juicy and have lots of seeds in them, place the chopped tomatoes in a colander and leave them to drain for 10-15 minutes. This will ensure your dressing isn’t diluted.
- Whilst some claim that Shirazi salad should be made a couple of hours before serving for the flavours to amalgamate, we think it should be served immediately after making it. The herbs will stay fresh and the fresh vegetables won’t have time to release too much water.
- The vegetables need to be chopped into relatively small pieces for the Persian Shirazi Salad. You want the veg small enough so that every bite has all of the favours in it!
- Don’t forget to season the lime-olive oil dressing with salt and pepper. I find I can be rather generous with the salt in this recipe!
We don’t recommend making this Iranian Salad more than 15 minutes ahead of serving it, as the fresh vegetables tend to release water and the herbs will wilt. In our opinion, it is best served immediately.
Lemon juice works just as well in this salad, but if you can get your hands on verjuice (sour grape juice) then you will have a lot more authentic dressing for your Shirazi salad.
What To Serve Shirazi Salad With?
Extremely versatile, this salad makes a perfect side dish for just about anything. We particularly like it with BBQ foods such as BBQ Pork Fillet or Lamb Shashlik, but it is also amazing with a simple cheese toastie or as a healthy side to pizza. Other recipes that Shirazi salad is perfect with include:
Other Delicious Salad Recipes
We love making delicious side salads to accompany our main meals. Here are some of the ideas:
- Courgette Ribbon Salad With Earl Gray and Honey Dressing
- BBQ Corn Salad
- Asian Cabbage Slaw with Sesame Mayo
Persian Shirazi Salad
- 130 g cucumber cut into small dices
- 160 g cherry tomatoes or baby plum tomatoes cut into small pieces
- 1/4 red onion very finely chopped
- 1/2 yellow pepper cut into small dices
- 5 g coriander finely chopped, including stalks
- 5 g mint leaves finely chopped
Shirazi Salad Dressing:
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- salt & pepper
- After cutting all the vegetables and chopping all the herbs, place them all in a large bowl.
- To make the dressing, mix the fresh lime juice with extra virgin olive oil. Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- Pour the dressing onto the Shirazi salad and toss gently. Serve immediately!