Often referred to as the National Salad of Iran, this juicy lime-dressed salad is a happy accompaniment to all Persian mains from kebabs to koresh (stews).
The National Salad of Iran
As the name gives away, Salad Shirazi originates from Shiraz, which is located in the South West of Iran. The reason it is called the National Salad of Iran is because it is our only salad recipe! It is similar to the Indian Kachumber and Israeli chopped salads.
Ingredients in Salad Shirazi
Use fresh and high quality ingredients to get maximum flavour from your Salad Shirazi.
- Cucumber, tomatoes and red onion: are diced into small chunks, as pictured above. You can chop it into bigger chunks, if you prefer.
- Dried mint, salt, pepper, fresh limes and good quality salad oil, such as extra virgin olive oil or toasted argan oil: create the dressing. I sometimes add sumac to the dressing, which gives another layer of citrus to the final salad.
Tips for Making Salad Shirazi
Scrape some of the the seeds out of both the cucumber and the tomatoes before dicing the salad ingredients. Although you want a juicy salad, you don’t want a water-logged one. Don’t be too obsessive about seed removal because the salad is meant to be juicy. You want to have some delicious dressing to spoon over the other elements on your plate.
Serve it as a side salad with all Persian mains from khoresh to kebabs. Here are some suggestions.
- Kabab Tabei (Pan-Cooked Kofte Kebabs with Roasted Tomatoes)
- Khoresh Karafs (sabz) – Lamb, Herby and Celery Stew
- Zereshk Polo ba Morgh – Barbarry Rice with Saffron Chicken
This salad can be eaten with any cuisine so no need to limit it to a side salad for Persian mains only.
How to Store Salad Shirazi
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge and it will last up to 2 days.
- 1 medium cucumber
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1 medium red onion
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or toasted argan oil
- 2 limes (zest of one lime, juice squeezed from both for the dressing)
- 2 tsp dried mint (fresh mint can also be used as an alternative or in addition to the dried mint)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Halve tomatoes and scrape some of the seeds out. Do the same with cucumber. Finely dice onion, tomatoes and cucumber into small chunks.
- Make a dressing out of olive oil, lime juice and zest, salt, pepper and mint. Drizzle over salad.
- Toss salad and taste - adjust seasoning if required and then serve.
This recipe is deceptively simple for something that delivers so much on the flavour front!