Turkish shepherd's salad is a classic side dish that is served alongside most Turkish main dishes. It is lemony, slightly spicy, and super refreshing. Plus, it's very easy to make!
I’ve recently published quite a few Turkish recipes that my mom and I always make at home. If you haven’t tried her cig kofte or this dill potato salad yet, you should definitely add them to your cooking list!
So I figured that it was time to add this Turkish shepherd’s salad recipe to the blog. This salad is the one that’s typically served in Turkey with most meals. It is packed with vegetables, is super light, and tastes really delicious.
Its tangy flavor goes really well with the spices that are commonly used in Turkish dishes. But you can also serve it with many other dishes! It’s a true all-rounder that never disappoints.
To make Turkish shepherd’s salad, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Tomatoes: For this recipe, you need regular tomatoes. Just make sure that they are ripe and delicious when you buy them.
- Cucumber: You can use regular cucumber or Persian cucumbers. Both taste great in this salad!
- Turkish green peppers: Turkish green peppers (called sivri biber) can be spicy or mild, so make sure you pick the right one. They look like big chili peppers and taste really great in this salad! They are often sold in Middle Eastern grocery stores, but you may be able to find them in regular grocery stores too.
- Red onion: Red onions are a classic ingredient in shepherd’s salad. But you can use yellow onion, white onion, or green onion if you prefer them.
- Parsley: Parsley is super important for many Turkish dishes! It’s also a key ingredient in this salad, so don’t skip it.
- Spices: This salad uses a combination of sumac and Turkish pul biber (red chili flakes, also called Aleppo pepper). They are both commonly used in salads and taste great! You can find them in most Middle Eastern grocery stores.
- Lemon: Lemon juice is used to season the salad. It’s a very common ingredient in Turkish recipes.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is perfect for making this shepherd’s salad! Just use your favorite brand of extra virgin olive oil.
How to make Turkish shepherd’s salad
Making this shepherd’s salad is super simple! Just follow these steps:
- Prepare the ingredients: First, prepare all ingredients. Chop the vegetables, parsley, and juice the lemons.
- Combine: Next, add all ingredients to a bowl. Toss until everything is combined.
- Serve: Serve the salad with your favorite main dish (I love ground beef kofte with this salad!) and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
Here are a few quick tips to check out before you try this recipe.
- Make sure the green peppers aren’t too spicy. The flavor of Turkish green peppers is seriously great, but they can vary from mild to very hot. Check the label to find out if they are hot. If the label doesn’t say anything (in Germany it never does, it’s always a surprise), test one green pepper before you use it for the salad. Sometimes, the green peppers coming from the same package will have different heat levels. So just be aware of the fact they can be super spicy or very mild.
- Chop everything very finely. The ingredients in this salad usually aren’t cut into big chunks. They are finely chopped and then tossed. It makes everything taste a lot better.
- Season to your taste. If you don’t like your salad as spicy or tangy, you can adjust the amount of red chili flakes, sumac, and lemon juice. Just use as much as you want.
The recipe you’ll find in the box at the end of the post is how Turkish shepherd’s salad is usually prepared. But many people like to upgrade their salad by adding more vegetables. Here are some of my favorite variations:
- Grated carrots: Grated carrots are great for adding some extra vegetables and texture. They taste super delicious in this salad!
- Leafy greens: Arugula, romaine lettuce, baby spinach, and all other types of leafy greens taste really great in this salad!
- Red cabbage: Red cabbage is another common addition to shepherd’s salad. Just shred it very finely and add it to the salad.
- Mint: I personally prefer only parsley, but many people like to add some fresh mint. So if that sounds like something you’d enjoy, feel free to go for it!
- Pomegranate molasses: Pomegranate molasses are a delicious alternative to lemon juice! They are great for adding acidity with some sweetness.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is slightly spicy. So if you’re unsure, just use a small amount of chili flakes and add more if needed.
Yes, it is! It’s how shepherd’s salad is usually prepared and served in Turkey.
As this salad becomes quite soggy, I recommend making only as much as you’re going to eat. If you want to store some of the salad, I recommend saving some of it before adding the seasonings and dressing. You can store everything in an airtight container in your refrigerator for a few days.
More quick and delicious Turkish recipes
If you’re into Turkish or Middle Eastern foods, I recommend checking out the following recipes. They are super delicious and very easy to prepare!
Turkish Shepherd's Salad
- 2 tomatoes diced
- ½ cucumber diced
- 1 - 2 Turkish green peppers (sivri biber) halved and sliced
- ½ red onion finely diced
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon Turkish pul biber/Aleppo pepper
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- salt to taste
- ¼ - ½ lemon juiced
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
- Add all ingredients to a bowl. Then toss until everything is combined.
- Serve the salad alongside your main dish and enjoy!