My husband and I have lived in two cities together. Inevitably, we find a good Persian restaurant to go to so we can enjoy their saffron-scented basmati rice pilafs, grilled kebabs and salads. We always order the shirazi salad. It's a bright, fresh mixture of chopped cucumbers, ripe tomatoes and lime juice. The lime juice gives it a citrus-kick, making it a hit with us.
What makes these kinds of salads so easy and appealing is that there's no salad spinner involved. All that's needed is a bit of chopping, a few squeezes of fresh lime, a drizzle of olive oil and a few tosses with a spoon to combine.
This vibrant shirazi salad is loaded with multi-colored cherry tomatoes, diva cucumbers and tender scallions. A cucumber with the name "diva" has got to taste great, right? Diva cucumbers are seedless, tender and not bitter. If you see them, grab them. If you can't find them, use small cucumbers or seedless ones. If all you can find is regular cukes, that's fine too.
I like using scallions instead of onions here because they're less harsh. You could replace the scallions with chopped chives or diced red onion. It's your salad, make it the way you like it.
This salad is delicious because the ingredients that went into it are fresh and ripe. A good rule of thumb to consider when preparing simple salads is to look for the best fresh vegetables you can find. Another tip is to cut the tomatoes with a tomato knife. I love my tomato knife!
Persian Salad Recipe
The dressing for this lime-kissed salad is light and fresh. If you'd like a richer dressing, bump up the olive oil and balance it with more lime juice.
We enjoy this salad with roasted or grilled chicken or fish. It's an equally satisfying sidekick for steak, offering a welcome respite from the meat's richness. Serve it as a cooling, elegant side dish for spicy curries or my Moroccan Chickpea Stew. Stuff it into a pita with my creamy hummus.
- 6 small seedless cucumbers, chopped into bite size pieces. If you can only find regular cucumbers, peel the skin and remove the seeds. You may need only 2-3 regular medium size cucumbers.
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, slice the tomatoes in half or quarters depending on their size
- 2-4 scallions, diced. I used tender baby scallions. If you have large scallions you may only need to use 1-2.
- 1-2 limes, depending on their size. You need a couple of good squeezes of lime juice
- 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. I used unfiltered extra virgin.
- A teeny drizzle of honey or a pinch of sugar to balance the acid in the lime juice
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- A few chopped fresh spearmint leaves or a pinch or two of dried spearmint. (optional)
- Though not traditional, diced avocado and/or some chickpeas would also be scrumptious in this salad too.
Put the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, lime juice and honey to a separate small bowl and whisk to combine. Taste, adjust the both the lime juice and the honey, adding more if needed. You don't want to make the dressing overly sweet by adding too much honey. There should be a nice balance of citrus and sweet. Stir the dressing into the vegetables. Toss to combine. Adjust the salt and pepper and add the mint (if using). Serve and Enjoy!
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