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Turkish Shepherd’s Salad: Çoban Salata

Çoban Salata (Cho-ban Suh-la-ta), also known as Turkish Shepherd’s salad is by far the most well-known Turkish salad outside of Turkiye. You’ll find very similar and versions and some exactly the same being served in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants because it’s also common in those cuisines, as well- particularly Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. I’ve also seen it in the breakfast buffet at a hotel in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Because it goes well with all meats and fish (or can be a meal on its own, with some crusty bread and fresh cheese), it really is one of the most versatile salad recipes around- and it couldn’t be easier to make.

One variation that is super-interesting and tasty and is common to the Southeastern region of Turkiye is to add pomegranate molasses to it. All the same ingredients, just add about one tablespoon molasses if you’re using the same recipe below.

My version of Çoban Salata, served for lunch at the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C. (May 2023)

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Çoban Salata: Turkish Shepherd’s Salad

Serves 4

This is the most popular Turkish salad, one which you’ll find all over Turkiye, but also very similar versions throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean region. It goes well with all meats and fish or can be a meal on its own, with some crusty bread and fresh cheese, which is what makes it one of the most versatile salad recipes around.

Ingredients

3-4 medium size Persian cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise and roughly chopped 

3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped

3 spring onions, finely chopped

One handful of flat leaf or curly parsley, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin Turkish olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

1 teaspoon salt-free sumac

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

Combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, spring onions and the parsley

in a bowl. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and mix all together.

Season with salt, ground black pepper, and sumac. Serve freshly made. 

Recipe adapted from Ozlem’s Turkish Table 

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