Shirazi salad is a vibrant and refreshing dish with crisp cucumber, juicy tomatoes, and fragrant white onion seasoned with cooling dried mint and fresh lime juice.
It's excellent for barbeques, picnics, and potlucks, served as an appetizer or side dish during hot summer days. Salad-e Shirazi will make you feel nourished and revitalized.
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Shirazi salad (also known as Salad-e Shirazi) takes its name from the city of Shiraz in Southwestern Iran, where this recipe is considered a national dish.
They serve it throughout the year, mainly as an appetizer or a side dish.
The main veggies in this refreshing Persian salad are cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions.
However, while this dish looks similar to a Tabbouleh salad, or a simple cucumber tomato salad, its taste is unique thanks to dried mint as the main seasoning herb.
The original Shirazi salad recipe calls for Verjuice in the dressing. Verjuice (ab-ghooreh in Persian) is a sour grape juice from crab apples, unripe grapes, or other fruit.
However, since Verjuice is uncommon in Western supermarkets, we replace it with fresh lime juice or lemon juice.
Our favorite way to enjoy this dish is with other delicious Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean recipes, such as hummus, eggplant dip, pita bread, grilled eggplant, falafel, and Moroccan carrot salad.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Find the complete recipe with ingredients and instructions in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
Traditionally, small Persian cucumbers are used for Shirazi salad. Persian cucumbers are smaller than American or English cucumbers; they have a thinner peel and fewer or no seeds.
If you can't find Persian cucumbers, replace them with an American garden or a large English cucumber.
If your cucumbers have a lot of seeds, you might want to discard some by cutting them off with a paring knife.
Ripe, juicy, and meaty tomatoes are best for this recipe. We like to use beefsteak tomatoes, vine tomatoes, or heirloom tomatoes.
If you can't find these, you can use Roma tomatoes, or other tomato varieties, as long as they are ripe but not overripe and soft.
Please ensure you use tomatoes at room temperature, as they taste much better than cold tomatoes.
White onion is best.
Substitute shallot, scallions, red onion, or spring onions for white onion.
Dried mint is essential in a traditional Shirazi salad, and I would not replace it with anything else.
We tried using fresh mint; however, the salad's flavor was substantially different, so we can't recommend it.
Lime or Lemon juice
We use lime or lemon juice instead of Verjuice (ab-ghooreh in Persian) in the original recipe.
That's a sour grape juice obtained from crab apples, unripe grapes, or other fruit that is difficult to find in Western supermarkets.
Extra virgin olive oil is not always used in the original recipe; however, we like to add some to balance the citrus acidity and the freshness of the cucumber and tomatoes.
Extra-virgin olive oil is best because it has a better, fruitier, and richer flavor. It's also healthier than regular olive oil as it contains more polyphenols.
Salt and Pepper
Use sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for the best flavor.
We've seen people add fresh herbs such as fresh parsley, dill, cilantro, olives, and green bell peppers.
While these ingredients are not present in the original Shirazi salad recipe, they are a good flavor match, so feel free to add them in if you like.
How to make shirazi salad
Chop the cucumbers into small ⅕-Inch or 0.5-cm dice and add them to a large bowl.
Tip: If you use large English cucumbers or garden cucumbers, we recommend peeling off some skin and removing some of their seeds.
Chop the tomatoes into small ⅕-Inch pieces (0.5 cm) and add them to the same mixing bowl.
Tip: if your tomatoes are very watery, drain some of their water before adding them to the bowl. Also, ensure your tomatoes are at room temperature for the best taste.
Finely chop the white onion and add it to the same bowl.
Season the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, salt, black pepper, and dried mint.
Tip: there's quite a bit of dried mint in the Shirazi salad. Start adding one tablespoon, mix, then add more if you like. We like it with one and a half tablespoons of dried mint.
Toss well until the mint is distributed evenly, then taste, and adjust for salt before serving.
Tip: you can make the salad an hour before serving it for the flavors to meld. Remember that tomatoes should be eaten at room temperature for the best taste, so if you keep the salad in the fridge, take it out at least 15 minutes before eating.
Shirazi salad is the perfect side dish, and appetizer served with other Middle Eastern dishes. Try it with:
- Pita bread: homemade with flour, water, salt, and yeast.
- Zucchini fritters served with tzatziki sauce.
- Chickpea hummus with chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic, cumin, etc.
- Avocado spread with avocado, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, etc.
- Eggplant dip with roasted eggplant, tahini, garlic, parsley, cumin, etc.
- Eggplant yogurt dip, also known as mutabal.
- Muhammara with roasted bell peppers and tomatoes.
- Moroccan Zaalouk with tomato, cumin, eggplant, lemon, olive oil, etc.
- Homemade crostini with tangy and tasty olive tapenade
- Frittata with chickpea flour, water, zucchini, red onion, olive oil, etc.
- Falafel with chickpeas, herbs, garlic, cumin, etc.
- Grilled eggplant or grilled zucchini.
- Tabbouleh or couscous.
- Kalamata olives, feta cheese, or non-dairy feta.
Make ahead: It's best to make this salad about 1 hour before serving it so the flavors can meld.
You can also make it up to a day in advance and store it in the fridge. However, tomatoes and cucumbers might release water if you do so.
If this happens, drain some of the liquid from the salad, then add fresh olive oil and lime juice before serving it.
Refrigerator: Store Shirazi salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Take it out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving it because the tomatoes taste best at room temperature.
Freezer: We do not recommend freezing this salad.
Cucumbers: If you use large English cucumbers or garden cucumbers, we recommend peeling off some skin and removing some of their seeds. If you use Persian cucumbers, you can add them without peeling.
Tomatoes: make sure your tomatoes are at room temperature. If the tomatoes release much water as you cut them, drain some to prevent the salad from getting watery.
Mint: there's a lot of mint in this Persian salad. Start with one tablespoon, stir it in, then add more if you like. We like it with one and a half tablespoons of dried mint.
No, you don't need to peel Persian cucumbers because their skin is very thin and completely edible.
Shirazi is the name of the people of Shiraz, a city in southwestern Iran.
You can substitute regular cucumbers, such as American garden or English cucumbers, for Persian cucumbers.
Western cucumbers might have a thicker peel and more seeds than Persian cucumbers, and you might need to peel them or seed them. That's up to you.
Shirazi salad is gluten-free and suitable for vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and low-carb diets.
More salad recipes
If you are looking for more tasty and refreshing salads, see these side dish favorites:
- Tasty green bean salad with creamy mustard dressing and cherry tomatoes.
- Sweet potato salad with arugula, avocado, feta, and dried cranberries.
- Farro salad with olives, corn, bell pepper, chickpeas, and a creamy dressing.
- Rice salad with olives, corn, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and pickles.
- Tomato cucumber salad with cherry tomato, cucumber, onion, and olive oil.
More Middle-Eastern recipes
If you love fresh and tasty mezze ideas, here are some colorful appetizer ideas:
- Tabbouleh (parsley, tomato, white onion, mint, lemon juice, salt, etc.)
- Mutabal (roasted eggplant, lemon, garlic, Greek-style yogurt, pine nuts, etc.)
- Fattoush (pita bread, radishes, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, lemon, etc.)
- Yogurt Tahini sauce (tahini, Greek-style yogurt, cumin, lemon, water, etc.)
- Muhammara (tomato, pomegranate seeds, bell pepper, garlic, parsley, etc.)
For many more salad ideas, check out our salads category page.
- 3½ cups or 1 pound cucumber cut into ⅕-Inch or 0.5-cm dice
- 2½ cups or 1 pound tomatoes cut into ⅕-Inch or 0.5-cm dice
- 1 medium white onion finely chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoons dried mint
- ¼ cup lime juice or lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Chop 3½ cups or 1 pound cucumber into small ⅕-Inch or 0.5-cm dice and add them to a large bowl.
- Chop 2½ cups or 1 pound tomatoes into small ⅕-Inch or 0.5-cm dice and add them to the same bowl.
- Finely chop 1 medium white onion and add it to the same bowl.
- Season with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup lime juice, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and 1 to 2 tablespoons dried mint.
- Toss well until the mint is distributed, taste, and adjust for salt before serving.