Turkish Red Pepper and Tomato Salad Recipe

Turkish 'ezme' salad
Turkish 'ezme' salad is a spicy crush of red pepper, tomato, walnut and spices.It's popular as a starter with kebab meals. Photo © Greg Elms_Getty Images
    20 mins
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Do you love the taste of fresh, cold salsa and crunchy corn chips followed by the lingering bite of jalapeno pepper? Are you adept at chopping your own tomatoes, onions and garlic with skill and speed?

Then you're a perfect candidate to try the Turkish spicy 'ezme' (ez-MAY') salad. For short, you can simply call it Turkish salsa. 

It features similar ingredients to the Mexican-style salsas we know and love. Fresh tomatoes, red and green peppers, onions and garlic.Add some chopped Italian parsley, ground walnuts, hot red pepper flakes and sumac and you have perfect salsa Turkish-style.

'Ezme salatası' (ez-MAY' sah-lah-tah-SUH') is meant be spicy, as are many other dishes that come from the southeastern regions of Turkey. It's often served as an appetizer, or "meze" (meh-ZEY') along with pungent, crumbled goat cheese called 'tulum' (too-LOOM'), sweet butter and piping hot bread puffs called 'lavaş' (lah-VASH').

Just tear off a section of the bread, spread on butter, add some cheese, then spoon the ezme into the pocket. I often eat so much ezme with bread, I'm too full to enjoy the spicy kabobs that follow.

At home, I found some other ways to serve ezme, too. It's delicious with scrambled eggs or spooned on top of grilled meatballs and other grilled meats.

For a delicious and easy appetizer, spread some soft goat cheese on melba toast then place a small spoon of ezme in the center. However you decide to serve it, you'll love this spicy salad anywhere you'd use Mexican salsa.

What You'll Need

  • 4 Corni di Toro or other types of sweet red peppers,
  • 1 ½ cups walnut halves
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 or 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, leaves only
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or pomegranate concentrate
  • 3 tablespoon  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sumac powder for garnish

How to Make It

  1. First, wash and drain all your vegetables and herbs well. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stems, seeds, and white inner membranes. With a very sharp dicing blade, dice the peppers as finely as you can.
  2. Peel the tomatoes and remove the watery seed portions from the inside and discard them. Dice the pulp portions in the same manner as the peppers. Do the same with the parsley leaves, onion and garlic cloves.
  1. Between two sheets of wax paper, crush the walnuts into as fine a powder as you can using a rolling pin.
  2. In a large, shallow dish or tray, mix all the ingredients and spices above together with your fingers. Adjust the salt to your taste. Using a fork, continue to crush the mixture little by little until it is well mashed and blended.
  3. Transfer the mash to your serving dish and garnish it with a sprinkle of sumac powder and fresh sprigs of Italian parsley.