Turkish Shepherd's Salad (Çoban Salatası) Recipe

shepherd's salad
Shepherd's salad is 'the salad of the people' in Turkish cuisine. Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012
    15 mins

Shepherd's salad, or çoban salatası (Cho-BAHN' sah-lah- tah-SU'), is a favorite in Turkey and Greece where fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers are sweet and plentiful during the summer months.

This salad has become "the salad of the people" throughout this part of the world with its simple, inexpensive ingredients. It's a nice alternative to green salad, and it goes very well with picnic menus and grilled meats.

What You'll Need

  • 2 large tomatoes, preferably vine-ripened
  • 2 firm cucumbers
  • 1 green bell pepper or other green pepper (you also can use hot peppers)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red-grape vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Turkish white cheese or feta, crumbled
  • Turkish or Greek black olives for garnish

How to Make It

  1. Wash and pat dry the vegetables. With a sharp paring knife, skin the tomatoes then dice them into cubes, being careful not to crush the flesh.
  2. Remove the stems and seeds from the pepper and peel the cucumbers and optional onion. Dice them all into cubes about the same size as the tomatoes.
  3. Put all the diced vegetables into your serving bowl, add the parsley and toss gently with your fingers.
  4. In an empty jar or shaker, combine the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and shake well. Pour the mixture over the salad.
  1. Top the salad with the feta, black olives and a bit more chopped parsley.
  2. Let the salad rest a few minutes before serving. Have crusty bread handy to dip in the juices.

More Turkish Salad Recipes

  • Potato Salad Recipe: In Turkey, potato salad is known as American salad or Russian salad. The ingredients are similar but the difference is in the size of the vegetables. Potatoes and carrots are cut into small cubes about the size of small dice and cooked along with baby peas. Then everything is dressed with diced dill pickle and mayonnaise.
  • Turkish Octopus Salad RecipeThis is often served on a meze or appetizer spread. Turkish octopus salad is a mix of tender, cooked octopus, diced tomato, stuffed green olives or pickles and fresh herbs. It’s tossed in a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt that lets the octopus shine through.
  • Turkish Bulgur Salad Recipe: This cold bulgur and vegetable salad called kısır is great for entertaining as it keeps well in the refrigerator for several days and its flavor gets better the longer it sits. It's delicious with grilled meats and chicken.