Across the Middle East a simple salad known as shepherd salad is common to many countries, Arab speaking and otherwise.
A well known one in the West being a Turkish shepherd salad.
Usually consisting of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions at its base, several additions can be found from added herbs like mint, to different types of cheeses.
This salad relies on the simplicity of the ingredients at hand, without any complicated additions.
The dressing is usually an easy mix of olive oil, lemon juice, and a little bit of salt.
Often the cheese included in this salad is also a cheese that is available to the shepherd from his flock of sheep or goats.
A nice feta, or halloumi adding an extra layer to the flavors and textures, not to mention an additional color to the salad.
What is Shepherd Salad?
So many variations make this salad recipe easy and versatile.
How to Make Shepherd Salad
Always start with the freshest vegetables to make this a good salad.
Use a variety of tomatoes to give the salad a variation of flavor, color and texture.
Heirloom, roma, yellow, and even green tomatoes.
Use cucumbers with little seeds, or seed the cucumbers for a more refined offering.
My favorite is to use green spring onions for this salad, but any kind of onion will do from, white to red, and everything in between.
These three ingredients form the simple base for this salad.
White cheeses are an especially good addition to this salad with the salty taste they add, along with the soft texture in contrast to the crunch of the vegetables.
Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Fresh herbs are a nice addition to this salad.
Experimenting with Flavors
Like most foods, it is great to experiment and and all the flavors you like.
Try new things.
If you like radishes try those in your salad.
Or if you like something sweet, try raisins or even chopped dates.
You may be surprised at how well white cheese and dates compliment each other.
As always I am a big advocate for trying your own thing when it comes to cooking.
Sometimes you can surprise yourself and stumble across something new and delicious.
Sometimes you have to go back to the drawing board when what you tried could have been better.
In the end, cooking is all experimentation to find what works for you.
Share your recipe variations with me, I’d love to hear from you and learn what you are up to with your culinary endeavors.
Shepherd Salad Recipe
- Mix all ingredients together and serve immediately.