Shepherd’s Salad – When Simple Is Genius

It’s easily done. A simple – yet rightly much-loved – salad, like shepherd’s salad, can easily fall off the radar. But do you know what the best bit about that is?

It’s when you suddenly remember one day, for no reason, that you haven’t had shepherd salad in such a long time. So then you decide to make some. And that burst of flavour, the fresh taste of summer – it’s such a joy.

Why haven’t we made this dish for so long, you ask yourself? But you know that, from now on, you’re going to be making shepherd’s salad as often as you used to do.

Shepherd's Salad

Vibrant summer colours of shepherd’s salad

What Is Shepherd Salad?

Çoban salatası (Choban salad) is the Turkish name for shepherd salad. If you’re in a restaurant in Turkey and you’re browsing the menu, there’s often no explanation as to what the ingredients of this salad are. That’s because everyone here just knows.

Too Many to Choose From

There aren’t many cuisines in the world that have such a variety of salads as Turkish cuisine does – hence why we got a bit side-tracked eating and experimenting with others over shepherd salad.

And, a lot of the time in Turkish restaurants, you will be asked if you want a mixed salad for the table. You can pretty much rely on the fact that this is going to be a great salad anyway. So it’s easy to get lazy and not browse the other options.

Make Mine A Choban Salad

But do consider shepherd’s salad and do make it at home. We were so happy that we re-introduced ourselves to the colours that just sing out to you, the flavours that sing summer to you, the crisp textures.

Shepherd's Salad Ingredients

Chopping our shepherd’s salad ingredients

We’ve got crunchy cucumber, fresh green peppers, crisp onion and sweet, vibrant summer tomatoes. And that onion isn’t going anywhere until it’s had a generous sprinkling of zesty sumac and a good squeeze. Infuse those flavours. Shepherd’s salad with sumac is an essential for us.

Don’t Forget The Herbs

Then there are the fresh herbs: Roughly chopped flat leaf parsley and mint leaves.

Actually, the mint leaves are an addition by us. Their seasonal abundance on Fethiye market matches the time when shepherd salad is also on our radar. Its delicate flavour pairs so well with the other shepherd salad ingredients. So why not?

How To Make Shepherd Salad

Making our shepherd’s salad

And then we have the all important dressing. Freshly squeezed lemon juice stirred into a generous glug of olive oil, a bit of salt and some ground black pepper. And then another little extra from us; a splash of apple vinegar just for a little bit of extra zing.

How To Make Shepherd’s Salad

Well, as you can see from the photos so far, there’s nothing at all difficult about this shepherd’s salad recipe. Get that quality and balance of ingredients and you’re onto a real winner!

Shepherd's Salad Recipe (Turkish - Çoban Salatası)
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 2
Prep time:
Total time:
This super tasty and healthy salad is also known as choban salad - from its Turkish name, çoban salatası.
For The Salad
  • 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, washed, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 large green pepper (or two finger peppers), seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Small handful chopped parsley
  • Small handful chopped mint
For The Dressing
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp apple vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to season
  1. First of all, sprinkle the sumac over your chopped onion, give it a squeeze and add to a small mixing bowl.
  2. Now add your cucumber, peppers and tomato. Mix gently.
  3. Time for the parsley and mint. Mix those, too.
  4. Add your dressing ingredients to a ramekin dish or similar and mix before pouring over your shepherd's salad.
  5. If you're entertaining, transfer your shepherd salad to a clean serving bowl.
As with all of our recipes, calorie count is a rough guide for our shepherd's salad. The amount of dressing you use will affect the calories.
Shepherd's salad is also sometimes called choban salad because of its Turkish name, çoban salatası.
We add mint leaves and the apple vinegar as an extra just for personal taste. Feel free to leave these out.

And that’s your çoban salatası – shepherd salad recipe. So easy and just a simple celebration and herald of warmer temperatures.

Serving Your Shepherd’s Salad

If you’re a dinner party of more than two people, obviously, you can just multiply the amounts in the recipe. Play around with your dressing to match your tastes.

Shepherd Salad With Sumac

Fresh, crisp shepherd’s salad with sumac

If you follow our blog regularly, you’ll know we love spicy food. In Turkey, the green finger peppers (sivri biber) can sometimes be super hot. And a lot of people love to include hot peppers  in their shepherd’s salad recipe.

However, on this occasion, as with dishes such as barbunya pilaki, we don’t go the fiery hot route. We love our shepherd’s salad to be cooling and refreshing.

Salad With Everything

Whatever type of food you’re eating in Turkey, rare is the time you won’t be offered or served a salad to go with your meal. Salad is served with everything.

Obvious foods your shepherd salad could be a perfect accompaniment to are barbecued köfte, other grilled meats, fish dishes…the list goes on.

Less obvious dishes could be foods like a sizzling dish of Izmir Köfte or karnıyarık, for example. And not forgetting soup. It’s quite common to order a bowl of spicy lentil soup – or other type – in a lokanta and be served a salad with it.

As we said, in Turkey, it’s salad with everything. And why not make it a shepherd’s salad? If you love light salads, you could also try Turkish purslane salad or the classic Gaziantep serving of Gavurdağı Salatası.

If you love Turkish cuisine, try out some of our other dishes from our Turkish recipe collection.

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