Favourite Turkish salads: we love a çoban salad, a bulgur wheat salad like kısır never disappoints, chickpea salad fills a corner in the summer months. But if grilled meat is on the menu, there is one salad that is an absolute must: Gavurdağı Salatası.
Gavurdağı Salad – A Tomato & Walnut Salad Packed With Zing
If you love strong flavours and lots of texture in your salads then Gavurdağı salad (Turkish name: Gavurdağı Salatası) is definitely one for you to try.
Whenever we go to a kebab restaurant, we always look for Gavurdağı salad on the menu. Where we live in Fethiye, it doesn’t make a regular appearance on menus.
This is a salad from the cuisine of Gaziantep and other nearby regions of southeast Turkey and it’s named after a mountain close to Adana.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t get our fix of this zingy walnut salad in the Fethiye area. In Çalış, Motif Restaurant and Babzen Kebab both serve up a portion. Along the harbour, Denizatı Restaurant also have it on offer.
And, of course, we can make our own at home, as in the photos below.
Gavurdağı salad is a celebration of summer tomatoes, of walnuts – and it also gives you permission to use as much nar ekşisi (pomegranate molasses) as you like! Perfect for us.
Our Gavurdağı Salad Recipe
First of all, wherever you eat Gavurdağı salad, no two salads are the same. With the walnuts, some people prefer them smashed into almost a grain. Others prefer larger, broken pieces.
Some people like lots of dressing so that the salad is almost a dip – perfect with fresh crusty, bread. Others prefer to go easy on the dressing.
We use a mix of both broken and smashed walnuts and we like a good amount of dressing so that we can mop it all up afterwards.
Gavurdağı Salad - A Tomato & Walnut Salad
- 100 g walnuts
- 4 tomatoes deseeded & finely chopped
- 2 thin thin green peppers deseeded & finely chopped
- 1 red onion peeled & finely chopped
- 1 bunch spring onions trimmed & finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic peeled & grated
- ½ bunch flat leaf parsley stems removed & leaves finely chopped
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 1 lemon juiced
- Take your tomatoes, onions, peppers and parsley and add them to a shallow serving bowl and mix together.
- Now add your chilli, sumac and mint and mix.
- Drizzle your oil, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses (nar ekşisi) over the salad and stir everything together.
- Now do a taste test and add more oil or nar ekşisi to taste.
- Take roughly half of your walnuts and smash them up into and grainy pieces.
- Break the other half into larger pieces.
- Stir in the small pieces and use the larger pieces as a garnish on top.
- Serve immediately.
- As with all of our recipes, calories per serving are approximate. This recipe makes approximately 4 servings. Calories are per serving.
- The texture of your Gavurdağı salad is down to your own personal preference. Some people like it to be more of a dip - in which case, you can add more oil, lemon or pomegranate.
- Likewise with the walnuts. Some servings of Gavurdağı salad will just have a garnish of smashed walnuts over the top. Others will have broken up walnuts. We like a mixture of the two.
- If you can't get pomegranate molasses (nar ekşisi), a mild vinegar such as balsamic will taste fine.
- If you have fresh pomegranate, it's also nice to add a bit of the fruit to the salad.
And that’s our Gavurdağı salad recipe. When we make this salad, we like to use red onion just so that we can really go to town with making the sight a colourful experience. Red onion is also often milder and sweeter than white onion.
So, now we have our serving bowl of Gavurdagı salad waiting to be devoured, what else do we eat with it?
We said above that the salad is a perfect match for grilled meat kebabs.
Lamb şiş kebab served with Gavurdağı salad is fantastically tasty. And when you come to the end of your meal and you’ve scooped up all the salad, that’s when you can tear chunks of fresh crusty bread and mop up all of those tasty juices. Food heaven!
When they’re in season we like to add a topping of pomegranate ‘jewels’ to our Gavurdağı salad recipe. An added burst of freshness of flavour and a contrasting texture. This salad just cannot get any better!
Gavurdağı Salatası – Afternotes
- As we said above, no two salads are the same. Feel free to experiment with the textures by going rustic and chunky or by chopping everything up really finely.
- If the amount of chilli seems like a lot, just add a little at a time to taste. We like spicy food but we find with Gavurdağı salad that the other flavours absorb the heat of the chilli so we need to add more just to get a hint of heat. We don’t want too much heat as this is a refreshing salad.
- As well as walnuts and tomatoes, Gavurdağı Salad is a celebration of pomegranate molasses so do try to get hold of some. If it’s not possible, balsamic vinegar or other light vinegars will also create a tasty salad dressing.
- Serve your Gavurdağı salad immediately or after chilling in the fridge for a short time as it doesn’t keep too well. It will still taste fabulous the morning after, for example, but its appearance will not be up to scratch.
- Gaziantep has earned UNESCO recognition for its cuisine. Two further Gaziantep recipes on the blog are spicy ezme and Ali Nazik Kebab.
- If you love the combination of walnuts, tomatoes and pomegranate syrup, give our recipe for muhammara a try, too.
- You can find Gavurdağı salad and all of our other recipes from Turkey in our dedicated Turkish recipes collection.