This cucumber yogurt salad with nuts and raisins is a Persian dish called mast o khiar. Make this recipe for an easy side dish with dinner!
Cucumbers are used often in Persian cuisine, for soup, dips, and in dishes like shirazi salad and this one, mast o khiar.
Because they’re both made with yogurt, cucumbers and dill, mast o khiar is often compared to Greek tzatziki, but they are not the same dish at all. Although delicious, the consistency of tzatziki is thinner, and the flavor pales in comparison to Persian cucumber yogurt salad..
In addition to dried or fresh mint, rose petals bring brightness to the Persian salad as well as an intoxicating aroma! For additional texture, this salad includes sweet golden raisins (also known as sultanas) and crunchy walnuts. While it can certainly be used as a dip, mast o khiar is more often served as a side dish.
Persian Cucumber Yogurt Salad - Ingredient Notes
- Cucumbers- Persian cucumbers are much smaller than traditional varieties, averaging about 4 inches in length. They have thin, bumpy skin and very few seeds.
Like most other varieties Persian cucumbers have a slightly sweet flavor and make a delicious “no prep needed” lunchbox snack.
English cucumbers are a good substitute for Persian cucumbers.
- Yogurt- Use plain flavored yogurt. Traditional, Greek, and even non-dairy yogurts work fine; just choose one that suits your preferences.
- Golden raisins (Sultanas)- Although you won’t find raisins in all mast o khiar recipes, I like the sweetness and texture they add to the salad.
- Walnuts- Chopped nuts are another optional ingredient in the cucumber yogurt salad. If you like texture in a salad, you’ll be glad you added them.
- Mint- As with most any other herb, using fresh rather than dried is my preference. Not only does fresh mint offer brighter flavor, but it also makes a beautiful garnish. Dried mint can be used if you prefer it.
- Dried rose petals- All roses are edible, but be sure that the variety you use is free of pesticides and fungicides. To be sure that they are safe to be eaten, look for organic food grade dried rose petals.
Notes and Serving Suggestions for Mast o Khiar
One of my favorite things about this salad is that it’s really quick to throw together at the last minute.
The flavor will be best if you give the salad at least 30 minutes to chill in the fridge before serving. If you’re pinched for time and your ingredients are cold, it’ll be fine.
Storage and Shelf Life
Stored in a covered container in the fridge, cucumber yogurt salad will keep for up to 5 days. However, after 3 days, the water in the Persian cucumbers will begin to leech, watering down the salad.
What to Serve with Cucumber Yogurt Salad
If you’re looking for a quick lunch, serve it in a whole wheat pita or barbari bread. It would be especially delicious tucked into a boat-shaped loaf of Georgian bread or eaten with manakeesh as pictured here.
Mast o Khiar (Persian Cucumber Yogurt Salad)
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 2 Persian cucumbers cut into small dice
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (save some for garnish)
- ¼ cup golden raisins (save some for garnish)
- 3 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
- 1 tbsp dried rose petals (food grade) crushed (save some for garnish)
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Combine all in a small bowl, stirring to combine. Chill covered in refrigerator for 1 hour for the flavors to meld.
- Sprinkle reserved walnuts, golden raisins and rose on top for garnish prior to serving salad.
- You can store in the fridge for up to a week.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.