Brighten up your day with this recipe for Shirazi salad with chickpeas. This crisp and refreshing salad can be made in less than ten minutes with only a handful of simple ingredients. It’s loaded with fresh, vibrant flavors and will fill you up without weighing you down.
Looking for an easy, versatile and delicious side dish? This one’s a keeper! Today’s recipe for Shirazi salad is a gift from the world of Middle Eastern Cuisine. It is a simple yet sensational blend of freshly diced vegetables, fresh herbs, olive oil, and a blast of citrus.
Honestly, it couldn’t be easier to make. All you really need to do is chop veggies, add chickpeas, mix in the dressing, and marinate. The result is a fabulously fresh and zingy side dish that goes great with just about everything.
Try it as a side dish with any meat dish like my Chicken Koobideh, Lamb Shawarma (Shredded), or Beef and Lamb Koobideh Kabob. It also makes a great vegetarian lunch option and is a filling snack all by itself. I like to make a batch and eat it throughout the week.
What is Shirazi Salad?
The name means “from Shiraz,” which is a large city in southwestern Iran.
While similar to my recipe for Mediterranean chopped veggie salad, this one has chickpeas for a boost of protein.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Cucumbers – Persian cucumbers are an ideal choice. Their thinner skins and a low water content give them a crisp texture and mild flavor. If you can’t find them, go with English cucumbers or another seedless variety.
- Tomatoes – Ripe, yet firm Roma tomatoes are the best option. You can substitute other tomato varieties if needed, but make sure you are choosing tomatoes that will keep their shape once diced. You can remove the seeds if desired, but it isn’t required.
- Chickpeas – I added chickpeas to the recipe to add some earthy flavor, texture, volume, and protein. Use canned chickpeas or check out my post on how to cook chickpeas.
- Onion – Red onion adds a sweet, peppery bite and a splash of color. Yellow or white onions can be used as well.
- Citrus Juice – Use fresh lemon, lime, or a combination of both to liven up the salad with bright acidity, sourness, and tang.
- Mint – This subtly sweet and cooling herb balances and compliments the other flavors in the dish. Use fresh mint if available or substitute one tablespoon of dried mint.
- Olive Oil – Light and nutty, this incorporates and enhances the other flavors in the dish.
- Salt – Brings the flavors of the dish to life.
- Pepper – Adds a nice little dash of sharp, peppery heat
To see exactly how to make the salad dressing, watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
HOW TO MAKE SHIRAZI SALAD
- Prepare the Vegetables. Dice the cucumber, tomato, and onion into small pieces, taking care to make them as uniform as possible. Put the diced veggies and the chickpeas in a bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.
- Make the Dressing. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, citrus juice, mint, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Combine All Ingredients. Now, pour the citrus dressing into the bowl with the vegetables. Toss gently but thoroughly, making sure everything gets evenly coated.
- Marinate. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes. The longer the salad has to marinate, the more flavorful it becomes.
- Serve and Enjoy. Give the salad a nice stir before serving. Enjoy this salad on its own or as a side dish.
What is the Origin of the Shirazi Salad?
Shirazi salad gets its name from its town of origin, Shiraz, in southern Iran.
In the grand scheme of things, the current version of this recipe is a fairly recent creation. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that the tomato made its debut in the region and started showing up in recipes like this one. Interestingly the tomato hails from the Americas and was originally cultivated by the Aztec. I never would have guessed!
What is Shirazi Salad Made Of?
Traditionally, Shirazi salad is made with Persian cucumbers, Roma tomatoes, onions, and herbs tossed in a bath of zingy dressing. The herbs may vary but always contain some combination of mint, cilantro, parsley, and dill.
In Iran, the dressing is made from a special sour grape called ab-e-ghooreh, but this ingredient is almost impossible to find in the United States. As such, most versions of this salad that you’ll come across rely on fresh lemon or lime juice to brighten the dressing and the dish.
You’ll also notice that this version has chickpeas. They make this salad much heartier and filling. This isn’t the traditional way, but I think you’ll agree it’s a great addition. I’ve even seen a version with pomegranate seeds, but we won’t get that adventurous today!
How Long Does Shirazi Salad Last?
Stored in an airtight container, leftover Shirazi salad will last around 5 days in the refrigerator. Cucumbers and tomatoes can turn mushy in the blink of an eye, though, so keep an eye on them.
This recipe is not one that freezes well. The vegetables in this recipe have far too much water in them to survive the freezing process intact. I recommend making smaller batches and enjoying it fresh within a week.
Shirazi Salad with Chickpeas + Video
- Dice the tomato, cucumber and onion in small pieces (See Note 3). In a bowl mix the chopped vegetables with chickpeas. Set aside.
- Whisk together the citrus juice, olive oil, mint, kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
- Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat thoroughly.
- Refrigerate and allow to marinate for 30 minutes and serve (See Note 4).
- Substitute 2 English cucumbers if you can’t find the smaller Persian, just use seedless cucumbers. Feel free to peel the cucumber, but the skin is so thin on the Persian I do not.
- Substitute 1 tablespoon dried mint.
- Be sure to keep the dice uniform in size, for visual and textural purposes.
- The longer the salad marinates the better as the flavors develop. Serve alongside any grilled meat or on its own.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.