A delicious and refreshing salad, dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and fresh mint. A healthy side dish that will lighten up any heavy meal.
Today, I want to introduce you to this Middle Eastern Salad that is ever-present in my family’s kitchen. I grew up eating this salad every day as a side dish with stews, rice, grilled chicken and kabob. My mom would always prepare this salad for us to eat at lunch. My brother and I would come home from school to watch my mom as she prepared this salad. We would sit on the kitchen table to admire how she seasons, tastes and adjusts the salad. She used no measuring cups, no teaspoons only her instincts but somehow her salad always ended up perfect.
This simple Middle Eastern Salad is the traditional everyday salad in Iraq and anywhere in the Middle East. It is present at most meals and if you ask for a salad without specifying what kind, this is what you’re likely to get. This salad is referred to as “Arabic Salad” or simply “Salad”. In Iraq we call it “Zalata” and in the rest of the Middle Eastern countries, it is named “Salata”. Though this salad has different names throughout the Middle East, it sure has one thing in common: it is the EASIEST salad to make.
Made with garden vegetables and flavoured with parsley and fresh mint, this Middle Eastern Salad is simply amazing. It contains cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and green pepper but you shouldn’t stop there. You can add anything you wish to this salad such as carrots, celery, yellow peppers, radishes, you name it! This recipe is simple yet versatile as you can omit or add various ingredients. The vegetables are always diced; the size of the pieces varies depending on personal preferences but for the most part my family prefers it to be diced very small.
You may use Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers but avoid using fat cucumber as they are usually coated with wax and can be bitter at times. If you don’t like adding raw onions to your salad, you can omit that and the salad will still taste great. Now tell me, do you have a favourite salad that your mom makes? What ingredients does it have? 🙂
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup minced fresh mint
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Dried mint
- Salt to taste
- Place all ingredients into one large bowl
- Toss until all vegetables are evenly coated
- Serve fresh at room temperature or chilled for a more refreshing salad