This homemade Turkish Shepherd Salad mezze (appetizer) is made with fresh vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and a yummy lemony dressing. It can be used as a dip or rolled up in a pita/ flatbread with falafel. The secret ingredient with this recipe is sumac. It gives it that wonderful authentic flavor.
This dish is light, fresh and satisfying. It has a variety of textures from the bursting tomatoes to the crunchy peppers and cucumbers. It has a delicious robust flavor and is so good with shawarma and other Mediterranean dishes.
Below is a list of ingredients needed for this recipe. Follow our tips on each ingredient for best results.
- Roma tomatoes- you can use any tomato, but I've found this works best with a more firm tomato. Cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half lengthwise also work great.
- Cucumber - while recipe testing, we found that crunchier cucumbers work better in this recipe. For crunchy cucumbers, use any variety with small, few seeds.
- Red Onion- for an authentic taste, stick with red. We tried a few different onions and while they tasted fine, red onions provide the most authentic flavor.
- Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley- for the best taste, use fresh! We tested this recipe with dried and it wasn't the same at all. Make sure to use fresh.
- Green Bell Pepper
- Shallot- minced garlic will also work
- Fresh Mint - there is no substitution that will work to replace fresh mint in this recipe. If you absolutely cannot use it, just omit it.
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
- Red Wine Vinegar- apple cider vinegar will work in a pinch, but red wine is recommended for the best flavor.
- Sumac - sumac is the heart of this dish and gives it an amazing flavor. It can be a little difficult to find, but I've seen it at some major grocery stores and it can be found at an Asian food market.
- Black Pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Turkish Shepherd Salad
Use these process shots to help get the results you are wanting. The pictures can help with texture and be a visual guide for best results.
Start by chopping the vegetables and herbs. Chop tomatoes and cucumber up into cubes roughly ½" wide or slightly smaller and place them in a medium sized mixing bowl. Thinly slice the red onion, then chop some of them a few times into smaller pieces and add to the bowl. Finely chop the shallot and add to bowl. Chop the parsley and mint and add to the bowl.
Drizzle olive oil then red wine vinegar over the vegetables.
Squeeze lemon juice over the vegetables. Stir to combine.
Next sprinkle spices (sumac, paprika, salt and pepper) over vegetables and herbs and stir to combine again.
Hint: fresh lemon juice is more flavorful than lemon juice concentrate, but concentrate will do in a pinch.
Substitutions and Variations
We love switching things up when we're in the kitchen. Try any of these variations for something a little different.
- Colored Bell Pepper - instead of a green bell pepper, substitute a colored one in.
- Grape or Cherry Tomatoes - use grape or cherry tomatoes for a little bit more tomato flavor.
- Apple Cider Vinegar- feel free to use apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. It won't change the taste very much.
- Spicy - add 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes to the spices for a little extra spice!
- Extra Vegetables - add one zucchini and one summer squash for some extra vegetables and flavor. Greens beans and more colored bell peppers would make a great addition too.
- Deluxe- top with avocado, Greek yogurt and feta cheese.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Turkish shepherd salad is best eaten fresh, but it will hold up for about 2 days. After 2 days the tomatoes will start to mush and the leaves will wilt.
We do not recommend to freezing this salad.
How to Serve Turkish Salad
I love taking this yummy recipe to any gathering or party. I like to serve it with pita chips. You can also use this as a side when making other Turkish or Greek foods such as shawarma or pitas or souvlaki.
When making this recipe, use fresh ingredients. It may be tempting to substitute in dried herbs, but the results are so much better when using fresh!
Turkish Shepherd Salad
- 3 Roma tomatoes
- 1 regular sized cucumber
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 large red onion thinly sliced
- 1 shallot or ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- juice of one lemon about ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sumac
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- fresh black pepper
- Chop green bell pepper, cucumber and tomatoes into ½" or slightly smaller chunks. Place in a medium sized mixing bowl. Finely chop shallot and add to the bowl.
- Finely chop parsley and mint and add to the bowl. Stir to combine.
- Drizzle on the olive oil and red wine vinegar. Stir to combine.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the mixture and stir to combine.
- Top with sumac, paprika, salt and pepper and stir to combine. See photos above for a great visual.
- Enjoy! Refrigerate for 1 hour to serve cold.