Persian shirazi salad, aka salad shirazi, is a finely chopped cucumber and tomato salad with dried crushed mint, olive oil, and lemon juice. My Persian cousin, Molly, gave me all of the tips and tricks for this authentic chopped shirazi salad. I even had a follow up call with my Aunt LeeAnn to make sure I had every step down exactly like how they make it at home.
Shirazi salad originated in the town of Shiraz in southern Iran. It's a year-round salad side dish that's easy to make. The key to this bright and flavorful chopped salad is quality olive oil and fresh ingredients.
What I Love About This Salad
I love that this Persian salad has very few ingredients, it's quick to whip up, and it's unbelievably delicious. The crunchy sweetness from the Persian cucumbers and Roma tomatoes combines with freshly squeezed lemon and bright dried mint leaves. Shirazi salad is a great side salad to accompany any main dish or grilled meats.
- Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers: It's really important to use either of these two cucumbers because they have very little, if any, seeds. Other types of cucumbers are bitter and too watery.
- Tomatoes: The two best tomatoes for this salad are Roma tomatoes or grape tomatoes. However, any type of ripe tomato can be used by removing the seeds.
- Dried Mint: A key ingredient for this Persian salad is dried mint. Fresh mint does not have the same flavor as dried mint and therefore, should not be substituted.
- High quality extra virgin olive oil
See substitutions below and the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How To Make Shirazi Salad
Squeeze the lemon separating the seeds from the lemon juice. Crush the dried mint with your hands and add it to the lemon juice.
Cut the red onion in half. Slice longways. Turn the red onion 90 degrees and finely chop the onion.
Cut the ends off the Persian cucumber. Slice the cucumber in half. Slice each half into long strips. Turn the cucumber 90 degrees to chop finely.
Chopping Tip: chop all of the vegetables finely to the same size.
Cut the Roma tomatoes in half. Scoop the seeds out of the tomatoes with a spoon.
Slice the tomatoes into long strips. Turn 90 degrees and finely chop the Roma tomatoes.
Add the chopped Persian cucumbers, Roma tomatoes, and finely diced red onion to a bowl. Pour the lemon juice and dried mint mixture on top.
Mix the chopped ingredients to fully coat each piece with lemon juice. Right before serving shirazi salad, pour extra virgin olive oil on top. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- If you wash the cucumber skins, you don't need to peel the cucumbers.
- If eating this salad later, don't make the dressing until prior to serving.
Substitutions & Variations
Here are a few substitutions and variations for this Persian shirazi salad:
- Substitute white onion for the red onion. Do not use yellow onion or sweet onion because they are too sweet.
- You can substitute an English cucumber for every 3 Persian cucumbers.
- Limes, lemons, or Persian limes can be used.
- Grape tomatoes are an excellent substitution for Roma tomatoes.
I recommend using a sharp chefs knife and cutting board to make this Persian salad. You will also need a large enough bowl to mix the salad.
If making this Persian salad ahead of time, don't add the lemon juice, olive oil, or salt to the chopped vegetables. These ingredients break down the cucumbers and tomatoes, altering the taste. Also, the salad will not be crunchy.
Store the chopped cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes in the fridge without the dressing for up to 2 days. Once you are ready to eat the salad, mix the dried mint and lemon juice. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Pour the olive oil at the end.