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Recipe: Classic Çoban Salata or Shepherd’s Salad

I was thinking the other day… I actually don’t have a recipe for this absolute classic salad which is one of the most popular in Turkey. Çoban Salata, that is—or Shepherd’s Salad in English. I have a regional version of it somewhere on VegFusion with a terrible photo but not the actual, the most classical recipe. Well, I’d like to fix this situation today…

Çoban Salata is a light, easy to make, and incredibly refreshing salad. The key thing here is to make sure you use the freshest ingredients. And some really good quality Turkish extra virgin olive oil—not some bitter tasting one from Spain.

Çoban Salata

Çoban Salata Ingredients:
• 1 medium size brown onion
• 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, finely chopped
• 1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled (optional) and finely chopped
• A handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• 1 banana chilli or bullhorn pepper, seeded and finely chopped

For the dressing:
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• Juice of ½ lemon
• Salt to taste

Method:
1. Peel the onion and slice thinly. Place it in a small bowl and sprinkle with salt. Rub the onion slices with your hand then rinse and squeeze out all the water. Put the onion slices in a salad bowl.
2. Wash the tomatoes, pepper, cucumbers and parsley. Pat dry with a towel.
3. Chop the tomatoes, cucumber and parsley. Deseed the banana chilli or bullhorn pepper and dice.
4. Put all the chopped ingredients together with onions and mix well.
5. To make the dressing: whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and salt. This is the typical salad dressing used in most Turkish salads.
6. Just before serving, add the dressing to the salad and mix thoroughly.

Recipe Notes:
• As an alternative, you can throw in some spring (green) onions or fresh mint.
• Don’t throw away the juice at the bottom of the bowl. Instead, mop it up the zingy dressing with some fresh bread. I used to do that when I was a kid.

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