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Kalyn's Kitchen

Middle Eastern Tomato Salad or Salad Shirazi (Video)

Middle Eastern Tomato Salad or Salad Shirazi is a traditional tomato salad that’s found all over the middle east, and making this salad is something I look forward to every summer. And this delicious fresh salad is low-carb, low-glycemic, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, South Beach Diet Phase friendly, Paleo, and Whole 30 approved! Use the Salad Index to find more recipes like this one.

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Watch the video to see if you might want to make Middle Eastern Tomato Salad.

Middle Eastern Tomato Salad or Salad Shirazi found on KalynsKitchen.com

This Middle Eastern Tomato Salad or Salad Shirazi  is one of my very favorite ways to eat tomatoes when they’re fresh and sun-ripened, and if I ever was forced to choose my top ten favorite ways to eat tomatoes, this salad would absolutely be on that list.  It’s actually very good made with Roma tomatoes since they have less seeds and the flesh is firm, but you can make it with any type of tomatoes that have good flavor. And last night my brother Rand showed up to stay at my house in Utah with a big bowl of San Marzano tomatoes from his garden in California, so we’ll definitely be making Middle Eastern Tomato Salad at my house today!

I learned to make the salad years ago from my friend Massoud, who came to the United States from Iran, and this combination of salad ingredients is so traditional that it’s just called “salad” there. In the U.S. you might see it on a restaurant menu called Salad Shirazi. You can vary the proportions based on your own taste or what you have in the garden, but don’t skimp on the mint and parsley, which is what makes this salad so special.

Middle Eastern Tomato Salad or Salad Shirazi found on KalynsKitchen.com

Dice up one generous cup of garden fresh cucumber.  (You can salt the cucumber and let it drain in a colander, but these days I often skip that step.) Dice an equal amount of garden-fresh tomatoes.  (If the tomatoes are extra juicy, you can drain them in a colander for a few minutes.) If I have sweet onion, I’d use equal amounts to the cucumbers and tomatoes.  This time I only had regular yellow onion, so I used a bit less.  You can soak the onion in cold water for a few minutes if you’re not a fan of raw onion, but please don’t leave it out.

You’ll also need a cup of finely chopped fresh parsley.  (I like curly parsley in this, but either one will work.) I picked mint from my windowsill herb garden, so I gave it a good wash in the salad spinner. And finely chopped the mint as well.  (You can chop the herbs in a food processor if you prefer, but I just used a big chef’s knife.)

Middle Eastern Tomato Salad or Salad Shirazi found on KalynsKitchen.com
Mix the tomato, cucumber, onion, parsley, and mint in a non-metal bowl. Then mix in olive oil and lemon juice, starting with the smaller amounts listed and tasting until it seems right to you. Season the salad with salt and fresh-ground black pepper and devour!

Middle Eastern Tomato Salad or Salad Shirazi found on KalynsKitchen.com

Make it a Meal:

For a healthy low-carb dinner, this would taste great with something like Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano or The World’s Easiest Kabobs with Grilled Zucchini and Sausage.

More Summer Tomato Salads to Savor:

Chopped Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Mint, Feta, Lemon, and Thyme ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Marinated Tomato Salad ~ David Lebovitz
Tomatoes, Hearts of Palm, Olives, and Feta with Basil Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cherry Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad ~ Aggie’s Kitchen
Summer Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese, Basil Vinaigrette, and Herbs ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Stacked Tomato Salad ~ A Spicy Perspective

Want More Summer Tomato Salads?

Check out Ten Favorite Summer Tomato Salads (plus Honorable Mentions) for more amazing salad ideas for summer tomatoes!

Middle Eastern Tomato Salad or Salad Shirazi

This delicious Middle Eastern Tomato Salad or Salad Shirazi is a traditional tomato salad that’s found all over the middle east.


  • 1 cup finely diced cucumber (remove seeds if they are large)
  • 1 cup finely diced tomato
  • 1 cup finely diced onion (I often use sweet Vidalia onion)
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley (more or less, to taste)
  • 1 cup finely chopped mint (more or less, to taste)
  • 2-3 T olive oil, or more to taste
  • 1-2 T fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • salt, pepper to taste


  1. Chop cucumber in pieces less than 1/2 inch and put in colander.
  2. Add a generous amount of salt and let sit while you chop other ingredients. (These days I often skip the step of salting and draining the cucumber, unless it seems watery.  If the tomatoes are juicy I sometimes put them in a colander and let the juice run out.)
  3. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions should be cut in same-size pieces.
  4. Parsley and mint should be chopped very finely. (You can use a food processor to chop the mint and parsley if you wish.)
  5. When all ingredients are chopped, combine in mixing bowl.
  6. Mix in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. (Start with a bit less and add more until it tastes right to you. I find it does not need a great deal of dressing to taste good.)
  7. Serve immediately.


This recipe was given to me by my friend Massoud.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Middle Eastern Tomato Salad or Salad Shirazi is a perfect side salad for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but in the summer I’d be very happy just having a big bowl of this for lunch. The salad would also be approved for other low-carb eating plans, including Paleo and Whole 30. Tomatoes and onions do have carbs, so if you’re wanting a lower-carb version use more cucumbers than other veggies.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

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    22 Comments on “Middle Eastern Tomato Salad or Salad Shirazi (Video)”

  1. Try it with only Cilantro, English Cukes, Red Onion, Roma tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil. Use sea salt or kosher salt to taste…

    This is how my Mother-in-Law made it. So good and can be served with Kabobs or one of many Khoreshts.

  2. Yes, Kalyan, we don't get many evenings now in the UK when it is still warm enough to sit out in the evening, so we took advantage and enjoyed our meal outside before the Autumn weather arrives!

    I would recommend the salad with any grilled fish or chicken. It would compliment some vegetarian dishes too I'm sure.

    I agree you do have to be brave with the herbs as you think when you are chopping them you think it will be overpowering. The herbs make the salad fresh and fragrant. I also took your advice about adding the dressing sparingly. I didn't add that much it didn't need it. I added more lemon than oil on this occasion but as I was serving oily fish it worked better with the recipe.

    Thanks for replying and also best wishes to you and your family.

  3. Thank you for a fabulous recipe. I made this tonight. I served it alongside fresh grilled sardines (cooked in the BBQ) the salad complimented the fish so well.

    I was a little concerned about the amount of herbs as it seemed like a lot, but decided to make it like the recipe and found that the herbs mellow out with the dressing and make it very refreshing on the palate. I halved the recipe as it was only for two of us.

    I managed to source an organic cucumber here in the UK which had hardly any seeds so I didn't salt and I used tiny cherry tomatoes quartered. I also used a mild white sweet onion from Spain.

    I will be making this again soon….thanks to your friend Massoud and to you for sharing your recipe.

  4. My tomato plants are about a foot tall and I can't wait for summer to arrive so I can give this salad a try with "real" tomatoes.

  5. Glad you enjoyed the memory. An Iranian cab driver once told me about the salad you're describing. I think I will try to find a recipe for it.

  6. Your recipe really brought back memories of when we lived in Teheran when I was 10-12. Iranians love salads! The salad I remember the most from our 2 years there was a cucumber, sour cream, mint salad our maid always made for us. Seh always soaked her cukes in water with ice cubes for an hour before tossing it altogether. Your salad sounds absolutely delicious, and I'll definitely try it. Thanks for the trip back to my childhood.

  7. I’m Arabic my self so I love Tabuli. 🙂 did you know every ingredient in Tabuli is a cancer fighter?

  8. When your eggplants are ready you should make baba ganoosh! This salad would be a great side for the eggplant dip!

  9. oooh, I’m so jealous. Our tomatoes are still little green nubs!

    Sandy-la (cute name!), Amazon is a great place to sell used books. You get to set your own price and wait for someone to buy them, and if it doesn’t happen then you drop your price. I’ve never tried selling books on Ebay, I’m betting Amazon is better. Maybe you could try them both and let us know!

  10. Liz, yes, tabbouli comes from the same part of the world. Massoud tells me that in the middle east, the tabbouli is mostly mint and parsley with just a bit of bulgar.

    Ari, I agree completely.

    Kelly, you’ll love it, I promise!

    Katie, sorry to hear about the tomatoes. Garden cucumbers are great too though.

    Riana, love the sound of your version. Hmmm. I have lots of peppers!

    Jay, thanks so much for letting me know you liked it.

  11. I just made the recipe with tomatoes and cucumbers fresh from the garden (I don’t have an herb garden, unfortunately) and it is delicious!


  12. Yum, I love this salad.It is one of my favorites. I also add bell peppers and chunks of baked pita bread. AH, tomato season! So exicted for that!

  13. Lovely salad, Kalyn! I, sadly, have no tomatoes this year… I have been able to buy some nice ones, but it’s just not the same. I’m going to have some cukes in a few days though….so exciting!
    And I have lots of parsley and mint… so I can get clost with your salad…

  14. It looks so beautiful, almost like a garden salsa. I’ll have to try this.

  15. Few things can compare to the simple pleasures of eating food you have watched grow in you backyard! When I was a kid my mother had a lovely garden and my brother & I loved to help her harvest food from it. She made some wonderful things with that produce, and looks like you did too. Can’t wait to see what else you come up with!

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  16. This looks fantastic!

    Interestingly enough, if you had a 1/4 cup of bulgur wheat and mince, rather than chop the other ingredients, it’s also the perfect recipe for tabouli.

  17. Valli, you’ll love it.

    Sandy, you’re nice to notice, but I don’t always respond to each person, just not enough time. I try to do it when I can. I don’t know how to sell cookbooks. I sold a bunch once at a yard sale, but I made hardly anything from them. You might write to Cate at Sweetnicks. I know she sometimes sells them on Amazon.com. I’ll be interested to see if other people have good ideas.

    Pam, this salad is just the best thing to make with garden tomatoes! Hope you like it.

  18. What a fresh looking salad. My cherry tomatoes are ripening even as I type this, it will be perfect for them!

  19. Kalyn,

    I notice you often respond to every person who leaves a comment — that is so sweet and exceptional of you!

    I have a question to pose to you and others who comment:

    I have more than 200 cookbooks – going back 30 years or so, including a fair amount purchased in the 90’s and in the past 7 years. I only cook for myself and, unfortunately, that’s not enough incentive to really spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so I’m trying to figure out what to do with them. I spent lots of money on them over the years and I’d like to try to at least get a token amount back on them.

    Does anyone have a recommendation as to how to sell them? Garage sale, E-bay, Craig’s list (someone suggested just offering several lots of books for a stated price or “best offer”).

    I have a large supply of vegetarian cookbooks and “healthy cookbooks, plus some gourmet.

    I always loved the idea of food and cooking, but just don’t seem to activate on it much anymore. Even so, I haven’t deserted the food blogs — they’re great fun and very nutritious!

  20. What a great way to use up the surplus in the garden or from the farmer’s market in my case!!!!