Middle Eastern Salad

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This refreshing Middle Eastern salad combines crunchy veggies with a lightly spiced and authentic lemon dressing. It is ready in minutes and incredibly versatile, serving as an excellent side dish or a light starter, making it a staple for busy weeknights or leisurely weekend lunches. 

Love this? Try this Maroulosalata or this Greek Chickpea Salad.

Why You’ll Love It

This Middle Eastern salad is my first port of call when I’m craving something light.

It’s loaded with wholesome ingredients like crunchy cucumbers and ripe tomatoes. Plus, it gets an incredible kick from a smooth lemon and sumac dressing.

I also love how the fresh herbs add an instant zing to each bite.

But the simple addition of a bit of sumac in the dressing takes this dish to the next level. It gives the salad an almost fruity and sour flavor, giving it a typical Middle Eastern vibe.

Laid out ingredients of middle eastern salad: cucumbers, parsley, sumac, onion, tomatoes, lemon, evoo, and mint.

How to Make Middle Eastern Salad

Step-by-step overview. Full ingredients and instructions are in the recipe card below.

Prepare the veggies: Wash the cucumbers and tomatoes. Then, dice them into small and even pieces (photos 1 and 2). Finely chop the red onion and fresh herbs and set it to one side (photos 3 and 4).

Mix things up: In a large salad bowl, mix the diced cucumbers, tomatoes, chopped red onion, fresh parsley, and mint (photo 5).

Dress your salad and serve: Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the salad and sprinkle on the sumac or za’atar (photo 6). Season with salt and black pepper. Then, toss the salad until it’s well mixed. Let the salad sit for around 10 minutes to let the flavors meld together, then serve and enjoy.

Notes and Tips

  • If you find the onion flavor too intense, try soaking it in cold water first for a few minutes. This removes some of the sulfur compounds that give onion its kick.
  • You could add 1-2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses to the dressing. It will add a sweet and tangy flavor with fruity undertones, making the salad even more irresistible.

Serving Suggestions

Hands tossing the middle eastern salad using a spoon.

How to Store

I recommend serving this salad fresh as it might go slightly soggy the longer it sits in the olive oil and lemon mixture.

If you want to make it in advance, you can store the chopped veggies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

You can then add the dressing and fresh chopped herbs just before serving!

If you try this middle eastern salad recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!

Middle eastern salad in a round plate.
5 from 1 vote
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Middle Eastern Salad

This refreshing Middle Eastern salad combines crunchy veggies with a lightly spiced and authentic lemon dressing. It is ready in minutes and incredibly versatile, serving as an excellent side dish or a light starter, making it a staple for busy weeknights or leisurely weekend lunches.
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 4
Calories: 137kcal
Author: Sara Trezzi

Ingredients

  • 3 persian cucumbers - diced or 1 english cucumber
  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes - diced or 3 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion - finely chopped (Note 1)
  • ½ cup fresh parsley - finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves - finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice - of 1 lemon
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sumac or za’atar - optional (Note 2)

Instructions

  • Wash the cucumbers and tomatoes. Dice them into small, even pieces. Finely chop the red onion.
  • In a large salad bowl, mix together the diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and chopped red onion.
  • Stir in the chopped parsley and mint, if using.
  • Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the salad. If you’re adding sumac or za’atar, sprinkle it on now (see note 3).
  • Season with salt and black pepper to taste, then toss the salad until well mixed.
  • Allow the salad to rest for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed right before serving.
  • Serve.

Notes

Note 1 – onion: If you find the red onion flavor too strong, chop the onions and let them soak in a bowl of cold water while you prep the other vegetables. Then, drain and pat them dry. This helps remove some sulfur compounds that give onions their strong bite.
Note 2 – spices: Sumac has a tangy lemon-like flavor with a slightly fruity and sour taste. Za’atar is a blend of several ingredients that typically include dried thyme, oregano, and marjoram mixed with sesame seeds, salt, and often sumac. If you have either available, they will give your salad an extra Middle Eastern twist.
Note 3 – pomegranate molasse: To make this salad extra special, you could add 1-2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses. 
How to store: This salad is best served fresh. If you want to make it in advance, keep all the chopped veggies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Once ready to serve, add the dressing and fresh chopped herbs.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate per serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Sugar: 5g

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