Çoban (pron: choban) Salatası is a lovely refreshing salad that you’ll find all over Turkey especially in the summer when the tomatoes are at their sweetest and juiciest. Çoban actually means shepherd, so this is considered a Shepherd’s Salad. In other countries it has a similar name. In Syria it is called a Peasant’s Salad. It is made from the most easily found ingredients during the summer months. Many of us are lucky enough to be able to collect every ingredient needed just by picking these vegetables out of our summer garden. All the ingredients are at their best from June to September so we have a good chance of eating quite a few of these salads in the timeframe!
It is light, easy to prepare, and full of flavour. Everybody always loves it and I for one certainly expect to be eating it often this summer. Here, it is served along with the meze which come before the main course. The dressing is added just before serving – it’s a simple one but it is the classic dressing of choice. Lemon juice is always preferred to vinegar.
Çoban Salad Dressing / Turkish Shepherd’s Salad Dressing
The dressing used for this salad is the same dressing that will be put on most raw salads where there is a mixture of various greens along with tomatoes, cucumbers, spring onions, normal onion, grated carrots, grated radish, sliced white , green or red cabbage and generally all simple salads. It is the dressing we use time and time again for our salads. Thrown together in seconds, we find the flavour enhances the freshly picked vegetables and cannot be beaten.
The first thing of all to do with the salad once all ingredients are placed in the bowl is to sprinkle some salt over it. This makes the flavours come out and the tomatoes and cucumbers will start emitting their juices which will then mix in with the dressing, giving it a wonderful flavour. Then you should start pouring over some extra virgin olive oil, sometimes known as EVOO. In Turkey, this will be the bottle that has Sızma written on the label and NOT Riviera which is oil not extracted from the first cold pressing and hence the more economical product, used more in cooking.
A generous drizzle of EVOO is good for the salad. Lastly, the lemon juice is poured on. It is important that the juice goes on last as the acid put directly on the salad without the oil firstly covering it, makes the salad wilt faster.
Decorating the salad dish with a few olives as well as a sprig or two of parsley tops if off nicely.
Allow plenty of bread to soak up all those delicious juices that accumulate !
1. No surprise here, this salad doesn’t keep well. Don’t make too much in advance as it’ll go soggy.
2. *Here there are two types of green pepper apart from the larger stuffing kind. Sivri biberare dark green in colour, pointed in shape (sivri means pointed), and can be lethal in taste ie hot or acı! If you are like us and prefer a milder taste, then buy the other sort, the çarliston biber. These are light green, also long but not so pointed in shape.
3.Sometimes you see white cheese / beyaz peyniri or feta cubed and added to this salad. This is not an authentic ingredient! But then it gets called Mediterranean Salad – Akdeniz Salatası!
There is also another variation of the Coban Salad recipe which is called Gavurdagi Salad named after a mountain range. This is indeed also very tasty and another variation of this salad can also be found within our blog.
This salad is similar to Çoban Salad Recipe but has walnuts in it along with a slightly different dressing to the normal coban dressing which is used on many simple salads. This summer salad is simply delicious and is made in the hottest part of the season when temperatures are soaring and the tomatoes are bursting with flavour.
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 red onion preferably but can be white, finely chopped
2/3 cup finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsp Sirma (extra virgin) olive oil
2 tsp pomegranate paste
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp pul biber (red pepper flakes)
1 tsp sumac (this can be substituted with lemon zest if you can’t find sumac)
1/4 cup walnuts chopped
Firstly, mix the chopped onions with the sumac and the salt. Then combine all the other ingredients and lastly sprinkle it with the chopped walnuts which are not cut too finely. (See photo)
This recipe tastes best if left to rest in the fridge for half an hour before serving.