Salad Shirazi (Persian Cucumber and Tomato Salad)

Salad Shirazi is a herb and vegetable salad from the southern Iranian city of Shiraz. It’s enjoyed year-round as a side dish, but is often served as a full meal during the hot summer months. While the vegetables are often diced – giving them an appearance not unlike Pico de Gallo – I have found that using larger chunks give each ingredient a bit more distinction, and results in a livelier eating experience.

There isn’t much to this recipe; theoretically, you could just throw all of the ingredients together and chow down. But I prefer to soak the onions in cold water first, which removes some astringency, and to salt the tomatoes and cucumbers to leech out a bit of their juice. That way, most of the salad’s moisture comes from more flavorful sources, like olive oil and lime juice.

Salad Shirazi - Persian Cucumber and Tomato Salad (Gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, Whole30, vegetarian, vegan)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

1/2 small red onion, sliced (about ½ cup sliced)
1 lb Persian (small) cucumbers, peeled in alternating lengthwise strips to make a zebra pattern, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb mixed tomatoes: heirloom, cherry, and grape, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 bunch chives (about 10 chives), cut into 1” lengths
1 small handful fresh dill, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup chopped)
1 small handful fresh parsley, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup chopped)
juice of 1 lime (about 2 tbsp juice)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp black pepper, more to taste

1. Place the sliced onion in a small bowl of cool water, and soak for 10 minutes to reduce its astringency, then drain and pat dry with paper towels. Place the cucumbers and tomatoes in a colander suspended over a bowl, then toss with 1 tbsp of the kosher salt; set aside for 10 minutes, stirring to drain any accumulated water; gently pat dry to remove excess moisture.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, chives, dill, and parsley. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil, and black pepper. Pour the lime dressing into the mixing bowl and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

Note: In the year leading up to my new cookbook’s release, I will be regularly releasing these recipes to 1) maintain a continuing conversation with my readership and 2) give visitors to this site an opportunity to test and provide feedback before editing. For more information on this new approach, read my post here.

15 thoughts on “Salad Shirazi (Persian Cucumber and Tomato Salad)

  1. Sounds good, but alas, it’s too late for us here in Colorado. We had to pick everything from the garden two nights ago, in preparation for our first hard frost and snowstorm. Maybe next year…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is wonderful refreshing salad. I’ve made this for my polo zereshk (chicken rice dish) or koobideh (Persian ground beef kebabs). Tip: use fresh herbs, don’t shortcut it by using dried herbs. Equally refreshing with fresh lemon juice too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Russ, silly question but using a tablespoon of salt to leach moisture from cucumbers and tomatoes, will they not be overly salty after? Or does the salt drip away with the salt X essere moisture? And adding further salt later, will that be necessary? Thanks


    1. Hi Bridget, great questions – when you pat dry the tomatoes and cucumbers, most of the salt comes away with the paper towel. I’ve found that the cucumbers and tomatoes are then perfectly seasoned, and from there you’ll only need to add salt to the finished salad to taste; I often don’t need to salt anything once the salad is all together. Hope that makes sense!


  4. This has quickly become a family favorite. This salad is delicious, beautiful to look at and easy to prepare. We have a house full of 5 boys from 15 to 5 and they all agree on this one. Well done, that is no small accomplishment.


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