I think that I ate Shopska Salad (also known as Balkan Salad) nearly every day while I was in the Balkans. I first discovered it in Serbia, and I loved how light and refreshing it is in comparison to the large portions of hearty meats served in Serbia. The salad is filled with fresh seasonal summer vegetables and is topped with cheese. It couldn’t be any easier to make!
Americans tend to think of lettuce and greens when we hear the word salad. Europeans use the term more broadly. Any side dish with chopped vegetables is a salad. There are a couple common variations to Shopska Salad that we found in Serbia. Some Shopska Salads had spicy peppers in addition to the bell peppers, others had sliced olives.
This the perfect side dish to serve this time of year. Tomatoes are in season, and this recipe puts them front and center. The tomatoes are the ingredient used the most in the salad, the cucumber, bell pepper, onion, and cheese all play supporting roles. But you can opt to change the proportions of the ingredients based on personal preferences. I think that about 1/4 cup of chopped onion is enough, and I like to omit the red wine vinegar since I think the tomato juices are a perfect dressing.
Shopska Salad a great make-ahead lunch. Since there are no greens, you don’t have to worry about the salad wilting. This salad actually gets better as it sits and the vegetables get juicier. I recommend making it at least 2 hours before serving it. Shopska Salad is usually served with some oil and vinegar on the side, but I didn’t really use it! I think that just a touch of olive oil is all you need.
Shopska Salad it topped with crumbled feta cheese. The feta cheese in Serbia is a bit different, I think that they use goat feta on this salad. I strongly prefer it to the Greek style feta that we see in American grocery stores. The Serbian version is creamier and has a milder less salty taste. You could opt to serve this salad with either crumbled feta or crumbled goat cheese on top.
10 minPrep Time
10 minTotal Time
- 6 Medium Tomatoes
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1 Cucumber
- 1 small White Onion
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
- a couple of pinches Salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1/4 cup Crumbled Feta or Goat Cheese
- Slice the tomatoes into small wedges. Slice the red bell peppers into 1 inch pieces. Thinly slice the cucumbers. Finely chop the white onion (I used half of the onion). Combine all of these ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with abut 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar if you want. Then add a couple pinches of salt. Toss to combine.
- Chill the salad for at least 2 hours. Before serving, top with the parsley and cheese.