Ezme Salad (Acili Ezme) is a spicy Turkish dip commonly served at restaurants alongside a basket of warm Turkish Pide Bread or Pita Bread. It is very easy to make this delicious ezme salad at home and customise it to your taste.
You can serve this spicy ezme sauce as an appetiser, a condiment or a part of a mezze spread. It also works great as an accompaniment salad/salsa to any grilled meat or kebabs.
Why This Recipe Works?
- You can take this refreshing Turkish salsa to a summer party or picnics, it is a delicious summer dish.
- It is very easy to make this delicious Turkish ezme salad in just 15 minutes, with no cooking required.
- You can adjust this spicy Turkish Salad to your taste by tweaking the portions of each ingredient.
- This tasty Turkish vegan dish has a delightful mixture of sweet, spicy, refreshing, and zingy flavors.
Ingredients and Substitutes
Ingredients For the Salad
- Tomatoes - They are the star ingredient of this recipe. Use the tastiest tomatoes you can find to get the best result. I prefer beefsteak or Roma tomatoes but any type would work fine as long as they are tasty and juicy.
- Green peppers - Traditionally, thin, long, and crunchy Turkish sivri biber is used for this ezme recipe. They might be very hot or mild so it would be a good idea to taste them before using them and then decide how much to use. Alternatively, you can use any green pepper you can find.
- Red pepper - I use romano peppers but any sweet type of red pepper works with this recipe.
- Onion - One small onion is enough for this salad. Use any type you can find.
- Parsley - It is one of my favorite herbs that add flavor and brightness to salads. It is very popular to use this aromatic herb in many Turkish salad recipes such as Piyaz (Turkish Bean Salad) and Turkish Shepherd Salad (Coban Salatasi).
Ingredients For the Dressing
- Pomegranate molasses - It is a thick syrup made with pomegranate juice and is commonly used in Middle Eastern / Turkish recipes. It has an intense sweet-and-sour flavour and is perfect to use for salad dressings or marinade. You can buy it from most Turkish / Middle Eastern shops or online from . Don't substitute it with any other molasses. Instead, use extra lemon juice.
- Lemon juice - It is the perfect element that adds freshness to salads and is commonly used in dressings. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice, not bottled ones. You can reduce or increase the amount depending on how tangy you'd like your salad to be.
- Olive oil - I use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings.
- Red pepper paste - It is a rich, delicious paste made with juicy, spicy red peppers and I use it quite often in my Turkish recipes. You can buy red pepper paste from Turkish or Middle Eastern shops or online from . Alternatively, you can substitute tomato paste for red pepper paste and add some extra chili flakes to the salad.
- Tomato paste - It is the staple of Turkish cooking. It adds an umami flavor to the dishes as well as a bright red color. You can find it in Turkish or Middle Eastern shops. You can also buy it online from Amazon.
- Pul biber - Hot red pepper flakes called "pul biber" in Turkish are the main spice for this ezme salad. You can buy them from Turkish or Middle Eastern shops as well as online from Amazon.
This is a very simple recipe and to achieve the best results, you need to follow a few simple steps:
Prepare the Dressing
Turn the garlic into a paste using a pestle and mortar, or finely grate using a Microplane and place it in a bowl. Add the red pepper paste, tomato paste, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, salt, pul biber, and dried mint to the bowl. Give them a good stir using a whisk or a spoon and set it aside.
Prepare the Vegetables
Finely dice the tomatoes, peppers (both red and green), onion, and cucumber using a sharp knife. Place them in a large bowl. Alternatively, you can use a food processor to chop your vegetables. The texture and the taste won't be as good as hand-chopped but will save you time if you are in a rush.
Finely chop the parsley leaves and add them to the vegetables. Add the sauce to the vegetables, stir well until all combined, and place the Turkish ezme salad in a serving bowl. Drizzle extra olive oil and pomegranate molasses over it when serving.
For more delicious and healthy Turkish Vegan Dishes why not try:
You can make it a day ahead in a pinch, however, it is best to serve this dip salad immediately or in a few hours. What makes this recipe so delicious is that it's made with fresh ingredients. Once chopped, fresh vegetables quickly lose their crispness.
I don't recommend freezing this fresh salad as it contains fresh vegetables. The flavor and texture of the salad would change when frozen.
You can serve it with any grilled meat or kebab dishes like our ultimate Turkish Lahmacun, Lamb Shish Kebab, Adana Kebap, Cokertme Kebabi, or Baked Turkish Meatballs. Alternatively, you can serve it as a part of a mezze spread along with Pacanga Boregi, Cacik (Turkish Yoghurt with Cucumbers), and Icli Kofte (Turkish Kibbeh).
Whichever way you serve it, make sure there’s plenty of delicious fresh bread, such as Bazlama (Turkish Flatbread) to mop up all those delicious juices.
Top Tip From the Chef
There are no strict rules about the amounts of the ingredients here. We all have our own preferences, and this recipe can easily be adjusted accordingly! Take this recipe as a starting point and create your own version by tweaking the vegetables and spices.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this spicy Turkish Ezme Salad as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Did you make this recipe?
Ezme Salad (Acili Ezme)
For the Sauce
- 1 clove garlic (pasted)
- ½ tablespoon red pepper paste
- ½ tablespoon tomato paste
- 40 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon flaked chilli (pul biber)
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
For the Salad
- 2 medium tomatoes (approx 250 grams)
- 2 Turkish green peppers or ½ green bell pepper (approx 50 grams)
- 1 red romano pepper (approx 50 grams)
- 1 small onion
- 2 Persian or Turkish cucumber (approx 200 grams)
- 2 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley
Preparing the sauce
- Turn the garlic into a paste using a pestle and mortar, or finely grate using a Microplane and place it in a bowl.
- Add the red pepper paste, tomato paste, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, salt, pul biber and dried mint to the bowl.
- Give them a good stir using a whisk or a spoon and set it aside.
Prepare the vegetables
- Finely dice the tomatoes, peppers (both red and green), onion and cucumber using a sharp knife. Place them in a large bowl.
- Alternatively, you can use a food processor to chop your vegetables. The texture and the taste won't be as good as hand-chopped but will save you time if you are in a rush.
- Finely chop the parsley leaves and add them to the vegetables.
- Add the sauce to the vegetables, stir well until all combined and place the salad in a serving bowl.
- Drizzle extra olive oil and pomegranate molasses over it when serving.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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