Turkish Shepherd Salad (Coban Salatasi or Choban Salad ) is a light, easy-to-make, and incredibly refreshing side dish made with juicy summer tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers. It is one of the most popular Turkish salads and is usually served alongside grilled meat, kebabs, or seafood dishes.
Coban Salata is possibly the most popular side salad among all the Turkish salads and you will find it everywhere when you travel around the country.
It is very easy to make and comes together in only 10 minutes. All you need to do is finely chop the ingredients, drizzle on olive oil and lemon, season with salt and pepper, and then mix them all together.
Why This Recipe Works?
- This simple yet super tasty salad is very easy to make and full of Mediterranean flavors.
- You can serve this light and healthy salad as a side dish with your favorite meals or you can eat it on its own as a light lunch along with some feta cheese and Homemade Pita Bread.
- You can add any fresh vegetables and herbs to your Choban Salad as long as you keep the tomatoes and cucumbers as your main ingredients.
- No need to make a vinaigrette for this simple Turkish Salad. Just drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice and season with some salt. Add some vinegar or pomegranate molasses for extra sharpness if you prefer!
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Tomatoes - Ideally, you should use juicy and ripe summer tomatoes. However, any flavourful tomato will work great. Peeling your tomatoes will enhance the flavor so take some extra time and peel your tomatoes and sprinkle them with salt after chopping them before adding them to the salad.
- Cucumbers - For maximum flavor and crunch, I prefer small Turkish or Persian cucumbers. They are more flavorful and less watery than the regular, long varieties. You can buy them from Turkish or Middle Eastern markets
- Peppers - I prefer using long Turkish green peppers for this dish. They are one of the most popular peppers used in Turkish cuisine. They are usually mild but some of them can be quite hot. You can replace them with bell pepper or Spanish Padron peppers.
- Red Onions - Onions are another key ingredient here and I prefer using red onions for their color and strong flavor. You can use brown onions or spring onions if you prefer. Slice them thinly to add a bit of crunch to the salad.
- 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 Ezme Salad (Acili Ezme).
- Lemon juice - I always use lemon juice squeezed from fresh lemons instead of bottled lemon juice for a fresher and more delicious taste.
- Olive oil - I use good quality extra virgin olive oil for my salad dressings as it makes a huge difference in taste.
- Vinegar - It is optional to use vinegar for this salad. I like adding a little bit to mine but leave it out if you prefer. Both white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar works great.
This delicious Shepherd Salad is super quick and simple to make. However, to achieve the best results, you need to follow a few simple tips:
Peel and cut the cucumbers into small dice. If using large cucumbers, deseed them before dicing. Place them in a bowl.
Chop the tomatoes the same size as the cucumbers and add them to the bowl. If you have the time, peel the tomatoes to make your salad even juicier.
Slice the Turkish peppers and the red onion, and scatter them on top of the cucumbers and tomatoes.
Sprinkle on some finely chopped parsley and drizzle with some olive oil.
Lastly, pour the lemon juice and vinegar (if using) on and season your salad with some salt.
For more easy and delicious side dish recipes why not try:
The Turkish name for this dish is Coban Salatasi, which means Shepherd's Salad. Shepherds would go to their farms, taking some of their daily crops, including the cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions (the basic ingredients of Choban Salad). He would mix them together to make a salad for his lunch and have it with some bread. Today, this salad doesn’t belong to shepherds only, everyone in the country loves it because it's super easy to make, refreshing, and extremely delicious.
This salad is a great side dish that pairs perfectly with almost everything from kebabs to casseroles. To name a few, try this refreshing salad with Imam Bayildi (Turkish Stuffed Eggplant), Keema Naan Bread, Easy Lamb Goulash (Hungarian Stew), Baked Turkish Meatballs, Cokertme Kebabi, Turkish Lahmacun, and Pasta with Green Sauce. Alternatively, you can eat it on its own as a light lunch along with some feta cheese and Bazlama (Turkish Bread).
One portion of this traditional Turkish salad has only 130 kcal.
Top Tip From the Chef
- There are different preferences when it comes to how chunky or finely chopped the Shepherd Salad vegetables should be. My personal opinion is that they should be fairly finely chopped, but not so small that the vegetables become mushy. Shepherd salad vegetables are meant to be fresh and crunchy.
- Don't prepare this salad too much in advance as it will lose its crunch and it will get soggy. Prepare only as much as you need as the leftovers won't keep well.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this simple, healthy, and delicious Turkish salad as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Did you make this recipe?
Turkish Shepherd Salad (Coban Salatasi)
- 3 small cucumbers (peel and cut in small cubes)
- 3 tomatoes (peel and cut in small cubes)
- 1 Turkish green pepper, or ½ green bell pepper, or 3 Padron peppers (sliced)
- ½ red onion (finely sliced)
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (adjust it to your taste)
- 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (adjust it to your taste)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar (optional, adjust it to your taste)
- ⅓ teaspoon salt (adjust it to your taste)
- Peel and cut the cucumbers into small dice. If using large cucumbers, deseed them before dicing. Place them in a bowl.
- Chop the tomatoes the same size as the cucumbers and add them to the bowl. If you have the time, peel the tomatoes to make your salad even juicier.
- Slice the Turkish peppers and the red onion, scatter them on top of the cucumbers and tomatoes.
- Sprinkle on some finely chopped parsley and drizzle with some olive oil.
- Lastly, pour the lemon juice and vinegar (if using) on and season your salad with some salt.
- 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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