Shopska Salad / Šopska Salata
A simply refreshing and delicious Shopska Salad / Šopska Salata. Does not get much easier than chopping up ingredients and tossing them into a bowl. This salad comes together in less than fifteen minutes. At first it may seem overly simple, but there is something so refreshing about this salad that you just cant beat! The finely crumbed goat cheese makes the salad taste even more delicious. Make it and you will see why it’s a popular part of the Serbian table.
About this recipe
Shopska Salad / Šopska Salata is inspired by the Balkan region, although different places may have their own small twists. And even though this salad may come in variations, it is always delicious, and I love the refreshing combinations of tomato and cucumber.
Like most Serbian inspired recipes that I share with you, it is no surprise that this is another delicious recipe that I grew up loving! From Serbia to our life in New Zealand, this salad has always been around our table. I grew up with the simplest version of this salad and this is how I make it myself. With a light dressing of olive oil and white wine vinegar, that is all you truly need. The goat cheese adds the perfect amount of saltiness while the refreshing juices of the summer vegetables come through the most.
It is common to use a red onion instead of a yellow one, this depends on individual taste preference. You can also add more dressing or garnish the salad with some parley. Some regions add red bell pepper. However, I prefer tomatoes and cucumber to be the star of the show!
A few tips for this salad
While making the salad is as simple as chopping up the ingredients, adding them all to one bowl, tossing to combine and adding the dressing – I have a few notes on chopping up the ingredients.
For the tomatoes, chop them up into wedges and then cut each wedge in half. Cut the cucumber in half-length wise. Each half should be cut in half again and then cut into chunks. Traditionally the cucumber is peeled, however I don’t mind the skin and so I keep it on. Cut the onion into long, thin slices – you want small crunches of the onion and not large chunks of onion in your mouth. Crumb the goat cheese with your hands or chop it up into fine crumbs on a chopping board.
Also – any feta cheese will do. I personally love goat cheese, but you can also use the standard feta, even sheep feta.
A quick note on chopping the onion
To save you some tears, I have a little tip for chopping onions and I do this every time! Once you have peeled the onion from its skin, cut the onion in half and place both halves directly under lukewarm water. Rub each half against the other for 3o seconds to one minute and this should prevent some tears rolling.
No matter what I cook, I will do anything to prevent getting teary because I find it so uncomfortable. Rubbing the two halves of the onion under water really helps! It is not the perfect method, but a useful one.
And the dressing
Salad dressings are super important, and I love them! However, there are some salads, where I prefer the dressing to be light.
You know how with salt and pepper most recipes say salt to taste? We should introduce “dress to taste”. I think we all have preferences on how much dressing we like on a salad.
For this Shopska Salad / Šopska Salata I prefer a lighter dressing, so about a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon or two of white wine vinegar goes a long way for me. I prefer the freshness of the tomatoes and cucumbers to come through. That is what this salad is all about – tasting fresh like summer!
How to serve the salad
This salad is a great appetizer or a side dish. In Serbian cuisine it is used in either one of those ways. You will find that most restaurants will serve this salad as an appetizer with some bread. As a side, it goes well with grilled meats or roasted potatoes. Growing up, we ate Šopska Salata mostly as a side dish, it was so refreshing, and I could just never get enough of it! Especially during the summer months when the tomatoes and cucumbers are at their best.
If you end up with any leftovers, throw the salad into wraps or sandwiches. But, eating it as soon as it is made is the best way!
looking for more recipes?
If you are looking for a little more inspiration, try one of these recipes:
I hope you try this Shopska Salad / Šopska Salata, it really is delicious! If you do – please leave a comment or if you have a moment leave a rating for this recipe. If you have any questions or get stuck, you can find me over on Instagram.
|4 or 5 large tomatoes|
|1 large cucumber|
|1 medium yellow onion|
|200g goat cheese|
|1tbsp olive oil|
|1tsp white wine vinegar|