Quick & Easy: Persian Salsa AKA Shirazi Salad (vegan)

This is a classic Persian salad that accompanies most meals in Iran (or at least used to do so in the not so distant past) as it goes with almost anything, especially Kababs (Persian grills) and other grilled dishes. Its beauty lies within its simplicity; it’s healthy and a perfect match for anything on the barbecue. Conceptually it is very similar to salsa, so can maybe even call it Persian Salsa! Why not 😀

I must admit I wasn’t a huge fan of it growing up as I hated onions (still do unless they’re cooked or finely chopped if raw), so I either separated the onions or my mum made me some without them. So if you (or your kids) don’t like onions, feel free to leave them out.

Having said that though, the acid in the form of vinegar, lemon juice or sour grape juice will marinate and cook the finely sliced onions, so it shouldn’t be that bad (take it from me, I really do hate raw onions! These are different when left in the acid for a bit).


  1. As I said, feel free to leave the onions out if you (or others eating it) can’t stand them! If you decide to stick to the recipe, then I have to tell you that traditionally we use white onions for the recipe. But if you prefer red onions, that’s fine too.
  2. If you want to use this salad in wraps, I suggest deseeding the tomatoes, then dicing them. This way it will have less liquid. Just scoop the seeds out with a small spoon and discard, or put them in a bow with some salt and give them to your tomato loving other half like I do! lol
  3. Traditionally in Iran, we skin the cucumbers because the skin is too tough. We would also scoop out the seeds as they are very large and watery. But the British cucumbers don’t have that problem, so you can leave the skin on. It looks good too!
  4. For the dressing, traditionally we use sour grapes juice which can be found in Middle-Eastern supermarkets. But you could substitute it for good white wine vinegar or fresh lemon/lime juice.

Serves 4-6


  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped/minced
  • 3 tomatoes, finely diced
  • 6 small cucumbers (or half a large cucumber), finely diced
  • 50 ml sour grapes juice
  • 1 tsp dried mint (optional)


Toss everything together. Pour over the sour grapes juice and season to taste. Leave for at least 10 minutes before serving, it would pickle the onions a bit and would taste better.


Shirazi Salad no onions
Shirazi Salad with no onions

3 Comments Add yours

  1. this looks so good! i am half persian and i’ve never even heard of this! i will have to make some and show my parents!


    1. Princess Saffron says:

      How lovely, I’m sure they’ll love it! It’s very nostalgic for most of us, plus it’s healthy 🙂


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