I’ve been carting this recipe around with me since college. I found it in some dumb women’s magazine at a checkout counter in Syracuse, New York, and have made it so many times, it’s committed to memory.
It’s PERFECT for potlucks because it’s pretty and delicious and doesn’t taste like “health food,” so you can bring it to share and trick your friends by taking care of them without them even realizing it. It’s a great go-along for grilled meat and an excellent middle-of-the-afternoon snack.
Turkish Chopped Salad
NOTE: You know I LOVE to follow a recipe to exact specifications and that I consider Cook’s Illustrated the gospel, but this is one of those recipes that you can play fast and loose. Monkey with the proportions of vegetables according to your preferences or what you’ve got in the fridge. You really can’t mess this one up. It tastes best when eaten fairly soon after mixing, and more than one day in the refrigerator will turn it into a mushy mesh. If you’re packing it for lunch or for a potluck, take the dressing separately and toss just before eating. This is easily cut in half or doubled, as needed.
a large handful of parsley
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon sumac (optional; it will still taste great if you don’t have this somewhat unusual spice on hand)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
2 cucumbers, peeled
2 green peppers, cored
3 tomatoes, cored
1/2 medium red onion
1 bunch radishes, tops removed
1 can black olives
1. Make the dressing. Chop the parsley and place in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, oregano, and sumac. Whisk until blended, then slowly drizzle in the oil, stirring the whole time. Season with salt and pepper, taste, then adjust seasonings.
2. Prep the vegetables. Dice all the vegetables into roughly the same size – a 1/4-inch dice works well – and toss them into a large mixing bowl. It’s a rainbow! Think about how good it will taste going into your mouth –and then all those kickass vitamins and minerals and fiber making their way into your body. Slice the olives and add to the bowl. If you’re not going to eat it right away, stop here.
3. Toss it! Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until the vegetables are coated. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.
4. Share with friends. It’s easy to make this in big batches, so you can share… it’s also a quick snack that you can eat like a veggie monster when you’re super hungry and scrounging around the kitchen for something delicious and healthy.
- Dice everything really tiny and use it as salsa… on French cut green beans or a lean grilled steak
- Add 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard to the dressing… leave out the olives, cumin, paprika, oregano, and sumac, replace with 1 teaspoon dried thyme.
- Make it Italian… leave out the cumin, paprika, oregano, and sumac. Replace the lemon juice with balsamic vinegar, and add 4-5 chopped basil leaves to the parsley in the dressing.
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