Eat Your Vegetables: Turkish Chopped Salad

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.

Dressing Ingredients
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

Salad Ingredients
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.

Express yourself!
There are lots of variations on this general theme:

  • 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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32 Responses to “Eat Your Vegetables: Turkish Chopped Salad”

  1. Jessica Morrison says:

    Yum, that looks good – I’m definitely going to try it! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Roland says:

    I love salads that don’t waste my time with lettuce! Thanks!


  3. Kate says:

    Delicious! I made this last night – without the radishes, because I didn’t have any, and it was a big hit. More cold summer salads, please – it’s too hot to eat hot food!

  4. Tina P says:

    Wonderful summer salad! Easy to make and ooh sooooo good! Thanks for another fabulous recipe, Mel!! Keep up the good work & Congrats on your recent award,” Athlete of the month!” Go girl!!!!!!!!

  5. kristi says:

    i love this salad! i make a bunch up and have veggies readily available for the week! also throw in any veggies that i have laying around in mass quantities that might go to waste anyway :) thanks for making my whole 30 challenges easier!

  6. Kim says:

    Wow, this is delicious!!

  7. […] soon as I saw Mel’s submission for Turkish Chopped Salad, I had a feeling it would be a favorite, and sure enough it was.  Including her beautiful smile in […]

  8. Brenna Morris says:

    Made this for the second time and loved it. First time was with the dressing as is in the recipe, and the second time was the italian way. So easy, so good, and a great change of pace from the veggies and baba ganoush tray.

  9. Holly says:

    I just love ALL of your recipes. Full stop.

    Always the perfect intersection of Food Love and Good Health. YUM!

  10. Marge block says:

    newbie to Paleo diet! Love salads and this is a sure one to try!

  11. […] leaf for what it is in tabbouleh, so I don’t mince the herbs as fine for this salad as I do for Turkish Chopped Salad. Place the herbs in a large mixing […]

  12. snewsome says:

    You can also make it mexican. Add jicama, switch out the lemon for lime and the parsley for cilantro. Yummy deliciousness!

  13. […] one from also looks […]

  14. […] backpack with a picnic set so I roasted a chicken the night before and made Melissa Joulwan’s Turkish Chopped Salad and PaleOMG’s Sweet Potato Brownies for a treat.  I packed it all up the night before in […]

  15. Kathryn says:

    Would za’atar work in place of the sumac?

    • Mel says:

      Absolutely! Start with 1/4 teaspoon and taste it — you might want to go up to 1/2 teaspoon.

      • Kathryn says:

        Thanks, my husband came home with a one pound sack of za’atar from the local middle eastern market! Said it was the smallest size they had – LOL!

  16. […] my favorite sweet potato wedges as well as a green salad to go with everything.  Or maybe this Turkish Chopped Salad which looks […]

  17. MJ Krech says:

    Thanks for this yummy recipe! Loved it! Dressing is wonderful!

  18. […] Turkish Chopped Salad from the Clothes Make the Girl […]

  19. […] Paleo meals/sides in our meal plan this recipe is absolutely perfect! I came across it over at: The Clothes Make the Girl. I kept the recipe pretty much the same, I just added in a few little ‘extras’ & I […]

  20. Shirley Warren says:

    I came late to this recipe. A friend who grew up in Istanbul took me to Turkey last year,and we had something like this for nearly every meal (even breakfast). But this recipe is better. Our local Turkish restaurant makes theirs with just vinegar and oil for dressing. They don’t bother with the spices, which make it REALLY EXCELLENT. For some reason I actually had sumac in my spice drawer. I LOVE THIS SALAD. Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Awesome! I’m glad you like it! And I love this sentence: “For some reason I actually had sumac in my spice drawer.”

      Sumac is SO good on veggies. Sprinkle it on everything!

  21. Tiffany says:

    I love this salad. I make it all the time and usually eat it for a good 2 or 3 days straight, at all meals. I’m a bit obsessed…I love it for breakfast with a can of tuna stirred in it, or leftover roast chicken and an extra sprinkle of lemon juice.

  22. AngieS says:

    Love your recipes, can’t wait to try this one! Just sad that there’s no print button. I’m an old-school kind of gal, I like to read from paper when cooking….

    • We’re working on a new web site that will have printable recipes. For now, you can always copy the text and paste into a doc to print it, instead of just printing the page. Much easier.

  23. Annie says:

    What can be substituted for oregano? Can’t stand it. I think I’m the only one on the planet! :) Thanks in advance!

    PS LOVE your cookbooks and web site! Have changed my life!

  24. You can just leave the oregano out — it’s only 1/4 teaspoon so not having it won’t affect the taste much. Enjoy! So glad my recipes are helpful; thanks for letting me know!

  25. Kim says:

    This was AMAZING!
    My boyfriend always used to tell me that when I feed him too many vegetables “it tastes like a spoonful of DIRT!”
    But he loved this salad, we made a big batch and devoured half of it with steaks for dinner, and the other half for lunch the next day. The Turkish dressing was SO good. We will definitely be making this again soon!

  26. Kelly says:

    Made this to take to a block party. It was a huge hit! I forgot the black olives :( but it was still amazing. Zero leftovers, kinda sad because I wanted some for lunch tomorrow. I will make this again for sure. Thank you!!

  27. Sonja says:

    LOVE your blog! I’m trying to avoid onions. What can I use instead of onions?

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