Lunch & Dinner, Recipes

Shopska Salad {Practically Recipe-less}

Shopska is a super easy, fresh, tomato and cucumber salad–Greek salad’s less well-known cousin!


On Saturday I mentioned getting done all my “lasts” before leaving Austria.  Well, yesterday, I checked a few more things off my list.  My last hike, my last Schnitzel dinner, my last good-bye.  The hike was gorgeous, as usual, and the rain clouds we saw off in the distance never quite made it to us.  The Schnitzel was fantastic, also as usual.  And the good-bye wasn’t fantastic, but spending a day hiking and then chilling at a restaurant with a river view over hearty Austrian fare is a pretty good way to say tschüss baba pfiat di, if it has to be said.   And now, as we speak, I’m doing my last load of laundry so that tomorrow it will be dry and I can try and fit my last things into my suitcase.

And so we move seamlessly from lasts to firsts.  How about the first salad recipe on my blog?  Yup, Reader, that’s this one that I’m about to share with you.  Salad is not a thing in Austria.  When you do get a salad, it’s usually a pile of lettuce with maybe a few slices of tomatoes and/or bell peppers (a grüner Salat) or it’s a mixture of lots of pickled veggies.  The salad-as-a-meal or even a significant side dish hasn’t yet happened here.  And you know something funny?  The word Salat means both salad and lettuce.  So if you want to buy iceberg lettuce, look for Eisbergsalat, Romaine hearts are Salatherzen.  Oh, and your sixth grade students will try and convince you that the green stuff you put on sandwiches is called salad in English.

While I do want to talk about salad today, this salad actually has no lettuce.  I know, lettuce is usually the basis for a salad.  But this is a lettuce-less salad, sort of like a Greek salad.  In fact, it’s really similar to a Greek salad, but it’s the Bulgarian version since I’m still on my Bulgarian/Balkan food kick.  This one is called a Shopska Salad and features tomatoes, cucumbers, and Bulgarian brined cheese.  The salad gets it’s name from an ethnic group called the Shopi, who live in the area where Bulgaria, Serbia, and Macedonia meet.  While I’m sure variations of this salad have existed…forever…the “recipe” for Shopska salad only dates back to the 1950s, when the country was attempting to become more tourist-friendly and did things like standardize restaurant dishes.  So they came up with this salad, which features redwhite, and green, the colors of the Bulgarian flag.  It’s such a simple, refreshing, tasty salad that’s perfect for summer days.  I don’t know about you, Reader, but my salad consumption goes up exponentially once the temperature gets above 80.
This is another “practically recipe-less” recipe.  You can do whatever ratio of cucumber to tomato to pepper to cheese that you like, you know what makes your taste buds happy.  Traditionally there is no dressing except for olive or sunflower oil, but if you want to top this with your favorite dressing, go for it!

Shopska Salad

  • cucumbers
  • tomatoes
  • red or green bell peppers
  • olive or sunflower oil
  • feta or sirene cheese
  • small handful parsley, minced.


Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers.  Drizzle lightly with oil and toss.  Top with a healthy handful of cheese and minced parsley.

Posted to Show and Share WednesdayWhat’s Cookin’ Wednesday, and Happiness is Homemade!


1 thought on “Shopska Salad {Practically Recipe-less}”

  1. I love a salad with no lettuce lol! The feta and cucumber is making my mouth water. Enjoy the last few days or week out there.

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