Not too long ago, I came across a recipe for Shopska salad. I was very interested in this salad as I have been eating a similar salad all my life and didn’t know it was called this. Shopska salad is a popular salad in Bulgaria that starts off almost every dinner. It consists of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and cheese, with a drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar. There are many eastern European variations and I have created my favorite version laced with olives.
There are many things I like about this salad. It’s light, refreshing, goes with many different entrees, and it brings me back to my roots. My dad came over to the United States from a small island that is now Croatia. Growing up, we ate a salad at every meal. Shopska was very similar to one of the salads we ate. I remember always having a salad dressed with oil and vinegar. At the time, the teenager in me craved thick, creamy dressings from a bottle, but now I agree that a basic oil and vinegar dressing or vinaigrette tastes the best and is also the healthiest.
A typical Shopska salad is made with a sheep’s milk cheese that is very popular in Bulgaria. It is very similar to feta. I could not find the Bulgarian cheese, I decided to try feta since I had it on hand. It worked perfectly and gave a nice salty taste to the salad.
I like this salad chopped as I find it very easy to eat that way, but it can be made in larger pieces as well. The chopping is a little extra work but definitely worth it in my opinion. This salad is great served with BBQ chicken or Teriyaki steak kabobs. It is nice and light so you can save the calories for decadent desserts like Millionaire pie, cherry blondies, or peanut butter cup cupcakes.
Try making this refreshing salad. The produce ingredients are easily found year-round. You can double the recipe as it is perfect for a party, potluck dish, or BBQ. Top it with some grilled chicken, steak, or shrimp and you might want it as a main dish too.
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
Wusthof Santoku Knife - 5 inch