This Arabic salad is an every day chopped salad. It's simplicity is what makes it a go-to at dinner time! The dressing is shaken up in a jar and includes delicious ingredients like pomegranate molasses, sumac and dried mint. Its quite fool proof and easy to adapt to what you have in the fridge. Let's walk through how to make it!
Arabic Salad & Its Variations
Every single meal time growing up included a bowl of salad, or a platter of whole washed vegetables (like green onions, radish, and cucumbers) to bite into alongside our meal. Us Arabs are quite adamant on a vast amount of vegetable intake!
This is my go-to Arabic salad that I make within 10-15 minutes just before we sit down to eat. What I love about it is its simplicity. But that doesn't mean it lacks flavour. The dressing especially is quite something! I have a jar of it in my fridge at all times.
The best part is that you can make it with whatever you have. My favourite combination is with cucumbers, red or yellow pepper, tomato, red onions, and parsley.
But I've also made it with just cucumber and tomato if that's all I had, or even just cucumber and pepper. It really doesn't matter!
The most important part is to achieve a fine chop on all the vegetables so you get a bit of everything in each bite. And the other most important thing is to eat it with a spoon! That way you get a bit of the dressing in your spoonful too.
The Best Dressing
Let's talk through the salad dressing. The main ingredient that I think makes this dressing stand out is the pomegranate molasses. Without it, the dressing is too sour. It adds a great level of sweetness to balance out the lemon juice.
Below are two bottles of pomegranate molasses. You can find them at a local Middle Eastern store or in the international aisle of your supermarket. My preferred brand is the Yamama one.
The other "unusual" dressing ingredients include dried mint and sumac. Although I'm sure those are common enough to find locally. The sumac adds more lemony notes, and the mint is very essential! If you don't have dried mint, you can finely chop up fresh mint and toss it into the salad.
Other than that, it's just the usual suspects of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper!
Ingredients you need
Here are the ingredients you need for the dressing:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon Juice
- Pomegranate molasses
- Dried Mint
For the salad, you can use a mix of the following ingredients, based on what you have on hand:
- Persian cucumbers; I recommend these over English cucumber for more flavour.
- Red or yellow pepper; I personally am not a fan of green peppers but they can work too.
- Tomato; especially if it is ripe and in season!
- Red onions; or replace with green onions.
- Parsley, finely chopped.
Other ingredients to add can include: fresh mint, yellow onion, radish, and lettuce (finely chopped).
How to make Arabic Salad, Step by Step
First, gather your ingredients for the dressing. Add them all to a mason jar and shake to combine. You'll end up with a dark brown dressing.
Next, gather your vegetables and wash them.
Chop the vegetables finely. Each vegetable should be roughly ¼ of an inch or less in size.
Add all the vegetables to a bowl and mix to combine. Season them with a pinch of salt. Pour over some of the dressing. For this quantity of salad, I usually add about ¼ cup of dressing, mix and taste, then add more as needed.
How to Serve and Store Arabic Salad
For the dressing, I suggest you make a batch, place it in an airtight jar and store it in the fridge to have on hand throughout the week.
The salad doesn't keep very well once it is dressed. Always only dress the amount you will eat on the same day.
If you'd like to prepare it a day ahead, chop all the vegetables except for the tomato and layer them in an air tight container. Place a paper towel on top, then store in the fridge. When ready to serve, chop the tomatoes, add them in, and dress the salad.
This salad is perfect with any middle eastern main dish, especially riced based dishes. It's almost always served next to vermicelli rice, yellow rice, dishes like kabsa and quzi, as well as thrown into sandwiches or bowls with shawarma and grilled chicken.
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Arabic Salad with Simple Dressing
For the dressing:
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- ½ teaspoon dried mint
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the vegetables:
- 4 persian cucumbers finely chopped
- 1 tomato finely chopped
- ¼ red onion finely diced
- 1 red or yellow pepper finely chopped
- ½ cup parsley finely chopped
- To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake. The dressing will turn a dark brown. Store in the fridge and use as needed. This quantity will make enough for 2-3 salads.
- For the salad, finely chop the cucumbers, tomato, bell pepper, onion and parsley.
- Place the chopped vegetables in a bowl and drizzle over roughly ¼ cup of the salad dressing.
- Stir to combine. Taste and adjust for salt and more dressing as needed.
- I suggest using Persian cucumbers as they have more flavour than English cucumber.
- The salad dressing quantity listed will make enough for 2-3 salads, so store it in a jar in the fridge and use as needed. It will last for 2 weeks or more.
- Once the salad is dressed, you can serve right away or keep it in the fridge for 30 minutes, but no more than that to avoid a soggy salad.