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Middle "easternish" chopped salad ideas

I'm making dinner for my boyfriends Mom tonight and want to make chop salad with middle eastern flavors. BF makes quinoa tabouleh, so there will be that for sure, hummus, olives, feta and I'm not quite sure what else. I kind of want to do shrimp in a yogurt sauce, but I'm not sure. Maybe seared tuna? I'd love any ideas. I've cooked for her before, and this is not a high stress event. Very informal. Thanks in advance.

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  1. seared tuna *in* the salad? that doesn't really sound right to me.

    this one's a favorite, and always a hit:

    GHG's Coban Salatasi (Turkish Shepherd's Salad)

    4 medium tomatoes
    1 medium cucumber (seedless, if available)
    1 medium-size mild onion (i prefer red or bermuda)
    2 large jarred pepperoncini (banana peppers)*
    6 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
    juice of half a lemon (1-2 tablespoons)
    kosher salt
    fresh cracked black pepper
    1 large handful flat leaf parsley

    grated mizithra cheese or crumbled feta cheese for serving

    Halve the tomatoes, squeeze gently (don't crush them!) to remove the seeds, and discard seeds. Peel cucumber, and slice in half, lengthwise. If cucumber contains seeds, remove them by scraping gently with a spoon, & discard seeds. Dice the tomato, onion & cucumber, and combine in a large bowl. Remove & discard the stems from the pepperoncini, chop the peppers very finely, and add to the other vegetables.

    In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano and mint; season dressing to taste with salt & pepper.

    Pour dressing over vegetables, toss well, and allow to sit, refrigerated, for at least 30 minutes (the longer, the better).

    When ready to serve, roughly chop the parsley and sprinkle over salad (don't toss - i prefer to allow each diner to mix it into their serving after it's plated).

    Serve with cheese on the side (i always fold 1-2 tablespoons into my serving).


    *Note: traditionally, this salad contains green bell peppers, but i can't eat them raw. if you don't like the bite from the pepperoncini and you're okay with green peppers, feel free to omit the pepperoncini, and add 1 cored, seeded & diced medium green pepper.

    4 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      That sounds good, I was thinking tuna along with the salad. I'm envisioning a big platter, with piles of different things, and a stack of pita bread on the side.

      1. re: corneygirl

        i'm just having hard time wrapping my brain around seared tuna alongside all those traditional Middle Eastern flavors. i think the shrimp (or perhaps baked or broiled salmon) would be more suited to the rest of the dishes.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Thanks, I'll take your advice and let you know how it turns out.

        2. re: corneygirl

          Personally, seared tuna sounds great to me!

      2. I make a similar salad to GHG's with chopped tomato, cucumber, spinach, and minced garlic, topped with a dressing of yogurt, feta, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and ground cayenne pepper. Very tasty. I play with it depending what's in my fridge, so you could easily add shrimp or onion, replace the cayenne with banana peppers, etc.

        1. I love fatoush! It is excellent. I can get you a recipe if you need it.

          1. Neither tuna nor salmon would be right for a Middle Eastern spread. Shrimp would work, as would a fish such as red snapper, which is similar to many fish found in the Med, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf. I've enjoyed grilled fish served with a tahini/lemon sauce in several different Middle East countries.

            1. This is too late for tonight, but I like making a grilled fattoush salad (and you could broil instead.) The original recipe is from Bon Appetit ... it's very simple, flexible depending on what you have, and SO good.



              1. If you have access to the BBQ and feel like it you can do a grilled salad, something like this here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adventur...
                I always take advantage of a picnic or BBQ get together and make it, it's fairly simple too because it's just a matter of grilling the whole pepper, onions, tomatoes on the BBQ until carmalized, and then doing a rough chop and dressing with a splash of olive oil and some lemon juice with black pepper and salt. You could do a fresh herb like mint or anything else you like that may complement it too.

                If your BF wasn't doing a tabouleh you could do a lentil tabouleh, similar simple dressing as above. http://www.flickr.com/photos/adventur...

                I would go with a fatoush/grilled salad or both, because they're more elaborate since most middle eastern salads accompany a big meal or meat and rice so they're simple like little cubbed tomatoes and cucumbers dressed with salt and lemon. I believe you're preparing more of a mezze spread.

                1. My standard middle eastern salad is lettuce, tomato, cucumber, radish, chopped mint & parsley and sprinkling of sumac. Oil, garlic, lemon juice dressing. Add some toasted bread
                  and call it fatoush.

                  Or, a Cypriot village salad - lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomato, parsley, coriander leaves, some feta and a few black olives. Oil & lemon dressing.

                  1. Thanks for all the replies, I have some great ideas for the future. I ended up with an inauthentic, but tasty platter. Tabouleh, red lentil "hummus", shrimp baked in a yogurt sauce, tuna, and a cucumber salad. Fatoush sounds great for the next time.