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For a salad with a wonderful balance of freshness, crunch, and flavor, look no further than our salata baladi recipe, inspired by one of Egypt’s most popular and beloved mezze or side dishes.
Salata Baladi Recipe
Baladi meaning “local/of the country” is a beautifully apt description of this humble and satisfying salad, that prides itself on using the freshest ingredients from Egyptian farms and markets.
While you may not be able to source the juiciest, freshest ingredients from Egypt, that doesn’t mean you can’t use simple ingredients found in your local supermarket to recreate this simple and nourishing Egyptian favorite.
No matter how you enjoy salads, be they as a side to a hearty main, or as a light lunch in the heat of summer, salata baladi has everything you need for a dish that feels refreshing and tastes delicious.
What is Authentic Egyptian Salad (Salata Baladi)?
While variations of this salad can differ depending on region and preference, salata baladi always contains diced or chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and onions. It is tossed in a dressing of white vinegar and oil, with various herbs and seasonings, such as parsley.
Arabic Salads: Many chopped vegetable and dressing salads can be found throughout the Middle East and Arabic regions, all of which share similarities but also have their key differences.
Lettuce: While you may find versions of salata baladi and other Arabic salads that use lettuce, lettuce traditionally is not used in Arabic salads.
Dicing: In salata baladi, the ingredients are chopped and diced, but often larger and not as finely as in the likes of Persian salad shirazi and other salads from the region. Again, while it may not be seen as traditional, some versions of this salad use onion slices rather than diced onion.
Dressing: Our recipe uses a dressing of white vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Regional variations can see this salad made with one, some, or all of these ingredients, depending on preference.
Cheese: While not traditional, you can find adaptations of this salad that will crumble feta cheese over the top before serving.
Additional ingredients: Sumac, mint, and garlic are some additional ingredients found in variations of this salad. Again, as mentioned above, this may not be seen as authentic salata baladi.
Bread: To keep things authentic, try it with sliced pita bread. If you can’t get pita, any type of bread is great to eat with this salad.
Meat: As with many Middle Eastern and Arabic countries, grilled meat, such as kebab, is a classic pairing for this type of salad.
Rice: A hearty side of rice, or some type of rice-based dish, is a great pairing for this salad to hit all your key food groups and make it more filling.
To make our salata baladi recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Cucumber – 2 small cucumbers or 1 large cucumber
- Tomatoes – 2-3 large tomatoes
- Red Onion – 1/2 medium red onion
- Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- White Vinegar – 1 tbsp white vinegar
- Olive Oil – 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Parsley – handful fresh parsley (1 tbsp when minced)
- Coriander/Cilantro – handful fresh cilantro (1 tbsp when minced)
- Salt – 1/2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt flakes
- Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
Step 1 – Chop the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, and fresh herbs (parsley and cilantro).
Step 2 – Add the lemon juice, white vinegar, olive oil, salt, and black pepper, and mix everything well.
Step 3 – Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired (adding salt, pepper, lemon juice, vinegar, or olive oil to your preference).
The aromatic qualities of this salad are truly wonderful. Close your eyes, and let those fresh, herby notes take you to the Egyptian harvest.
As with so many Arabic and Middle Eastern salads, the emphasis on quality ingredients and simple preparation make the dishes ideal for any time of the day.
Salata baladi gives you moisture and crunch, earthiness and zest, and sweet and sour in each mouthful. It is so simple to make, and great for hot summer days or a quick and nourishing lunch when you’re pushed for time.
Salata Baladi Recipe Card
- 2 small cucumbers or 1 large cucumber
- 2-3 large tomatoes
- 1/2 medium red onion
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- handful fresh parsley (1 tbsp when minced)
- handful fresh cilantro/coriander (1 tbsp when minced)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt flakes
- 1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
- Chop the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, and fresh herbs (parsley and cilantro).
- Add the lemon juice, white vinegar, olive oil, salt, and black pepper, and combine everything in a bowl, mixing well.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired (adding salt, pepper, lemon juice, vinegar, or olive oil to your preference).
You Might Also Like to Read
- Shirazi Salad Recipe for a Refreshingly Crisp Taste of Persia
- Egyptian Food: 20 Most Popular and Traditional Dishes to Try
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