Click here to view recipe.
My daughter-in-law invited our family (all adults are vaccinated!) to their home today for breakfast and to celebrate the Persian New Year, Nowruz. Nowruz means “New Day” and features many lovely traditions including celebrations, parties and food – LOTS of food. It’s not a religious holiday but a universal celebration of new beginnings: wishing prosperity and welcoming the future while saying goodbye to the past. That’s why families use this time to deep clean their homes and closets and to purchase new clothes. Nowruz is a month-long celebration, filled with festivities, craft-making, street performances and public rituals. So having a Persian breakfast and gathering around the table with our Seattle family felt right.
My assignment was to bring a “chopped Israeli” salad. I did a little research and am calling it Shirazi in honor of my amazing Persian daughter in law and to honor the Persian New Year. I ended up kind of winging it and keeping the ingredients simple and limited to what I had in my house.
Shirazi or Chopped Vegetable Salad
- 3 pints of red cherry tomatoes – cut into 8 pieces
- 2 English cucumbers – unpeeled, seeded and chopped finely, same size as tomatoes
- 1 medium red onion – peeled and diced the same size as tomatoes
- 6 radishes – chopped same size as tomatoes (not in most recipes but I had 6 hanging out in my fridge)
- 1 ½ green peppers – seeded, chopped same size as the tomato
- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro (can substitute parsley or mint)
- ¼ cup finely chopped dill
- Juice of 2 ½ large limes
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste-it takes a lot of salt so add slowly and taste
Dice cherry tomatoes by cutting them in half, then each half into fourths. I use a small serrated knife for this. Put the tiny pieces of cut tomatoes in a colander while you chop and prep everything else. Keep shaking the strainer to get rid of extra juice and seeds. Once you add the tomato to the salad ½-1 hour later – watch carefully and discard seeds that have accumulated at the bottom if you can toward the end. It should be the last thing you add.
Wash the cucumber (do not peel). Cut the cucumbers in half longitudinally, remove the seeds and make cuts the long way, about four per half. Then dice finely and put in a large bowl.
Peel and dice the purple onion the same size as the cucumbers.
Seed and remove the core and inner membrane from the green peppers. Finely dice the same size as the cucumbers.
De-stem and dice the dill, and chop the cilantro (you can include the stem with cilantro).
Finally, add the drained tomato pieces and gently mix everything together.
A half an hour or less before serving, add the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the salt or pepper or add more herbs if you feel it is necessary.
A couple of notes:
- The only hard part of this salad prep is chopping the vegetables uniformly and smallish. We are talking about ¼ inch. I have made this type of salad many times and to me it is easier to start with cherry tomatoes than with other types.
- This salad does not keep well once dressed. The lime juice and salt draw a lot of juice from the vegetables and it looks less appealing. If you have leftovers, drain them and keep in the refrigerator, then add more lime juice and olive oil if needed.