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Shopska Salad (Balkan Šopska Salata)

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A recipe for Shopska Salad (Balkan Šopska Salata)! This refreshing summer salad is packed with diced vegetables and topped with grated cheese.Shopska Salata (Шопска салата, Šopska Salata) is a favorite throughout the Balkans, particularly in Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Serbia.The salad highlights some of the best of summer produce with a very light dressing to let the vegetables shine and plenty of grated white cheese for a fantastic contrast in flavor and texture.Everything also comes together in minutes. Simply toss together chopped tomatoes, peppers, onion, and a little parsley. Coat lightly with sunflower oil and red wine vinegar, then add a very generous sprinkling of grated white cheese over the top.This Šopska Salata is best served immediately after assembling and is especially delicious alongside grilled meat.SireneSirene (сирене) is a white brined cheese with a crumbly texture popular throughout Southeastern Europe. It is often labeled as Bulgarian Feta or Bulgarian White Cheese.The cheese is made from goat, sheep, cow’s milk or a combination and formed into blocks. The result is a creamy, smooth texture with a high moisture content.It is available in markets specializing in Eastern European food and some specialty cheese sections. For those in the Los Angeles area, I came across it at Jon’s Fresh Marketplace in Torrance. For those in the Northern Virginia, I found the cheese in the refrigerated section at Moldova European Food Market in Stafford.If you are unable to locate the cheese, substitute with a creamy Feta. Do not use pre-crumbled Feta.A Few Shopska Salata TipsSome recipes use roasted peppers. I love the flavor of roasted peppers and have made it both ways, but personally prefer the texture of the raw peppers in this salad.English cucumbers are seedless and have a thin skin perfect for Šopska Salata. You may need two or three if you swap for a smaller variety such as Persian. If the cucumber has a thicker skin, peel before chopping.During this latest update, I made the salad with chopped yellow onion. Some use red or green onion. If the raw yellow onion is too sharp, soak in cold water after dicing for about 10 minutes to soften the flavors. Drain well before tossing with the rest of the ingredients.I have seen Shopska Salad made with either sunflower oil or olive oil.Sometimes I mix the oil, vinegar, and salt together before adding to the vegetables and have written it that way. Other times, I simply drizzle them over the salad separately, then immediately toss.Don’t add the dressing to the salad until right before serving. Otherwise, the vegetables will start to soften, release water, and lose their crisp texture.I only add about a pinch of salt to the Shopska Salad. The cheese also has a decent amount of salt. Adjust to taste as desired.Looking for more salad recipes?Try my:This recipe was originally posted in April 2015 and updated in June 2024.Shopska Salad (Balkan Šopska Salata) RecipeAdapted from Feisty VeggiesShopska Salad (Balkan Šopska Salata)A recipe for Shopska Salad (Balkan Šopska Salata)! This refreshing summer salad is packed with diced vegetables and topped with grated cheese. Keyword Bulgaria, Bulgarian, cheese, cucumber, Macedonia, Macedonian, onion, salad, Serbia, Serbian, summer, tomato Prep Time 15 minutes minutes Total Time 15 minutes minutesIngredients1/4 cup (60 milliliters) sunflower oil2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) red wine vinegarPinch Salt to taste3 Roma or medium tomatoes core removed and cut into 1 inch (2.5 centimeter) pieces1 red bell pepper stem and seeds removed, cut into 1 inch (2.5 centimeter) pieces1 banana pepper stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced1 English cucumber cut lengthwise into quarters, then across into 1/2 inch (1.25 centimeter) thick pieces1 small yellow onion peeled and diced2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley4 ounces (113 grams) Sirene cheese gratedInstructionsIn a small bowl, whisk together the sunflower oil and red wine vinegar. Add a pinch of salt.Toss together the tomatoes, bell pepper, banana pepper, cucumber, onion, and parsley in a large bowl.Drizzle the vinegar mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat well.Top with the grated cheese and optionally garnish with a couple of parsley leaves.Serve immediately.

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