Salads or sogu, as it is known in Turkey, is one of the defining dishes of Turkish cuisine, and occupies a pride of place in Turkish meals, from breakfast to dinner. The salads are made with fresh, seasonal vegetables with only a few seasonings, such as the juice of a lemon, salt, and olive oil to enhance the taste of the dish.

Also Read: How Was Cobb Salad Born In A Hollywood Restaurant?

During the summer season, salads are made with vegetables like tomatoes or cucumbers, and during Winters, it is made with carrots or radish. Two salad recipes are recommended below: one is a sour and mildly spicy olive salad, and the other is a tomato salad made with ripe tomatoes and nigella seeds or kala jeera as it is known in India.

The basic ingredients of a Turkish salad dressing are the juice of a lemon, salt, and olive oil, but other, more flavour-enhancing dressings are also used such as apple cider vinegar, grape molasses, and vinegar. 

Varieties Of Turkish Salads

Shepherd’s Salad is considered to be the most popular out of all the Turkish salads. It is made with a combination of tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, and parsley. However, there are other kinds of salads that are made with a wide variety of vegetables, from potato to eggplant, as well fruits, such as pomegranate. There are even a delicious range of salads made with legumes and sumptuous salads made in yoghurt. 

Source: Shutterstock

Health Benefits Of Olives And Tomatoes

A chief ingredient in Mediterranean diet, olives not only render a unique flavour to food, but also is immensely healthy, as it is good for heart health and is said to most probably prevent certain grave illnesses, such as osteoporosis and cancer. It is rich in Vitamin E and A, iron, calcium, copper, and antioxidants. 

Another key vegetable in Turkish cuisine, tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that is believed to keep at bay heart disease and cancer. It is also rich in Vitamin C and K, potassium, folate, and is a good source of fibre. 

Below are two simple recipes for Turkish salads that are often served as a side dish with elaborate Turkish breakfasts.

Olive Salad 

Ingredients: 

    10-15 mix of green and black olives

    1 tbsp olive oil

    1 tsp oregano

    1 tsp pepper

    Juice of half a lemon

Method: 

1.    Mix together the olives with the other ingredients.

2.    Allow the salad to marinate for 20-30 minutes in the fridge.

3.    Serve with bread.

Tomato Salad With Nigella Seeds

Ingredients:

    3 ripe tomatoes

    3 sprigs of thyme

    3 tbsps olive oil

    1 tsp Nigella seeds

    ¼ tsp salt (or as per taste preference)

Method:

1.    Chop the tomato into large diced pieces.

2.    Add the thyme leaves and salt and mix together.

3.    Add olive oil and Nigella, and mix together.  

4.    Let the salad sit for 30 minutes.