Shopska Salad

4.34 from 3 votes

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Shopska Salad is a beloved staple of Balkan cuisine. Featuring fresh 🍅 tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, and parsley, topped with brined white cheese or feta, this colorful salad celebrates the flavors of my homeland, 🇧🇬 Bulgaria. The salad was invented in the early 1950’s at one of the first Balkan tourist hotels on the Black Sea and is well known throughout the Balkans. This delicious salad offers a refreshing taste of Bulgaria’s culinary heritage.

Why You’ll Love Shopska Salad

You’ll fall in love with Shopska Salad for its perfect medley of fresh vegetables, bursting with flavor and crisp textures. Each bite offers the best combination of juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and sweet bell peppers, complemented by the kick of onions and the freshness of 🌿 parsley. Topped generously with brined white cheese or feta, the salad delivers a creamy richness that perfectly balances the acidity of the vegetables. Whether enjoyed as a light lunch or a refreshing side dish, Shopska Salad is sure to become a favorite for its simplicity, freshness, and irresistible flavors.

How to Prepare Shopska Salad

🍅 In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, red pepper(s), and onion. Season with salt and oil to taste and then toss well.

🌿 Optionally, add chopped parsley if desired.

🧀 Now, grate brined white cheese or feta on top of the salad, measuring to your preference.

🫒 Last but not least, add an extra drizzle of oil on top before serving. Enjoy!

Nonna’s Tip

Be sure to purchase good-quality brined white cheese or feta from European delis or grocery stores, preferably in a fresh block or in brine. Avoid pre-crumbled cheese. Costco offers tubs of fresh feta as an alternative option.

Shopska Salad

Variations and Substitutions for Shopska Salad

This simple salad is easy to adjust for what you have on hand or to make for a crowd. Be sure to let me know in the comments how you make it your own.

  1. Instead of just using olive oil, you could use a vinaigrette with olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, 🧄 garlic, and herbs. Also, feel free to Incorporate lemon or lime juice or even a balsamic glaze or a little 🍯 honey.
  2. This would go well with any protein you like, such as chicken or steak if you want to make it a full meal.
  3. Feel free to serve this over a bed of 🥬 mixed greens, arugula, spinach, or any other leafy greens you enjoy.
  4. Add 🫒 olives, capers, or sun-dried tomatoes for flavor.
  5. Definitely include your favorite fresh 🌿 herbs such as basil or mint.

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Common Questions

What type of salt do you use?

I use Redmond Real Salt, but please note that depending on the salt you use, your dish may be less or more salty. Salt is to taste so please always taste and adjust as you cook.

What type of white cheese should I use for this salad?

Any white cheese like feta will work, however, we use Bulgarian white cheese which is a feta variation known in Bulgaria and other Balkan countries called “Sirene“. Made from sheep’s milk, Sirene is a touch saltier than Greek feta and has a creamier texture, with a hint of yogurt overtones. This is what Bulgarian white cheese looks like, but feel free to use feta as it’s similar in taste/texture. 

Where can I find the correct cheese for this salad?

You can find any good-quality white cheese or feta at any European deli or grocery store behind the deli counter. Always buy it in a big fresh block or in brine. Additionally, you can also ask the person behind the deli counter to give you a small sample.

WHat type of cheese should I avoid?

Please do not buy any pre-crumbled cheese. Sometimes Costco has tubs of fresh feta if you’re looking for other alternatives. Or you can use any white cheese that is sold in brine, or a feta, that you love most.

What type of peppers should I add to my shopska salad?

You can add raw or roasted bell peppers to this salad, I added both. To make roasted bell peppers: first place the pepper(s) on an oven-safe dish and then bake them at 425F (215C) until charred. Once cool enough to handle, remove and discard the peel, stem, and seeds, and cut the pepper into slices. Alternatively, you can use jarred roasted bell peppers.

How should I chop the vegetables for this salad?

Feel free to chop the veggies to your preference like I do. Here’s how I like to chop each veggie: For the tomatoes, cut each tomato in half, those halves in half, and those halves in half again. Chop across each piece as big/small as you prefer. For the cucumber, you can leave the skin on, but I like to peel it. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and then each half again lengthwise. You should now have four long quarters that you can then cut across at half-inch intervals to dice into equal pieces. Then, for the sweet green pepper, cut it into small thin circles or half circles. Traditionally I like to remove the core/seeds, slice it into thin slices, and chop across making a fine dice.

What type of olive oil should I use?

Feel free to use any mild oil or olive oil in this recipe.

What if I don’t like parsley?

If you don’t like parsley, definitely leave it out.  

Shopska Salad

Shopska Salad is a beloved staple of Balkan cuisine. Featuring fresh 🍅 tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, and parsley, topped with brined white cheese or feta, this colorful salad celebrates the flavors of my homeland, 🇧🇬 Bulgaria.
4.34 from 3 votes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Bulgarian
Servings: 2
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, raw or roasted (or both)
  • ½ small yellow onion, diced or sliced
  • salt , to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil , to taste
  • fresh parsley , (optional)
  • 50-100 grams Bulgarian white cheese (or feta) , measure with your heart

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, add the tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, red pepper(s), and onion and season to taste with salt and oil. Toss well. Add some chopped parsley, if using (my mom doesn't like it as much, so I left it out).
  • Grate the feta cheese on top of the salad and measure with your heart.
  • Add an extra drizzle of oil on top and enjoy!
  • Note: you can find any good-quality brined white cheese or feta at any European deli or grocery store, behind the deli counter. Always buy it in a big fresh block or in brine. You can also ask the person behind the deli counter to give you a small sample. Please do not buy anything pre-crumbled. Costco has tubs of fresh feta if you're looking for other alternatives. You can use any white cheese sold in brine, or feta, that you love most.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 249kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 580mg, Potassium: 535mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 2865IU, Vitamin C: 136mg, Calcium: 277mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Bulgarian
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My most favorite salad!!! When I was in Bulgaria i had this at ever meal. The cheese was always piled high and everything was so fresh. Thanks for naming the cheese I will be making it as soon as I find it~Candy