Turkish Salad (Shepherd Salad)

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: May 15, 2020

Last Updated: January 26th, 20240 Comments on Turkish Salad (Shepherd Salad)

Turkish salad (Shepherd Salad) is a simple, crunchy and deliciously fresh salad of tomato, cucumber, onion, pepper and herbs. Ready in 10 minutes, eaten in 5. Learn just how simple it is to create here.

A bowl of turkish salad with a yoghurt dressing

Few things transport me directly back to Turkey like a Mezze dish. It's my favourite way to eat! A seemingly endless train of mouthwatering dishes. From simple vegetable preparations to exquisite mouthfuls of fish and meat. Scooping, dipping and wrapping ensues, until I finally tap out! The waiters stop and I retreat for a lie down.

One such treasure that saw its way to every table is Turkish Salad (Shepherd Salad) a wonderfully simple chopped salad of fresh vegetables and herbs and a simple lemon dressing. It's a brilliant pairing of texture and freshness and so versatile, it'll pair with everything!

A bowl of turkish salad with a yoghurt dressing

What is Turkish Salad

Turkish Salad, also known as Shepherd Salad and Çoban Salatası, is a simple salad of Turkish and Azerbaijani heritage featuring fresh, crunchy ingredients combined with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. It's humble but brightens any meal with its clean, crisp qualities. Turkish Salad pairs with absolutely everything - fish, meat, poultry - you name it, it's a winner!

My recipe for Turkish chopped salad deviates a little from the original in that, I substitute the traditional long green peppers found in Turkey for regular green bell peppers. I often also add a little spice to this salad with some hot green chillies like hatch, cayenne or serrano. For this recipe I used a half red/half green bell pepper combo. Like most Turkish salad recipes, a little substitution make no difference - it's still delicious!

Why it works?

It's quick and easy. No cooking required.

It's fresh and tasty - a combination of crunchy vegetables feels like it's doing you good.

Ingredients for a Turkish Salad (Shepherd Salad)

Stuff You'll Need

Here are all the ingredients you'll need to make this simple salad. It's all about freshness of flavour.

  • Vegetables - diced tomato, red and green pepper, onion and cucumber.
  • Herbs - Fresh parsley and cilantro bring the herbal notes.
  • Dressing - A little lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil keep it simple for a dressing.
  • Yoghurt dressing - Yoghurt, milk and crushed garlic. I ate this dressing served with one shepherd salad in Istanbul, Turkey and it stayed with me! It's not strictly traditional, but it's super tasty. It's topped with a little Pul Biber or Aleppo pepper flakes.

Step by Step

There aren't really steps as such, Turkish salad is just a case of dicing all the vegetables and then combining them with the herbs and dressing.

Secondly, if you want to make the yoghurt topping, then just whisk together the ingredients for that and add a couple of dollops on top.

A bowl of turkish salad with a yoghurt dressing

Pro Tips

Turkish Salad is SO GOOD when it's been refrigerated. Icy cold salad with lots of crunch just seems to work better. That means you can make it a few hours in advance and keep cold in the fridge.

Add the yoghurt topping just before serving. You can make that in advance too.

Serving & Storage Suggestions

Serve Shepherd Salad with almost anything - It really is that versatile. I love Turkish salad with fish and seafood dishes, poultry and meats. It's also great served alongside Mezze dishes to form part of many small plates of healthy, tasty offerings.

Mezze is my favourite way to eat and given the chance I would spread out dinner over several hours, drip feeding small dishes one by one. Turkish salad would sit with literally all other dishes. Check out my Mezze selections below.

Ready to get cooking?

So, as salad dishes go, Turkish Salad is not going to challenge anyone skill-wise, It's a stress-free preparation for either a simple side, or as part of a larger Turkish inspired dinner table feast. If the latter is what you're after see my Turkish Feast meal plan below. Hope you enjoy your salad!

More Turkish recipes

If you liked this recipe for Turkish Salad, you'll be sure to enjoy more of my favourite recipes - try them all together for a feast to remember. Shepherd Salad will pair with everything below.

Any Questions? (FAQ)

Have a question about Turkish Salad (Shepherd Salad)? Let me know in the comments.

Why is it called Shepherd's Salad?

As history would have it, Azerbaijani and Turkish farmers and shepherds would put together this salad using their produce to accompany them on their long days tending to crops and animals.

What is Turkish Salad made of?

At its core, Shepherd Salad featured crunchy diced vegetables like onion, tomato, pepper and cucumber mixed with herbs. The salad often also features olives and peynir cheese (similar to feta).

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A bowl of turkish salad with a yoghurt dressing

Turkish Salad (Shepherd Salad)

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5 from 3 votes
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Recipe by Lee
Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 4
Calories (per serving) | 76

Video Recipe


For the Salad

  • 2 tomatoes (seeded & diced)
  • ½ cucumber (peeled, seeded & diced)
  • ¼ red onion (medium sized - diced)
  • ½ red pepper (seeded & diced)
  • green pepper (seeded & diced)
  • 2 tbsp parsley (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)

For the Dressing

For the yoghurt topping

  • 3 tbsp Greek yoghurt (plain)
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)



For the Salad

  • Combine all the salad ingredients together in a bowl and fress with the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and salt & pepper.

For the yoghurt topping

  • Whisk together all the yoghurt topping ingredients until smooth

Finishing the salad

  • Decant the salad onto a platter into a bowl. Spoon over some of the yoghurt topping and, if using, sprinkle over some Aleppo pepper or sumac. Drizzle as generously as you're feeling with more extra virgin olive oil.


  • This salad will stay good in the fridge for 4-5 days. It's not suitable for freezing.
  • If you can get hold of the yellow banana peppers (popular in Turkey) use those.
  • You can also add some chilli peppers like Serrano or Jalapeño to make this salad a spicy one.
  • Add black olives to the salad for a salty, fruity note
  • Add cubes of Peynir cheese or Feta cheese.
  • Mix up the herbs by adding a little mint or dill alongside parsley and cilantro.
  • The yoghurt sauce is not strictly traditional, but works so well.
  • Sprinkle over some pul biber or Aleppo pepper flakes for a mild smoky spice.


Calories: 76kcal (4%) | Carbohydrates: 7g (2%) | Protein: 3g (6%) | Fat: 4g (6%) | Saturated Fat: 1g (6%) | Cholesterol: 2mg (1%) | Sodium: 17mg (1%) | Potassium: 286mg (8%) | Fiber: 2g (8%) | Sugar: 5g (6%) | Vitamin A: 1240IU (25%) | Vitamin C: 41mg (50%) | Calcium: 44mg (4%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)
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