Middle Eastern Salad (Zalata)
So we’re into the second week of January, and I don’t know about you, but I’m still doing my best to eat healthier. As promised, I’m focusing on healthier recipes this month. Which brings us to the topic of this post, Middle Eastern salad. The word for “salad” in Assyrian is “zalata.” So no fancy or hard to pronounce name for this salad, it’s simply called “salad,” or “zalata.” Does that word sound familiar to you? This is where I remind you that many words have an Assyrian origin. If I sound like the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I’m totally ok with that!
How Do You Make A Middle Eastern Salad?
Good news, this Middle Eastern salad is pretty simple to make. There’s a very good chance that the vegetables you need are already in your refrigerator. I’m talking tomato, cucumber, onion, and lettuce, you have those right? I also add mint, which is the only ingredient that you might not have on hand. Luckily, I have mint growing in my garden (that I dug up from my mom’s garden, prior to selling her house). The vegetables in this salad are chopped, then added to a bowl. To finish off the salad, a simple salad dressing is added. All you’ll need for this dressing is lemon juice, olive oil, dried mint, salt, and black pepper. This simple dressing enhances the flavor of the salad and brings out the natural taste of the fresh vegetables used.
What to Serve with Middle Eastern Salad
As mentioned previously, salads are usually served as Mezza (appetizers) in the Middle East. But another way salads are served is with rice. In fact, my family always added the salad over the rice. The lemon juice and olive oil in the dressing really enhanced the flavor of the rice. I’m not quite sure if that was just something my family did, or if in fact, others do that as well. Either way, you should definitely give it a try over vermicelli rice or Makloubi. I’d love to hear from my Assyrian readers as to whether or not your family served zalata over rice like my family did.
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This simple yet delicious Middle Eastern salad is quite popular throughout the Middle East.
- 1 small head romaine lettuce
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 2 medium Persian cucumbers
- 1/2 small yellow or red onion
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
Chop all the vegetables and place in a large salad bowl.
Whisk the dressing ingredients, and add to the chopped vegetables.
Taste the salad, and adjust seasoning, if necessary.