Albanian Traditional Shopska Salad

Albanian Traditional Shopska Salad
Shopska Salad From Albania

The Albanian Shopska Salad is a traditional dish that originates from the Balkan region. This refreshing salad is known for its vibrant colours, fresh flavours, and simple preparation. The combination of crisp vegetables, tangy cheese, and zesty dressing makes it a perfect choice for a light and healthy meal.

The key ingredients in an Albanian Shopska Salad typically include ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onions, and creamy feta cheese. The vegetables are usually diced or sliced into bite-sized pieces, allowing their natural flavours to shine through. The feta cheese is crumbled over the top of the salad, adding a rich and savoury element to each bite.

The Dressing of Albanian Salad

One of the distinguishing features of the Albanian Shopska Salad is its dressing. A classic dressing for this salad consists of high-quality olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. The dressing is drizzled over the salad just before serving, enhancing the overall taste and tying the ingredients together.

Shopska Salad
Preparing the Salad

To prepare the salad, start by washing and chopping the vegetables. The tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers should be cut into uniform pieces to ensure an even distribution of flavours. The red onions can be thinly sliced to add a hint of sharpness to the salad. Once the vegetables are prepared, they are combined in a large bowl and gently tossed to mix.

Top it up with Feta Cheese

Next, crumble the feta cheese over the top of the salad. The creamy texture and salty flavour of the feta cheese complement the fresh vegetables, adding a satisfying richness to each forkful. The amount of feta cheese can be adjusted according to personal preference, making it easy to customize the salad to suit individual tastes.

Finally, drizzle the dressing over the salad, using just enough to coat the vegetables without overwhelming them. The dressing adds a tangy and slightly acidic note that balances the sweetness of the vegetables and the saltiness of the feta cheese. Toss the salad gently to ensure that the dressing is evenly distributed.

Serving the Salad

The Albanian Shopska Salad is best served immediately to enjoy the crispness of the vegetables and the creamy texture of the feta cheese. It can be served as a side dish alongside grilled meats or enjoyed on its own as a light and satisfying meal. This vibrant and flavourful salad is a celebration of fresh, seasonal ingredients and is sure to be a hit at any gathering.

How to Make the Albanian Shopska Salad

2 English cucumbers (the long thin ones)*                                                                                                2 ripe summer tomatoes                                                                                                                                1 green pepper**                                                                                                                                              1 stalk green onion                                                                                                                                          2 tablespoons minced parsley                                                                                                                      3 tablespoons sunflower oil                                                                                                                          2 tablespoons red wine vinegar                                                                                                                    150 grams of shredded sirene, about 1 cup                                                                                                       pinch of salt (the sirene is rather salty)


Chop the cucumbers — you can choose to peel them or not, either way is fine when you’re using the English cucumbers as they have a rather thin skin. I prefer skin on plus I’m lazy so skin on it is! You want to chop it into large chunks that are still pleasant to eat.

Chop the tomatoes about the same size as the cucumbers, omitting some of the goopier and seedier parts from the middle if you wish.

Slice the green pepper into smaller strips.

Chop one green onion finely.

Mince parsley finely until you have about 2 tablespoons or as to taste.

Place all the salad ingredients into a bowl. Drizzle the 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil and the 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar on top and toss with a very small amount of salt. Taste to check seasoning.

Grate sirene or feta cheese on the largest side of a box grater, about 150 grams or approximately 1 cup of cheese (the more the better!). Cover the shopska salad in a blanket of sirene.

Top with a sprig of parsley or one black olive to be super Bulgarian restaurant about it.


* If you can’t get your hands on English cucumbers, use Persian cucumbers (you’ll likely need twice the amount). Kirby cucumbers work in a pinch, but I’d avoid garden cucumbers unless you can’t help it as they will be rather seedy and watery.

** The peppers used in Bulgaria are often a greenish-yellow and have a taste similar to green bell pepper. You can just use a green or yellow bell pepper.

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