Turkish spoon salad

Turkish spoon salad

Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

One of my very favourite Turkish salads, this almost has the consistency of a gazpacho soup and definitely needs to be served with a spoon. The secret of its success is to dice the ingredients individually first, then chop them together to very fine and even dice. This salad has a wonderful balance of heat from the chillies and sweetness from the molasses. Serve it with kebabs and offer plenty of Turkish bread to mop up the juices.

The chilli paste used here is readily available from Turkish food stores.


Quantity Ingredient
2 very ripe vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned and finely diced
1 long red pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 long red chillies, seeded and finely diced
1 small lebanese cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 large shallot, peeled and finely diced
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1 heaped teaspoon hot turkish red pepper paste
1/2 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
pomegranate seeds, to garnish (optional)


  1. Place the diced tomatoes, pepper, chillies, cucumber and shallot on a large chopping board. Use a very sharp, large knife to chop them all together. You are aiming for well-integrated, even and fine dice. Scrape into a large bowl and add the herbs, pepper paste, molasses, vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the oil, then season with salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly and leave for 20 minutes to macerate.
  2. Just before serving, tip the salad into a colander and drain for a few moments to remove some of the excess liquid – you want the salad to be wet, but not swimming in liquid. Pour out onto a shallow serving platter, then drizzle on the remaining oil and scatter over the pomegranate seeds, if using. Serve straight away.
Middle Eastern
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