Shopska Salad from Bulgaria is the Perfect Choice

Shopska Salad from Bulgaria is the Perfect Choice - Plovdiv Dining www.compassandfork.comToday we feature what many people consider to be the “unofficial” national dish of Bulgaria, the one and only shopska salad. It is a simple dish to make and it is delicious. Using everyday ingredients, you can make shopska salad in less than 10 minutes. Healthy, colourful and full of crunch, shopska salad features the great flavors of summer.

Bulgaria you say? Yes, it flies under the radar a bit being a former communist country in Eastern Europe. Did you know it borders Greece and Turkey (among other countries)? So it has some neighbors whose cuisines are very well known throughout the world. It does share some common foods with those aforementioned countries.

Did you know that many people consider Bulgarian feta to be the world’s best? We certainly find a lot of Bulgarian feta where we come from. Feta is one of the ingredients in our salad today, although it is not the traditional cheese used in Bulgaria. More about that later.

We can thank the former communist regime for shopska salad. There seems to no disagreement that the dish was born under their watch or should that be edict? So as you can imagine there is quite a recent history to this dish which we found almost as fascinating as the great taste of the salad. Read on to find out more.

The Communist History of Shopska Salad

Shopska Salad from Bulgaria is the Perfect Choice - Statue www.compassandfork.comBulgaria is one of those mysterious countries we never heard anything about as young adults growing up, except when they won medals at the Olympic Games! Bulgaria is in the heart of Eastern Europe and was a communist country from 1944 through 1991.

And yes in an effort to increase tourism in the 1960’s, chefs from Balkanturist, a government organisation, developed shopska salad and directed people eat the salad. The people adopted this salad spectacularly. Maybe that was because the colors of the salad – red, white and green make up the colors of the Bulgarian flag. Shopska salad was the only dish of 6 developed and promulgated by Balkanturist to actually survive past the communist era.

And like the colourful salad, Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, is a rather progressive city with many attractive buildings and a food to match.  Bulgarians are social people and we found them friendly and looking to show off their colourful, cosmopolitan city. Honestly some of the pre-communist architecture in Bulgaria is spectacular. And some of it dates back to the Roman era with Sofia providing many opportunities to view some spectacular ruins.

You will find shopska salad everywhere in Sofia and throughout Bulgaria. There is a reason it is so popular. Read on for the recipe.

Shopska Salad from Bulgaria

Shopska Salad from Bulgaria is the Perfect Choice - Sofia Lion www.compassandfork.com

Similar to Greek village salad, shopska salad features strong, white cheese. In Bulgaria they use a hard brined cheese called sirene. It is similar to feta (in taste, but it is a hard cheese) and that is what we are going to use in our recipe today.

The other ingredients are red bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, salad onion, parsley. Topped off with a simple vinaigrette, it is a simple but tasty salad with a bit of attitude provided by the feta.

I hope enjoy the salad. You can read more about Bulgaria, what to see and do, here.

Shopska Salad from Bulgaria is the Perfect Choice - Serving www.compassandfork.com
Shopska Salad from Bulgaria is the Perfect Choice
Print Recipe
Print Recipe
Here is a simple salad using every day ingredients to deliver a fresh, healthy and tasty starter or side salad.
Servings Prep Time
4people 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4people 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Dice the bell pepper, cucumbers and tomatoes. Finely chop the salad onion and parsley. Combine all of these ingredients in a serving bowl.
  2. Prepare the dressing by combining the olive oil and vinegar. Season generously with black pepper and sea salt.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss together until all the contents are well combined. Sprinkle grated or crumbled feta over the top.
Recipe Notes

Shopska salad, the unofficial national dish of Bulgaria, is a healthy, simple salad everyone will enjoy. gluten free www.compassandfork.com

Shopska salad, the unofficial national dish of Bulgaria, is a healthy, simple salad everyone will enjoy. gluten free www.compassandfork.com

12 Responses

  1. What an interesting thing — a government created salad! Regardless, it looks fabulous!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Yes an edict no less! No edict required when it tastes this good.

  2. Megan Marlowe
    | Reply

    This salad is right up my alley and I love the history on Bulgaria too! Thanks for taking me on a trip with this delicious salad!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Megan, glad you enjoyed the history bit. It was interesting to see the people of Bulgaria “coming out” to share their country with the rest of the world.

  3. I would love to visit Bulgaria one day and if the food is as good as this, then I am definitely on board.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Dannii we really enjoyed Bulgaria. The food, people and some of the scenery up in the Pirin Mountains was spectacular.

  4. This looks great, tasty and vibrant and healthy! All good things!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Yes it is hard not to enjoy this salad.

  5. Tania
    | Reply

    I cook this salad very often, since my Bulgarian husband taught me how to make it. 🙂 This is a MUST TRY and WILL LOVE recipe for everyone! Thank for sharing!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Wow good on you Tania. It is such an easy but tasty salad, just full of color. Thanks for the feedback.

  6. I’ve not yet made it Bulgaria in my travels so thank you for this introduction and the great looking salad.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Vicki, It is a very interesting place. Beautiful and very affordable.

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