European/ Lunch/ Recipes/ Salad/ Side Dish

Shopska Salad – Easy Bulgarian Summer Salad Recipe

11/09/2020

This super quick Bulgarian Shopska Salad is one of the easiest, coolest, and tastiest three ingredient salads in the world! All you need is fresh tomato, cucumber and Bulgarian feta or sirene cheese. It’s the perfect side salad or light, refreshing lunch.

A bowl of shopska salad made from cucumber, tomato and grated Bulgarian cheese.

Why We Love This

Full of juicy tomatoes and crunchy cucumber, shopska is a popular Bulgarian cold salad. It’s famous throughout the Balkans for being super refreshing and quick and easy to prepare. Versatile and delicious, it’s perfect as a light lunch or colourful side dish for barbecues, potlucks and family gatherings. 

We love that shopska salad is also a budget-friendly dish, transforming low cost everyday ingredients into an addictive summer salad you’ll love to share with friends and family. 

A colourful bowl of salad next to a juicy red tomato.

What is Shopska Salad? 

Shopska Salad (aka shopska salata) is a cold salad traditionally made with chopped tomatoes, cucumber and a very generous sprinkling of sirene cheese, which is pretty similar to feta in both taste and texture. It’s quite similar to a traditional greek salad, but with a surprisingly different flavour and texture from the grated or crumbled feta.

If you can’t find any sirene or feta near you, you could try sourcing some online or you can even make your own if you’re feeling adventurous!

If you want to kick things up a notch, feel free to throw in some diced capsicum / bell peppers and your favourite marinated olives. We once even threw in some salami for all the meat-lovers out there!

How to make:

  1. Pop your diced tomatoes and cucumber in a serving bowl and give everything a stir until evenly mixed.
  2. Optional step: Add in any extra ingredients to suit your taste, such as red pepper, olives, olive oil, vinegar, and salt & pepper if you’re using them, then stir through again.
  3. Let it snow! Grate the cheese right over the bowl until well and truly covered.
  4. Serve immediately (or store for around 30 mins in the fridge).
Grating bulgarian feta over chopped tomatoes and cucumbers.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • For an extra cooling salad, keep your ingredients in the fridge right up until you’re ready to prep. You can even pop them in the freezer for a few minutes to cool them down even further.
  • For an even more refreshing experience, serve your shopska salad with rakia (Bulgarian fruit brandy) or a frosty beer!

FAQs

Can I make this in advance?

This salad is best enjoyed immediately when all the ingredients are at their freshest. It will store nicely in the fridge for half an hour or so.

What should I serve with this salad?

This salad is often served alongside grilled meats, particularly Balkan sausages (cevapi) or grilled chicken. It also makes a great side salad for dishes like our Chicken Pasta Bake, Zucchini Slice or Greek Moussaka to lighten the meal.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Sirene Cheese – Substitute with Bulgarian feta, or any firm feta cheese that can be grated.
  • Add Flavour – Serve your shopska salad with side dishes of balsamic or red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt or fresh parsley. You and your guests can then tweak the flavours just how you like. 
  • Make it a Meal – Try adding chopped cucumber and diced salami. This will quickly transform your side dish salad into a more satisfying main meal.
Chopped cucumber and tomato in a bowl next to serving spoons.

Want more cooling salad recipes? Here are some of our favourites:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

Shopska salad in a bowl covered in grated cheese.

Bulgarian Shopska Salad

This super quick Bulgarian Shopska Salad is one of the easiest, coolest, and tastiest three ingredient salads in the world! All you need is fresh tomato, cucumber and Bulgarian feta or sirene cheese. It's the perfect side salad or light, refreshing lunch.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Bulgarian
Servings: 1 salad
Calories: 432kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 1 tomato large, diced
  • 1 cucumber continental, diced
  • 100 g sirene cheese or substitute with feta

Optional Garnishes

Instructions

  • Pop your diced tomatoes and cucumber in a serving bowl and give everything a stir until evenly distributed.
  • Optional step: Add in your optional ingredients such as red pepper, olives, olive oil, vinegar, and salt & pepper if you're using them and stir through again.
  • Let it snow! Grate that cheese right over the bowl until well and truly covered.
  • Serve immediately (or store for around 30 mins in the fridge).

Recipe Notes

Tips to get this recipe just right:
  • Sirene Cheese – Substitute with Bulgarian feta, or any firm feta cheese that can be grated.
  • Add Flavour – Serve your shopska salad with side dishes of balsamic or red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt or fresh parsley. You and your guests can then tweak the flavours just how you like. 
  • Make it a Meal – Try adding chopped cucumber and diced salami. This will quickly transform your side dish salad into a more satisfying main meal.
  • For an Extra Cooling Salad – Keep your ingredients in the fridge right up until you’re ready to prep. You can even pop them in the freezer for a few minutes to cool them down even further.
  • For the Best Experience – This salad is best enjoyed immediately when all the ingredients are at their freshest. It will store nicely in the fridge for half an hour or so.

Nutrition

Calories: 432kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 1911mg | Potassium: 1013mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 5585IU | Vitamin C: 178.4mg | Calcium: 573mg | Iron: 2.4mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Shopska Salad - Easy Bulgarian Summer Salad Recipe

Get our free cookbook

27 Comments

  • Reply
    Sylvie
    25/07/2019 at 7:38 pm

    5 stars
    Yummy fresh veggies AND cheese, what is there not to love!? Such a perfect recipe for summer, yum!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/07/2019 at 9:48 am

      I know right, tasty AND healthy? Win win!

  • Reply
    Cliona
    25/07/2019 at 7:20 pm

    5 stars
    I’m always looking for new summer salads and this looks simply devine! I’ve never really eaten any Bulgarian food so this will be a great way to start.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/07/2019 at 9:48 am

      Hope you enjoy this new addition to your repertoire!

  • Reply
    Emily
    25/07/2019 at 6:02 pm

    5 stars
    So simple and fresh this is my kinda summer food, yum!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/07/2019 at 9:47 am

      I know right! Cooling salads are the best way to cool down on a summer’s day. 😀

  • Reply
    Michelle Miller
    25/07/2019 at 4:24 pm

    5 stars
    I love to explore the world through food! Bulgarian food is a first! Thank you for sharing, this looks super refreshing.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/07/2019 at 9:47 am

      Ah so glad we could be part of your kitchen adventures!

  • Reply
    Farah
    25/07/2019 at 4:04 pm

    5 stars
    That looks so refreshing, light delicious and easy! Definitely my type of recipe.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/07/2019 at 9:46 am

      Agree, we love the convenience factor too!

  • Reply
    Gergana
    16/08/2016 at 4:55 pm

    Hey Ladies,

    I am ssooooo happy you’re spreading the word of our lovely Bulgarian cuisine. Next time you go – please give me a shout, I’ll direct you to great food places & dishes to try with pleasure! 🙂

    May I suggest a small variation, which is a MUST-TRY? We usually eat this salad as a mix of the following ingredients:
    – Tomatoes & Cucumbers as main filler ingredients
    – Cheese for the finishing, always
    and here comes the difference:
    – raw, very thinly sliced red or white onions
    – roasted red peppers (you char them under the grill untill almost all of the surface is black, then peel the skin off)
    – and we finish with a bit of salt and sunflower seed oil (a little salt, as our Sirene cheese is quite salty)

    Being Bulgarian, I’d suggest this for the most authentic version, hope you’ll give it a try, and maybe suggest this variant to your readers.

    Gergana

    • Reply
      Gergana
      16/08/2016 at 4:57 pm

      oh, and how could I forget: PARSLEY< LOADS OF PARSLEY 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      22/08/2016 at 3:37 pm

      Hey Gergana, thanks for stopping by. Excellent suggestions and totally happy to share. P.S. Would love to take you up on that offer – Bulgaria is such a lovely country and we had such an awesome time there, we’ll definitely head back one day! 🙂

  • Reply
    THE HUNGRY MUM
    31/05/2016 at 5:14 pm

    Literally Miss 10’s three fav ingredients! We usually have a Greek salad most nights, will have to mix it up a bit.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      01/06/2016 at 10:07 am

      Awesome! It’s crazy how similar this is to Greek salad when you look at the key ingredients, but the flavour is so, so different it’s on a whole new level. Enjoy! 🙂

  • Reply
    Florentina
    28/05/2016 at 5:14 am

    5 stars
    I love tomato and cucumber together ! Nothing screams summer and healthy like those two in my mouth haha

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/05/2016 at 9:06 am

      Hahah couldn’t agree more Florentina!

  • Reply
    Kathrina
    28/05/2016 at 4:55 am

    Oh wow…this salad is speaking my language! I love simple and flavorful salads like this, and that snow-like dusting of cheese is just perfect. I can’t wait to make this one soon. I may or may not share with my family. 😉 Haha!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/05/2016 at 9:06 am

      Good luck Kathrina, but you should probably make a double batch just in case. 😉

  • Reply
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
    28/05/2016 at 2:03 am

    5 stars
    Lots of beautiful colours in this dish. It looks so light and fresh too, and perfect for a summers evening.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/05/2016 at 9:05 am

      Absolutely! Hope you enjoy Dannii!

  • Reply
    Kate @ VeggieDesserts
    28/05/2016 at 1:49 am

    Feta snow!!!! What a great way to make this extra special. I want to grate everything now!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/05/2016 at 9:03 am

      Yayyyy! Us too! So grate-ful you stopped by. 😉

  • Reply
    Tara
    28/05/2016 at 12:48 am

    Love Shopska Salad! Yours looks amazing! Such beautiful photos.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/05/2016 at 8:59 am

      Thanks Tara! How addictive is it?! So much health, so little time 😛

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Champagne Tastes
    26/05/2016 at 11:46 pm

    5 stars
    Oh man! My husband and I ate this salad at every restaurant we went to in Bulgaria last summer! It was SO DELICIOUS! I do think their feta tastes a little different, but I didn’t realize it actually was a different type of feta. I will have to look for it.. the husband mourns that he hasn’t had this salad recently haha. This is awesome!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      27/05/2016 at 9:22 am

      Yess! So nice to meet a fellow shopska addict haha 😀 Sirene’s definitely got a unique flavour but when you can only get your hands on feta at home we think it’s close enough. But we’ll have to go back for the real thing one day! 😀

    Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating




    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.