Middle Eastern Recipes, Salads, Sides and Appetizers

Ezme (Turkish Salad)

Acılı ezme Salad is a delicious spicy dip, but do people know what it consists of?

Ezme salad is famous across Palestine and often eaten next to grilled chicken and beef!

Whenever you enter a restaurant, chances are that you have encountered a warm basket of Turkish bread on the table. However, a certain appetizer comes alongside. It consists of a finely chopped salad and a dip that has made many wonder what it might be.   


Plate full of freshly prepared vegetable salad with onions on the side
Spicy and delicious!


So, What Is Ezme?

People who are not familiar with Turkish cuisine assume that this salad is full of spices. On the contrary, Turkish food is characterized by its clean flavors and little heat.

However, Acılı means spicy in Turkish. No wonder why everyone is afraid to taste it!

This little bowl of finely chopped vegetables might seem unnoticeable. But if you prepare it properly, it certainly packs a punch!

Unsurprisingly, it is common in Southern and Eastern regions of Turkiye where they have a heavier hand with spices, particularly dried chili flakes.

And as for ezme, it is the Turkish word for crushed, referring to the style of preparation. Indeed, you will encounter many ezme dishes in Turkish cuisine, noticeably being crushed and with a dip-like texture.



a piece of bread dipped in some spicy ezme salad
Better served with bread.

Why You Will Love Ezme Salad

This salad is both refreshing and spicy. It is a perfect option whether you want a side salad or a dip. The spiciness can be adjusted accordingly to suit the taste you are looking for. The fresh vegetables make it super healthy. Not to mention that it is easy and quick to prepare!

You can serve it with almost any main course, easily prepared and commonly eaten during the summer.

The authentic flavors in Ezme salad entice tourists to return for more and inspire them to explore other traditional Turkish dishes.


The salad bowl filled wih ezme and onions
You can always add flavor and color!

Ezme Salad Dressing

Pomegranate Molasses makes a thick syrup that has an intense sweet-and-sour flavor that makes it perfect for any salad dressing or marinade.

Also, you can use extra lemon juice that adds freshness to the salad. However, you should use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of bottled ones and the amount differs whether you want the salad tangy or not.


Ingredients

Tomato

Red onion

Parsley

Green bell pepper

Red bell pepper

Garlic

Mild red pepper paste

Aleppo pepper

Sumac

Dried mint

Salt

Olive oil

Pomegranate molasses


A bowl of Ezme salad with vibrant red tomatoes on the side
Dive into the vibrant flavors of Ezme salad!

Steps to Follow

This salad is super good and is so easy to make, here’s all you have to do:

First, add the veggies to a food processor to chop finely, or chop finely by hand

Then, add the spices, olive oil, and pomegranate molasses. And that’s it!



Freshly prepared salad with some onions to decorate the plate
With some onions on the side, please!

In Turkey, you can find Ezme mainly in kebab restaurants that serve it as an appetizer alongside fresh bread or as a side dish to kebabs. Many other restaurants, particularly those that attract tourists, also serve a small bowl of acili ezme as a welcome dish.

You can also serve the salad as a meze. It is a perfect addition along with any grilled meat, not just kebab.

No matter how you decide to serve it, make sure to add plenty of delicious fresh bread on the side, such as Turkish pide bread, to mop up all those delicious juices.


Chop It All Together!

Ezme consists of mashed salad, so the preparation method is very significant. Genuine kebab restaurants tend to use a big cleaver or a special double-handled knife or a super sharp chef knife whenever they want to chop the vegetables.

We should not forget that the tomatoes should be cut into tiny pieces. After that, the onions as well as the parsley should be chopped similarly.


The plate full of ezme dip with some onions
Look at that color!

Tips and Tricks

You can use a fairly spicy version when making this salad. Or you can, as suggested in the ezme recipe below, use a combination of fresh chilies and a regular heat pul biber.

In case the tomatoes are not super ripe and flavorful, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of a good-quality tomato paste to boost the flavors.

You should substitute acı biber salçası (Turkish hot pepper paste) for the pul biber if you want a punchier and more umami-laden dip.  


the ezme salad served in a  decorated plate with a spoon on the side
Cut it real tiny.

Storage Tips


The salad presented on the table with a side spoon to serve it
Refresh your mouth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where does the heat in the salad come from?

The heat usually comes from one of two sources. It can come from using dried chili flakes commonly known as Aleppo pepper. They are fairly mild and fragrant. It can also come the Turkish acı biber salçası. By adding it, you give the salad beautiful umami-laden heat.  

Can it be prepared ahead of time?

Since ezme is so finely chopped to look like a dip, it can be made a few hours before in a pinch. But the best restaurants always chop it on-site for a reason.

Can I use canned tomatoes?

It is preferable to use fresh red tomatoes for this salad. Also, although many recipes encourage peeling the tomatoes it is better to keep them as they are and chop them into little pieces.


Other Must Try Recipes

Tabbouli Salad Recipe (Tabbouleh)

Juicy Middle Eastern Kebabs

Tender Grilled Steak Kebabs

Cucumber Yogurt Salad | Khiyar Bi Laban

Meat Stuffed Pitas (Palestinian Arayes)

Middle Eastern Spiced Baked Chicken

Mushabak Halabi (Middle Eastern Churros)

Middle Eastern Cheese Fatayer (Cheese Pies)

Juicy Chicken Kofta Kebabs

Honey Garlic Sriracha Wings


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A plate full of freshly prepared vegetable salad with onions on the side

Ezme Salad Recipe

Fatimah
Ezme salad can be served as a dish on the table or as a dip next to some bread. It is considered refreshing and spicy at the same time
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 3
Calories 125 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium sized tomato
  • ½ small red onion
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons mild red pepper paste
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sumac
  • teaspoons dried mint
  • salt to taste (i used about ½ teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

Instructions
 

  • Add the veggies to a food processor to chop finely or chop finely by hand.
  •  Then, add the spices and olive oil and pomegranate molasses.

Notes

  • Typically, this salad/dip is a little spicy. Feel free to use the Turkish hot pepper or cayenne pepper as a substitute to make it spicy. You can also use hot pepper paste instead of mild.

Nutrition

Calories: 125kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 11mgPotassium: 124mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1241IUVitamin C: 49mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 1mg
Keyword ezme salad
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