March 3, 2011

Olive Salad — a simple Middle Eastern mezedhe, aka the meze dish

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A part of me will always be a dreamer. 

Whenever I come across a stunning picture in a travel magazine, a landscape of outstanding beauty in a movie, or listen to my friends talk about far away exotic lands they visited, I am intrigued. I dream of packing my bags and crossing the miles to explore these fantastic destinations to experience their culture, meet their delightful people, enjoy shopping from their street markets to the chic boutiques, and savor the local cuisine. 

With the vastness of the world and the plethora of choices, I have a feeling that my dream would remain just that—a dream.

Turkey, the center of the Ottoman Empire, the melting pot of the European and Asian cultures, is on my list of places to visit. Turkish cuisine is amazingly varied and one of the best in the world. I became a fan of Turkish food during my years of work in one of the best local oil and gas organization in Doha, amongst a majority of warm, friendly Qatari nationals. Those beautiful years were indeed my firsthand experience in the legendary Middle Eastern hospitality. With straight working hours from 6:30 am to 2:30 pm, my Qatari colleagues would order food from a close by Turkish restaurant and generously share it with everyone. That was the beginning.

Ever since, my family and I have always enjoyed Turkish food. Most weekends we dine or order food from a popular local restaurant in Doha renowned for its fantastic food, Turkey Central Restaurant. Their grills and salads are to die for. We usually enjoy their meze as a meal on its own. Our favorites are humus, tabbouleh, fattoush, olive salad, babaghanoush, muttabell, labneh with zatar, fatayer and many more. Well, if you are not familiar with meze or hors d'oeuvres, it's nothing but a selection of small dishes typically served as an appetizer at the beginning of a meal. Did you know "meze" means "taste" or "snack" and the invididual meze dishes are called "mezedhe", traditionally eaten with the fingers and scoped with a piece of khubz.

This olive salad is a very simple but delicious meze that captures the signature flavors of Turkish cuisine. You can serve it as an easy nibble at your next barbecue, or when you are entertaining friends and wish to spend more time with your guests. The nutrients in olives help to control asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, colon cancer and heart diseases. An added bonus, indeed.

If you like us, are true Turkish food lovers, you'll sure enjoy this simple dish.

Olive Salad

Serves 1
Prep 10 min

1/2 cup tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 cup firm green bell pepper, seeded, cored and diced
1/2 cup sliced pickled green olives, drained
1 tablespoon sliced pickled black olives, drained
1 tablespoon carrot, finely grated
1/2 to 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño, finely diced & drained (optional)
handful parsley leaves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon


Tip all the ingredients into a mixing bowl, drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil, and gently toss.  

Jalapeño is not part of the authentic recipe, I use it for a bit of tingle on the tongue. Also, remember that brined olive slices are usually salty. So, taste and season, if desired. 

Serve with slices of khubz (pita bread) by the side.


  1. Beautiful photographs!!! The salad looks so coulourful Something like a flower bouquet :)

  2. Nice....and wonderful color of olives :)

  3. Paaka Shaale and Priyanka: You are too kind! Thanks for your promptness.

  4. So colorful and healthy salad...prefect and wonderful pics...Loved them

  5. I am becoming a salad freak and this is a must try recipe...

  6. Beautiful clicks!! love the salad ..

  7. tell me about it..who doesn't have dreams like that and who knows they might come true in future..wish yours do...

    Oilive salad looks gorgeous .....beautifullll picture...

  8. Salad looks colorful and perfect...

  9. Really colourful and looks perfect...

  10. Salad looks absolutely marvellous,simply superb..

  11. olive salad....ahhhh wow girl u r tempting me a lot!!!....looks too good colorful too....
    r u still in Qatar?
    Smitha's Spicy Flavors

  12. Believe it or not my 3 year old likes salad and she is totally crazy about olives. This could be the perfect next dinner for us :)

    US Masala

  13. Colourful appealing salad! Loved your clicks and serving bowls too!

  14. Olive salad looks refreshing and healthy... Love olives...!! :-)

  15. whether your dreams come true or not (i hope they do) you sure have an extra bit of brain in your head :P

    olive salad very good.

    chk out kudua...she seems like a pleasant lady herself.

    i hope you know abt


    for a hummus high..........

  17. looks very colorful and the clicks are awesome.

  18. That certainly looks very good, I have to come to you to learn few photographic techniques, hope you don't mind :)

  19. beautiful!!! looks so yumm too!!!

  20. Excellent pics and very colorful. You rock Nash..:)

  21. Beautiful clicks , colourful and nutritious salad

  22. i jst lved it..happy followin u...

  23. Hi all, thanks a lot for your invaluable feedback. You guys are really adorable!

    Preety, thank you for the good wishes.

    Smitha, yes, I'm still in Qatar...:)

    Thoma, thanks for the reminder. You see, I'm having challenges- intermitend access to the net along with persistant problems with the connection. As of now everything's a struggle, ugh! Soon, girl, when my issues are resolved :)

    Aw, Ayesha, you must be kidding!!

    Shanthi and Neenu: Thanks much for visiting this space and leaving your lovely comments!

  24. hey, stumbled across ur blog by accident and absolutely love ur pics and recipes! im totally envious of the beautiful dishes you serve up and the cutlery you serve them in :D great going girl!

  25. wow.... what pics!!! loved it.... and I just love salads.... pics are soooo tempting....

  26. Aww, Swati, you are too generous with your words! It's a great pleasure to meet someone with so much energy and enthusiasm for life - thanks a ton for sharing your lovely thoughts!

    Hey Sojo, really appreciate your stopping by and leaving your lovely message- thank you!

  27. Hello...Beautiful blog with great photographs..Thanks a tom for visiting us :). See you around :)


  28. Lovely pics....thts a lovely and easy salad..looks delicious with all the vibrant colours, Beautiful clicks as well:)

  29. Hi
    U have a lovely space!! thx for visiting my blog and giving valuable comments..

  30. Crisp picture' refreshing salad...very appetizing.

  31. Suji, Sushma, Deeksha and Malar: Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave your delightful messages!

  32. lovely colours and amazing clicks ......great job dear...

  33. the garden salad looks absolutely refreshing. Just what we want as the temperature soar. I am lamenting the receding winter in Bahrain. The photos are just too beautiful Nash. The wooden cutting board is fabulous too.


A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi