Bulgarian kitchen is full of salads and we eat a lot of them. It's typical for some Bulgarians to eat just a large salad for lunch or dinner. There are some light salads, but some are very rich and can replace a full course of dishes. One of the reasons to eat so many salads here is that we have good vegetables. Another reason is drinking rakia :D Rakia goes best with a salad.
Here you'll find info on some of the most popular salads based on the season and with links to recipes.
They mostly contain vegetables although we have many salads where the primary ingredient is eggs and/or meat.
Green salad. Early spring this is the most popular salad eaten here. It's made with lettuce, green onion and/or garlic, radishes, and sometimes cucumbers. Typically the green salad shouldn't contain tomatoes although some put cherry tomatoes in it. Here is a typical recipe. Often boiled eggs are added to the salad.
A popular variation is the green salad with tuna which is essentially the same except that you add some tuna.
Less typical but still spring-only salad is the spinach salad. Here is one recipe (not strictly Bulgarian)
Summer is very rich on vegetables so this is the time when most salads are eaten. Here are the most popular:
Shopska salad. When you go to a restaurant with Bulgarians they'll certainly offer you to try the Shopska salad. It's with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and cheese. Tasty if you eat all of the ingredients. Sometimes it can contain hot pepper. Here's one good recipe.
Snezhanka is made with yogurt and cucumbers. Here's a good recipe.
Shepherd's salad (Ovcharska salata) is similar to shopska but not the same thing. This recipe is a good example showing the difference.
Potato salad is available in all seasons. Let's call it summer salad because summer is the time when potatoes are gathered. A typical recipe is available here. You can also make potato salad with smoked fish. This is a typical example of salad that can replace the main course.
Autumn and Winter Salads
I put fall and winter together because most of the vegetables coming in fall are also available in winter. We enjoy plenty of peppers, onions, garlic, leeks, turnips, beet, cabbage, and more.
Baked peppers salad vary a lot but always contain peppers, baked and peeled. Usually these salads also contain garlic and vinegar. You don't need a specific recipe to make it, just follow your intuition.
Cabbage and carrots is a typical all seasons salad. It's great choice for the winter when less other vegetables are available. It's also usually the cheapest salad in restaurants. Here's a Greek recipe which is the same as the salad we eat here.
Beans salad is made with beans, olives and onions. Very easy to make, all-seasons good, but especially good option for the fall and winter. This recipe has no olives.
Turnips and carrots salad is great in the winter. It's also often used to garnish meat or other food. Here's a recipe. The ingredients should be finely chopped.
Salads with beets. There are various salads with beets. One of the popular ones is the Martenitsa in which beets is finely chopped with white radish. Other versions include beets with mayonnaise and so on.
Bulgarian chutney / Lutenitsa is not exactly a salad but goes well as garnish to meat or other food, and on bread slices. Lutenitsa is very popular here and many Bulgarian familias prepare it themselves in late Summer when the red peppers are ready for gathering. Learn more here.
Pickles. Bulgarians eat a lot of pickles in the winter. Sauerkraut, pickles of cucumbers, turshia and so on. They usually contain a lot of salt, but otherwise are very useful food and very tasty.
This is not at all a full list of salads in Bulgaria. We have hundreds of varieties. Want to share a specific recipe? Go on, use the comments.
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