Salads are commonly eaten as a side dish in Serbia. In the past, the type of salad that was eaten depended on the season. Turšija (pickled vegetables) was eaten, while fresh vegetables were more common in summer. These days it is not so strict, but the tradition has carried on. Tomatoes, peppers, onion and chilli peppers are the most common ingredients in mixed salads.
Srpska salata (Serbian Salad) consists of the above vegetables, as well as fresh cucumber, plus a dash or two of salt, pepper and oil. If grated white cheese is added, then it becomes a Šopska salata (Šop Salad). They are both very tasty, so you can’t go wrong!
Peppers are eaten fresh, but more commonly they are roasted. Pečena paprika (Roast Pepper) is a salad made from a long, pointed variety of pepper, roasted, with garlic, oil and vinegar.
Urnebes salata is recommended for those who love their food spicy. This salad is a paste made from cheese mixed with crushed chilli peppers.
In some restaurants, fresh, green, spicy chillies will already be on the table, or roasted with garlic in oil.
In the more cosy restaurants, you may be offered a salad called Hladna bašta (‘Cold Garden’ Salad). A whole tomato, pepper, peeled cucumber, spring onions and lots of ice cubes are placed in a large bowl. Accept it and then decide for yourself what and how much you will eat.
Ajvar is crushed peppers and aubergines – roasted, grounded, mixed, then fried in oil. It is served with oil and if you want garlic, it can be added.
Kiseli kupus (pickled cabbage/sauerkraut) is eaten mostly during winter. A whole pickled cabbage is chopped and served with oil and crushed peppers.
Turšija is a mixture of pickled gherkins, peppers, green tomatoes, cauliflower and carrot. This salad is most often served with a roast dinner.
Do not be surprised if you are offered a salad to eat with your aperitif – Serbian šljivovica (plum brandy). Sauerkraut goes well with a good rakija(brandy).
If you wish, you can also order salads made of fresh cabbage, cooked beetroot, lettuce, beans, French beans, celery or potato.