The vegetables are usually diced and salted, followed by a light dressing of sunflower oil or olive oil, which are occasionally complemented by vinegar. The addition of vinegar contributes, however, to the sour flavour that the tomatoes impart. In restaurants, the dressings are provided separately. Lastly, the vegetables are covered in a thick layer of grated or diced sirene cheese. This salad is often consumed as an appetiser with rakia.
Though the salad's name comes from the region called Shopluk, in fact, it was invented in the 1960s as part of a tourist promotion. It is a product of early socialism in Bulgaria, the only survivor of five or six recipes. At the time, leading chefs from Balkanturist invented Dobrujan, Macedonian, Thracian and several other salads with similar names, which were associated with different ethnographical regions. It turns out that only the Shopska salad survived. It was approved as a national culinary symbol during the 1970s and 1980s. From Bulgaria the recipe spread to the kitchens of neighboring countries. Because the area of Shopluk is divided among Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia, chefs in Macedonia and Serbia began later to contest the Bulgarian origin of the salad. It is widespread also in Romania under the name Bulgarian salad. In 2014 Shopska salad turned out to be Bulgaria's most recognisable dish in Europe. It was the most popular recipe in a European Parliament initiative called A Taste of Europe.