The heat just keeps on coming! All any of us want right now is something refreshing to eat. Summer is the worst time for cooking but we still need to eat. So, this week I am sharing my version of Israeli Salad - the most refreshing and easy to whip up dish!
As an Israeli, it's kind of funny calling this salad "Israeli salad", we usually just call it salad. It’s a very common type of salad throughout all of the Middle Eastern countries and it changes accordingly. It's known around the world as "Israeli salad" although it has different names in different countries and its origins are probably Arab. In Israel, it is also known as "vegetable salad" or "chopped salad" in most coffee places and restaurants that serve it.
The base of the salad, which is common for all the variations of this recipe, is cucumbers and tomatoes. On top of this, some add onion, parsley, bell peppers in different colors, carrots, olives, feta cheese or radishes, etc. Anything you like can be added to this salad, and it will take it to a different level with flavors.
The dressing is very simple and include olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sometimes more spices like za'atar and sumac are being used too.
Israeli salad can be served with any meal of the day. In Israel we have it for breakfast with other salads, cheese, and omelets. Lunch as a side dish with some protein or for dinner that is similar to breakfast or lunch meal. You can also find this salad in a pita with falafel as street food or in nearly all of the coffee places for breakfast and in Arab restaurants too.
Since it’s so hot out and you probably don’t want to invest a lot of effort cooking, this salad is so simple to make and as I mentioned it goes with any type of meal. Some like to chop the vegetable for this salad into very small cubes, and others a bit bigger. It's up to you and you can also use a vegetable chopper or dicer.
In my family we usually don’t add much to the salad and keep it basic. As I mentioned several times on the blog, I don’t like raw onion, so I avoid adding it. My Israeli salad version is made with tomato, cucumber and peppers in different colors. I did want to add some extra freshness to the salad so I added a few chopped mint leaves too. Sometimes when I want the salad to be more filling and not just as a side dish, I add cooked quinoa or bulgur.
Cucumbers - it's important to use small cucumbers because they have less seeds that can cause a bitter taste. Persian cucumbers or small English cucumbers are recommended. The cucumbers remain unpeeled for this salad. The skin add more color and flavor and is very healthy too.
Tomatoes - summer is the season for fresh ripe tomatoes, it’s the best time to have them raw in a salad. You can also use cherry tomatoes if you have any.
Bell peppers - I like to use the green ones and for extra color and flavor I add orange or yellow one too. It really makes the salad pop with colors and look very appealing.
Mint leaves – what we call Nana in Hebrew, adds freshness and more flavor to the salad. You can add other herbs you like too like parsley, cilantro, dill, etc.
I hope you'll enjoy this yummy salad and upgrade it to your taste. You can make it for a summer BBQ gathering or for any other occasion or meal. The salad has the best flavor when it's fresh. It doesn’t last long once you cut the vegetables so I recommend you to make it last minute before the meal, it only takes a few minutes to chop and mix anyway.
For other salad recipes on my blog check out my salads index.
Here is the recipe for my yummy Israeli salad:
- 4 cucumbers
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- Few mint leaves or other herbs you prefer- optional
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- salt and pepper by your taste
- Cut the cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers into small cubes.
- Chop the mint leaves.
- Place all cut vegetables and the mint in a bowl.
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Mix well until all salad is coated with the dressing.
- Serve and enjoy!