Israeli salad, also known as Arab salad or "salat katzutz" in Hebrew, is a popular Middle Eastern salad that originated in Israel. It is a simple and refreshing salad made with finely diced fresh vegetables, typically tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and bell peppers. The vegetables are usually diced into small, uniform pieces to create a colorful and visually appealing dish. The salad is known for its simplicity and focus on fresh ingredients. It is a light and healthy option, packed with vitamins and minerals. Israeli salad has gained popularity worldwide due to its vibrant flavors, easy preparation, and versatility in accompanying various dishes.
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 can also be called "Arabic salad". The salad 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.
What is in israeli salad
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.
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.
How to make israeli salad
To make this yummy salad you need to dice the vegetables and mix with the dressing. 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.
Israeli salad dressing
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. The salad is naturally vegan which makes it easy to pair well with a variety of foods.
Popular options to serve with Israeli salad
This 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.
- Falafel: Israeli salad is commonly served alongside falafel, a deep-fried chickpea or fava bean patty. The freshness of the salad complements the flavorful and crispy falafel.
- Hummus: Israeli salad makes a great accompaniment to creamy and tangy hummus. It adds a refreshing crunch to the smooth texture of the hummus.
- Grilled meats: Israeli salad can be served as a side dish alongside grilled meats such as chicken, beef, or lamb. The light and refreshing flavors of the salad help balance out the richness of the meats.
- Pita bread: Israeli salad can be enjoyed wrapped in warm pita bread. It can be used as a filling along with falafel, grilled meats, or hummus for a satisfying and flavorful meal.
- Shakshuka: Israeli salad pairs well with shakshuka, a popular Middle Eastern dish made with eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. The fresh vegetables in the salad complement the rich flavors of the shakshuka.
- Grains or couscous: Israeli salad can be served over cooked grains such as quinoa, bulgur, or couscous to create a more substantial and nutritious meal.
- Grilled vegetables: Israeli salad can be served alongside grilled vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or bell peppers. The combination of fresh and grilled flavors creates a delicious contrast.
- Middle Eastern spreads and dips: Israeli salad can be enjoyed with a variety of Middle Eastern spreads and dips such as baba ganoush, tahini, or labneh. These creamy and flavorful accompaniments complement the crispness of the salad.
Tips to help you make a delicious Israeli salad
The key to a great Israeli salad is using fresh and ripe vegetables. Choose vibrant and firm tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and flavorful bell peppers. The freshness of the ingredients enhances the overall taste of the salad.
Try to chop the vegetables into small, uniform pieces. This not only creates a visually appealing dish but also ensures that you get a balanced mix of flavors in every bite.
Season the salad with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil to enhance the flavors. Adjust the seasoning to your taste preferences. You can also add a dash of dried herbs like oregano or a pinch of sumac for extra flavor.
Consider adding fresh mint leaves to your Israeli salad for a unique twist. The mint adds a refreshing and aromatic flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients. Chop the mint leaves finely and mix them in with the other vegetables.
Letting it marinate
If possible, allow the salad to sit for a little while before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and develop. However, if you prefer a crunchier texture, you can serve it immediately.
Israeli salad is best served chilled or at room temperature. Refrigerate it for some time before serving or let it sit at room temperature if you prefer a less chilled salad.
Variations and additions
Israeli salad is highly customizable. Feel free to add or substitute other ingredients based on your preference. You can include diced red onions, radishes, or even add crumbled feta cheese or olives for extra flavor.
The traditional ingredients in Israeli salad include tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and bell peppers. These vegetables are typically finely diced and mixed together.
Yes, Israeli salad is highly customizable. You can add ingredients like radishes, red onions, parsley or olives to personalize the salad according to your taste preferences.
Yes, the basic ingredients of Israeli salad are vegan-friendly. However, if you choose to add cheese or yogurt-based dressings, it may no longer be vegan.
Israeli salad is best when served fresh, as the vegetables retain their crispness and flavors. However, you can prepare the ingredients in advance and mix them together just before serving to maintain the salad's freshness. I think that the salad has the best flavor when it's fresh. I recommend you to make it last minute before the meal, it only takes a few minutes to chop and mix anyway.
The traditional dressing for Israeli salad includes olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. However, you can also use other dressings like balsamic vinegar, tahini sauce, or a simple vinaigrette.
If you have leftovers, store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It is best consumed within a day or two to maintain its freshness.
Israeli salad is typically served chilled or at room temperature, as it is meant to be a refreshing dish. However, you can serve it slightly warm if you prefer.
There are various regional and personal variations of Israeli salad. Some versions include chopped herbs like parsley or mint, while others incorporate additional ingredients such as avocado, corn, or feta cheese.
Yes, Israeli salad is naturally gluten-free as it consists of fresh vegetables and seasonings. Just ensure that any additional ingredients or dressings you use are also gluten-free.
Yes, Israeli salad is generally considered a low-calorie dish. It is primarily made up of fresh vegetables, which are low in calories and rich in nutrients.
More salad recipes you should try:
For all my salad recipes on my blog check out my salads index.
Make Israeli Salad Today!
Discover the vibrant and refreshing flavors of Israeli salad with a quick and easy recipe for this popular Middle Eastern dish. With its combination of finely diced vegetables, this salad offers a burst of freshness in every bite. Seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, and a touch of mint, this versatile salad is perfect as a side dish or a topping for falafel, hummus, or grilled meats. Embrace the simplicity and healthiness of Israeli cuisine by preparing this delicious salad that will leave your taste buds craving more.
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.
- 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!