Israeli salad is an incredibly simple combination that's deliciously fresh. It's an iconic tomato cucumber salad that you'll find everywhere in Israel from alongside breakfast to in your pitta with warm falafel. And one you need to try at home.
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I decided that for once, I would try to actually make and share some of the tasty dishes that we had on our trip soon after we got back. In fact as well as this Israeli salad (pareve), I have another recipe from our trip this week.
I admit my track record is a bit patchy - while I did manage to share asam laksa relatively soon after being in Malaysia, it took quite a while to share Danish smørrebrød (open sandwiches) after being in Denmark and baba ghanoush after our Greece/Cyprus trip.
One of the reasons I'm doing better this time is this salad is so easy but so worthy of sharing while there are lovely tomatoes coming through in our garden and at the farmers market. I've called it Israeli salad here, but it goes by other names with only slight variations across the region (like salad shirazi).
We enjoyed this salad a few times during our trip since, as I say, it's found alongside a number of dishes. One of the times that stands out the most for me, though, is the day we hired bikes in Tel Aviv.
My elder son has grown to love his bike since he got it last year and even more so now he can ride without training wheels. I decided while we were away to see if there was any way to hire bikes so that he could ride, and I managed to find a place that rented bikes including children's and trailers right next to Tel Aviv's main park.
Unfortunately he was a little too small for the smallest bikes they had so he ended up on a kind of third wheel extension behind my husband while I pulled the younger one in a trailer.
We rode through the park to the port where we enjoyed a well-deserved lunch. While it wasn't a huge distance (not that 15km/9miles round trip is nothing), being so warm and humid it felt like more, particularly pulling an extra load.
It meant I wasn't feeling like anything heavy and so I had what was technically a breakfast of a small herb omelette and savory pastry with a big bowl of Israeli salad. It was perfect.
How to make Israeli salad
- Dice the tomato, cucumber and pepper.
- Put all in a bowl and add the oil, lemon, salt and pepper.
- Toss everything together and serve.
The simple lemon olive oil dressing makes it so fresh and perfect for the heat. It's also ideal to make on a warm day as there is so little to prepare.
How to serve Israeli salad
As I mentioned, you'll find Israeli salad with many dishes in Israel. That can be anything from alongside breakfast as I had that day, to stuffed in a pitta bread with falafel or other fillings. Or enjoy it simply as a side to kebabs and other mains. It's incredibly versatile, and tasty, despite how simple it is. No wonder you find it everywhere.
As for us, well apparently the bike ride was one of my elder son's favorite parts of the trip so he has some good memories there. And I'll definitely be making this salad a few more times at home too. Give it a try and discover it's endless uses.
Try these other favorite dishes from our trip to Israel:
Plus here are some other tasty simple salads perfect for summer:
- Grilled chicken and blueberry salad
- Prosciutto salad with mozzarella and peach
- Grilled peach salad
- Laos salad (Luang Prabang salad)
- Plus get more summer recipes in the archives.
- 1 tomato
- ¼ English cucumber you can use smaller American cucumbers but will probably want to remove some or all of the seeds (use around ½)
- ¼ red pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt or to taste
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp sumac (optional, and to taste)
- Finely dice the tomato, cucumber and pepper removing any tough stems and pepper seeds.
- Put all of the vegetables in a bowl with the oil, lemon juice salt and pepper (along with sumac, if using)and toss. Serve immediately and keep any leftover a day or two in the fridge.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
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