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Bring this fresh, colorful, and beloved national dish to life in your own home with our Israeli salad recipe, and wow family and dinner guests with this simple vegetable salad that is packed with crunch, zest, and abundant flavor.
Israeli Salad Recipe
An iconic dish that exists in a huge array of variations throughout Levant and the Middle East, our Israeli salad recipe brings together some of nature’s freshest herbs and vegetables and binds them in a dressing of delicate sweetness, pepperiness, and zest.
What is Authentic Israeli Salad?
Known as salat katzutz (chopped salad), salat yarkot (vegetable salad), and salat aravi (Arab salad) in Israel, Israeli salad, its common name outside of the country, is a salad of finely diced vegetables with a lemon and/or olive oil dressing.
Raw onion, tomato, cucumber, and either bell or chili pepper, are staple ingredients of this salad, along with the addition of other vegetables (see variations), finished with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, or a combination of both.
Finely dicing the vegetables is very important: so much so, it is used as an indicator of quality by kibbutz chefs and cooks throughout the country.
Many similar-style salads can be found throughout Levant, East Mediterranean, Asian, and Arab countries, including the Persian salad Shirazi, the Egyptian salad Baladi, and the Indian kachumber, among many others.
Additional Ingredients: Other finely diced vegetables and herbs that can be added to the salad include scallion, carrot, radish, parsley, mint, and greens such as cabbage; though the use of lettuce is not considered a traditional Israeli salad, and the inclusion of some of these ingredients may also not be considered traditional.
Cucumber: Traditionally, the cucumber is diced with the skin on. Authentic versions of the salad use a type of cucumber first cultivated by the Kibbutz Beit Alfa in Israel.
Vinegar: In Central Asia, Bukharan Jews substitute vinegar for lemon juice for the dressing, with no olive oil.
Breakfast dressing: Traditionally, Israeli salad was served at breakfast, and today, Za’atar, a spice mixture, and yogurt are a popular dressing to eat with the salad in the morning.
Other dressing: If the salad is being eaten after breakfast, for lunch, dinner, or other times of the day, tahini and sumac is a popular go-to dressing.
Bread: To keep things authentic, serve this crisp and refreshing salad with some fresh pita bread. If you can’t find pita, any type of bread you can get is great to use with this salad.
Stuffed Pita: Bring the magic of a beloved Israeli combination into your own home by stuffing the salad inside a pita bread, along with falafel for a vegetation option, or thinly sliced meat (shawarma in the Middle East) for a dish that is filling, hearty, and packed with flavor.
To make our Israeli salad recipe, first assemble the following ingredients:
- Cucumber – 2 Middle Eastern/Persian cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber
- Tomato – 3 medium tomatoes
- Bell Pepper – 1/2 green bell pepper
- Onion – 1/2 small red onion
- Parsley – handful (2 tbsp when minced) fresh parsley
- Olive Oil – 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Lemon Juice – 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
- Salt – 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- Pepper – 1/2 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
Step 1 – Finely dice all the ingredients (cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and parsley), as shown in the ingredients photo above.
Step 2 – Mix all the diced ingredients, and add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Step 3 – Optionally, refrigerate the salad for 15 minutes. Then, taste the salad and add any additional salt, pepper, olive oil, or lemon juice you would like, based on your preferences.
This salad brings a little of everything to the table. It’s juicy and crunchy, zesty and herby, delicately sweet and perfectly sour, all at once.
As you can see from the serving suggestions, it is also incredibly diverse. Traditionally a breakfast dish, Israelis from all walks of life now eat this salad at all times of day, in a number of different ways.
If you need a refreshing, flavorful salad to feed family and friends that doesn’t take too much time to prepare, give this salad a try.
Israeli Salad Recipe Card
- 2 Middle Eastern/Persian cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1/2 small red onion
- handful parsley (2 tbsp when minced)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
- Finely dice all the ingredients (cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and parsley), as shown in the ingredients photo below.
- Mix all the diced ingredients, and add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper.
- Optionally, refrigerate for 15 minutes to let the flavors combine. Then, taste the salad and add any additional salt, pepper, olive oil, or lemon juice you would like, based on your preferences.
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- 15 Foods You Need to Try in Israel
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