About the recipe
With the rise of celebrity chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi, it’s no wonder that home cooks are bringing new cuisines and flavors into their home kitchens, and an Israeli salad is a perfect place to start.
In essence, an Israeli salad is a chopped salad of fresh vegetables tossed with herbs in a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing. Some like to add spices like sumac or za’atar, and others add tahini to the mix. Essentially it’s a Mediterranean salad that doesn’t really have any rules. You can make what you like or toss together whatever you have in the fridge – it’s fantastic.
In this version, I’ve stuck to the basics. One herb, four easy to find vegetables and a three-ingredient dressing containing a game changer, za’atar.
What is Za’atar?
Za’atar, pronounced zah-tar, is a middle eastern spice blend. As such, different regions have their own formulations and therefore za’atar recipes can be wildly different. I bought a preblended mix containing, thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds. You can do the same, or try making your own.
Tips and tricks for making Israeli salad
This Israeli salad recipe is pretty straight forward.
When chopping the parsley, make sure your knife is sharp so that you cut the parsley rather than bruise it. Alternatively, some grocers (those that serve a more ethnic variety) may have chopped parsley for sale! Also, to speed up the process, you may choose to cut the vegetables into larger pieces.
As for the dressing, I have no tips here except one: if you are not serving the salad immediately after tossing do not combine it with the vegetables and parsley. If you are making the salad ahead by a couple of hours you can follow the recipe as is, layering the vegetables as a barrier between the dressing and parsley and stopping just before tossing everything together. Otherwise, if you’re making the salad to bring to a pot luck or picnic, make the dressing in a separate container and toss the salad before serving.
Perfect for spring, this Israeli salad is bright and bold paring diced fresh vegetables and parsley with an olive oil lemon juice dressing containing a special ingredient: za’atar.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
- 1 tsp. za’atar
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper
- 1 cup seeded and diced cucumber
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 2 cups chopped parsley
- Salt, to taste
In the bottom of a salad bowl whisk together all ingredients for the salad dressing: olive oil, lemon juice and za’atar.
Add salad ingredients: bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion and parsley.
Toss the salad to evenly coat everything, season with salt to taste and serve.
The recipe is written to be served immediately. You can make it in advance to ways:
- Whisk the dressing in the bottom of a salad bowl and then layer the vegetables on top adding the parsley last. This way there is a barrier between the parsley and the dressing, reducing the chances of it getting soggy.
- Mix the dressing in a separate container and add it to the salad when ready to serve.
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