This is the most basic form of the Israeli salad recipe:
For the dressing:
Chop the vegetables into very small cubes.
Add olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt, mix.
From here on, the variations are endless.
There was a time when what you put in the salad was simply what was in season. Now everything is available the whole year round, from green houses and other countries.
Here's the salad I made this morning:
Dress it up with olive oil and lemon juice, add a bit of salt, and mix it well.
When Israel goes out to lunch, lots of people will opt for the "combine it yourself" salad bar. You stand in front of the fridge, and point out the ingredients you like.
Make up your own Israeli Salad Recipe:
Lettuce, baby-leaves, sprouts of whatever. Really, take what's fresh.
Eggplant, sweet potatoes and yam, cooked or fresh beetroot. Ingredients from this list are best cut into large cubes, because they are soft, and you don't want to turn them into mash.
Hardboiled egg, cold pasta (the short variety), canned tuna, grilled chicken breast, roast beef.
Feta cheese, mozzarella, or the Israeli "Safed cheese", or fried Greek Halumi cheese.
Grains and nuts
Try adding almonds to your salad, and sunflower seeds.
For the extra zest
Olives (with no stones!), minced garlic, hot red or green peppers, pesto sauce.
For the adventures – add a fruit!
Yes, I know tomatoes are technically a fruit, but try putting in your vegetable salad ONE fruit: Cubes of Apple or some dried cranberries, or grapes (the type with no stones in them).
Start with straight olive oil and work your way up:
Try adding Lemon juice and or Balsamic vinegar (not everybody likes it, though).
In the Israeli herb garden, you can find Zaatar, Mint (nana), Dill, Garlic, Parsley and Thyme, among other things.
Don't overdo it. Pick one or two and work with them.
Coriander – "Kusbara"
You love it or you hate it. In an Israeli restaurant, you will usually have a choice whether to add it or not.
Word of the wise: Do not add salt to the salad unless you intend to eat it yourself, and immediately.
Unsalted vegetables remain crispy and fresh for much longer!
Is the best.
Forget about table manners – when you reach the bottom, lift your bowl and drink up!
Now I've got to tell you something:
The Extra-finely chopped salad – the very basic recipe I've described in the beginning – we don't call it "Israeli Salad" in Israel.
We call it "Arab salad". That's what you'll see on the menu. It goes great with some Tahini on top :-)