Israeli Salad with Variations

Israeli salad is traditionally Middle Eastern and recipes vary by region, but, that said, the basic ingredients are cucumber, onion, tomato, fresh mint and fresh parsley with a dressing of fresh lemon juice and olive oil.

Working with that, the measurements are one of those ambiguous things. The consistency of the salad works best when you add the ingredients in proportions that you like. I use:

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 English cucumbers, washed, ends trimmed and skin on, diced
  • 4 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and flesh diced
  • 1 handful of fresh mint leaves, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 handful parsley, washed and finely chopped (traditional parsley is best, but flat Italian parsley is fine too.
  • The dressing consists of the juice of 1 to 2 lemons and an equal amount of olive oil, whisked together with salt and pepper.

This serves 6-8 as a side dish; 3-4 as a main dish with grilled chicken on top.

That’s the basic ingredients. Now comes the fun part. You can add diced yellow or red peppers, slaw mix, diced serrano peppers, seeded, or even garlic. Instead of mint and/or parsley you can also use fresh basil (which is what I used tonight, right out of my garden). If you need to increase the dressing, just keep the proportion of lemon juice to oil equal. If you feel it’s too tart, you can add 1/4 tsp. of sugar to balance the tartness.

And, an even more exciting addition could be some quinoa, barley, faro, or pearl couscous to add texture and flavor and turn it into a tabbouli. Use your imagination and experiment with the ingredients for a fresh, tasty side dish.

This is a great, refreshing summer salad. It can stand on it’s own, but it’s also wonderful on an appetizer platter with some hummus and/or baba ganoush and pita bread on the side. It can also be used as a base for grilled chicken. Take some to your next pot luck or bbq and watch it disappear!!



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