Between school and university, I spent the year in Israel with a group of like-minded people from Habonim-Dror. We were based on a kibbutz, and each of us was ‘adopted’ by a kibbutz family for the duration of our stay. It was a great way to feel welcomed and part of the community.
While we lived and worked on the kibbutz, all of our meals were eaten in the communal dining hall. All except one. On Sunday evenings there was no dinner service, and people ate at home with their families. So of course I would go and eat (and play, and chat, and just hang out) with my kibbutz family.
My kibbutz Dad would bake fresh bread every week – fluffy, delicious rolls, sometimes bagels and occasionally other types too. And there would also always be this chopped vegetable salad – an Israeli staple – which was present regardless of what other treats were on the table.
The chopped Israeli salad is wonderful in its simplicity – diced fresh, ripe vegetables, lightly dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and herbs. So delicious! You’ll find it everywhere in Israel – at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and alongside everything from pizza to hummus, shakshuka to shawarma. Try it in a pita with falafel, on top of your malawach, on a buffet with moroccan carrots, or even mixed with cottage cheese and chopped egg as a wonderful and filling breakfast.
I’ve seen Israeli salad recipes that include red onion, avocado, and even artichokes, but I still make it to my kibbutz Dad’s recipe. You can’t mess with the best!
I’ve given only rough quantities here – adjust according to your taste 🙂
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- 2-3 large ripe tomatoes
- 7-10cm piece cucumber, or 1-2 baby cucumbers
- 1 yellow pepper, stalk and seeds removed
- 1-2 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley or coriander (cilantro)
- Juice of half a lemon (or thereabouts)
- Glug of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 0.5-1 tsp zaatar
- Cut the tomatoes, cucumber and pepper into 8-10mm dice, and combine in a bowl.
- Add the parsley or coriander, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle over the zaatar.
- Serve and enjoy!
Also, since I posted this just in time for Yom Haatzmaut – Israel’s Independence Day – I’m adding it to the Food Year Link-up at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen.