Light & Fresh Israeli Salad
The Israeli salad is the quintessential side dish of Israeli eating. It’s practically their national dish! It’s fresh, light, and vibrant, and served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! To make it, combine chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and parsley with olive oil, lemon juice, and Kosher salt. Sometimes we like to add a couple pinches of Za’atar, but the classic will always be our favorite!
Other reasons to love it:
- It’s healthy! Low calorie, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan, Whole30!
- Affordable! This is a budget-friendly meal, everything is inexpensive, making it affordable to feed your family and friends with food you can really feel good about.
- Versatile! While we love the classic, it is easy to adapt to whatever you’ve got on hand. Add fresh dill or mint! Use any onion you’ve got on hand!
- Simple! There are just 7 ingredients needed to make this salad, and we often have them all on hand. Can’t beat that for a quick weeknight side dish!
It’s a celebration of local, seasonal ingredients, and seems to pair well with everything. You’ll love adding this simple, healthy salad to your table time and time again!
Ingredients For Israeli Salad
- Persian (or mini) cucumbers
- Red onion
- Kosher salt
- Lemon juice
- Extra virgin olive oil
Sometimes we’ll add Za’atar, depending on what else we’re serving the salad with, but it is by no means necessary! My absolute favorite way to enjoy this salad recipe? With a super generous drizzle of tahini (sesame paste).
How To Make Israeli Salad
Making Israeli salad could not be any simpler. The bulk of time required is in the prep work, but hey – it’s a great chance to work on your knife skills!
- Finely chop the ingredients. The key to Israeli salad is making sure everything is finely chopped. Dice the tomatoes and cucumbers, mince the red onion, and finely chop fresh parsley.
- Drain the tomatoes and cucumbers. While you’re prepping, place the chopped tomatoes and cucumbers in a large strainer in the sink (or over another large bowl). The vegetables will let off a lot of water. Straining them for 10-15 minutes first will prevent the Israeli salad from being watered down.
- Combine, then season and toss. Place 2 ½ cups tomatoes, 2 cups cucumbers, 1 cup red onion, and ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lemon on top, then add ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tsp Kosher salt, and ½ tsp Za’atar, if using. Toss to combine, then serve immediately, sprinkled with a pinch of flaky sea salt or (my favorite!!) a generous drizzle of tahini.
What To Serve With Israeli Salad
Literally anything! This light cucumber and tomato salad is served at all meal times in Israel — breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We love to pair this with grilled meats, such as kebab skewers, grilled chicken, even lamb burgers! Here are a few other dishes to serve alongside Israeli salad:
- Fish: grilled, roasted, baked, steamed — you name it, it’ll be delicious with Israeli salad!
- Kebabs of any variety! Sometimes we even serve it with meatballs (my kids’ fav!).
- Falafel, hummus, and tahini – literally the best! Pile them high in fluffy pita bread and you’ll be in heaven!
- Any savory breakfast foods: omelettes, scrambled eggs, or fried eggs; avocado toast; tomato toast; creamy grits or polenta; bagels and lox
Really, you could serve this next to any Middle Eastern, Greek, or North African foods and find it works flawlessly. It’s also just a really easy salad to prepare and serve at a cookout. There’s always someone who appreciate a light, fresh salad!
Tips For The Best Israeli Salad
- Strain the tomatoes and cucumbers. To prevent the salad from being too liquidy or watered down, strain the cucumbers and tomatoes for about 10-15 minutes before tossing the remaining ingredients.
- Finely chop everything! While there are many cucumber and tomato salad recipes, one thing that is an absolute must for Israeli salad is that each ingredient is very finely chopped.
- Best enjoyed fresh! Everyone loves to prep things ahead of time, but the truth is this Israeli salad is best fresh. The tomatoes will become watered down and soggy if they sit for too long. We like to make this about an hour before we eat, then let it hang out in the fridge before serving. Can be enjoyed cold or at room temperature!
History and Origins
There are so many names for this salad, but what’s interesting is that it’s only really referred to as Israeli salad outside of Israel. There, it is simply a chopped salad. You may have also heard it referred to as Israeli vegetable salad, Arab salad, or Turkish salad. It was popularized on kibbutzim, but like Israel (built upon a variety of immigrants), has many forms. There are endless variations, but today we are sharing the version we are most familiar with and grew up enjoying.
This salad holds such a special place in our hearts. It reminds us of large synagogue gatherings, oneg Shabbat, and well, any get together involving hummus and falafel. If you make this Israeli Salad recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below! It is going to become a staple in your home, we just know it!
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For more light recipes, check out the following:
- Greek salad
- Couscous salad with tarragon roasted shrimp
- Mozzarella caprese gazpacho
- Tomato and onion salad
- Watermelon feta salad
- Avocado tomato salad
- 2 ½ cups tomatoes diced, about 3 large
- 2 cups Persian cucumbers diced, about 3-4 mini cucumbers
- 1 cup minced red onion
- ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 lemon juiced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp Za'atar optional
- Flaky sea salt for serving
- Tahini optional, for serving
- Drain the tomatoes and cucumbers. While you're prepping, place the chopped tomatoes and cucumbers in a large strainer in the sink (or over another large bowl). The vegetables will let off a lot of water. Strain them for 10-15 minutes to prevent the salad from being watered down.
- Combine, then season and toss. Place 2 ½ cups tomatoes, 2 cups cucumbers, 1 cup red onion, and ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lemon on top, then add ¼ cup olive oil, and 1 tsp Kosher salt. (Add ½ tsp Za'atar, if using.) Toss to combine, then serve immediately, sprinkled with a pinch of flaky sea salt or (my favorite!!) a generous drizzle of tahini.
- Israeli salad is best fresh. The tomatoes will become watered down and soggy if they sit for too long. We like to make this about an hour before we eat, then let it hang out in the fridge before serving. Can be enjoyed cold or at room temperature!