An epicurean adventure to: Israel
This classic Jerusalem salad recipe, also known as Israeli salad, is a popular Middle Eastern salad that can be enjoyed in so many ways!
It mainly consists of finely chopped tomatoes, onion, cucumber and parsley, dressed with a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing. Serve it as part of any main summer meal, a light meal on its own or add it with falafel to pita bread. Delicious!
The beauty of this vibrant salad is its simplicity, taking barely any time to make and using the simplest of ingredients. There is something pure about it. It's uncomplicated, yet elegant. It's a staple in our house and always a crowd-pleaser at any event.
Jerusalem salad is an important part of Israeli cuisine, symbolising the plentiful harvests and the love for fresh, locally grown ingredients. It has gained popularity not only in Israel but also in many other countries.
This salad is also known as Persian salad, Salat Katzuz, Arabic salad or Shirazi salad. It's a staple in Middle Eastern food and enjoyed in many households, cafes and restaurants. However, with its global popularity, there are now many different versions of this recipe.
Crossing the continents with this, but it's beautiful served with South African Bobotie!
Fast facts - Israel
|Israel is located in the Middle East, bordered by Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, Egypt to the southwest and the Mediterranean Sea to the west.
|The official languages of Israel are Hebrew and Arabic.
|Circa 9.3 million people.
|The Dead Sea is the lowest point on land, situated between Israel and Jordan, around 1,410 feet (430 meters) below sea level. It attracts visitors worldwide due to its remarkable geography. With an extremely high salt concentration, about 10 times saltier than the average ocean, the Dead Sea allows people to effortlessly float on its surface.
What's to love about this recipe
- This seemingly simple salad is an all-rounder and is the perfect side dish for most savoury meals. It also makes a light, delicious lunch on its own.
- Takes no longer than 10 minutes to make.
- No complicated ingredients.
- It's pure, healthy and low-carb.
- This simple Israeli salad looks very appetising on a table and smells divinely fresh!
- Loved by most people, even kids!
- Vegan friendly.
Key ingredient notes and substitutions
**Please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the complete list of ingredients.
You can use any ripe tomatoes you like! We love using the sweeter, smaller varieties like cherry and Roma tomatoes. You can just chop them in half, so it's very little effort.
If you are using large tomatoes, consider removing the seedy parts to avoid adding too much moisture to the salad.
The perfect cucumbers to use are Lebanese or Persian cucumbers. They are smaller and sweeter than the ordinary cucumbers. Sometimes they are just labelled as 'baby cucumbers'. If you can't find them, the more widely available English cucumbers work perfectly fine.
We recommend that, like with the tomatoes, you remove the seedy part of the cucumber. It adds unnecessary moisture to the salad, plus, the centre can often be a bit sour.
You can also use white or brown onions. Shallots are great too and slightly less sharp.
Tonnes of fresh parsley! This is an integral part of this salad, so please don't skip it or replace it entirely with other herbs.
The dressing ingredients
You can use virgin or extra virgin olive oil.
The lemon juice should preferably be freshly squeezed. You can just tell when lemon juice comes from a bottle!
We like to add a teaspoon of honey to the dressing. It makes such a difference to balance all the sharp tomato and onion flavours.
We use ¼ teaspoon of salt and a good few grinds of black pepper, but you can adjust both of these seasonings to taste.
How to make Jerusalem salad
- Wash and dry the tomatoes and cucumber.
- Chop the tomatoes into small chunks.
- Slice the cucumber lengthways into quarters and remove the centre part of the cucumber containing the seeds. Chop into small chunks of roughly equal size to the tomatoes.
- Finely dice the onion.
- Mince the parsley. See how to mince parsley.
- In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and black pepper.
- In a large salad or large mixing bowl, toss together all the salad ingredients with the olive oil dressing. Check the seasoning and adjust according to taste.
- Apparently, it's a status symbol amongst the Kibbutz cooks to chop the veg into the 'finest, most even dice'. This salad really is at its best when everything is very finely chopped into small pieces, especially if you are going to use it inside a pita or wrap, or as a relish.
- Use fresh ingredients. Because the salad is so simple, every ingredient in it will shine and should therefore be as fresh as possible and of good quality.
- Don't skimp on the parsley!
- Add the dressing right before serving to avoid the salad getting soggy.
For a few different versions of this salad, consider adding:
- Add diced bell pepper.
- Add additional fresh herbs like mint.
- Swap the lemon juice for lime juice.
- Add tahini to the dressing.
- Add Za'atar seasoning or sumac.
- Add radishes, olives, finely shredded lettuce or other leafy greens (lettuce is not traditional though).
- To make it into a substantial meal, add meat like grilled chicken, fish, beef or Tofu.
What to serve the salad with
- Grilled meats like chicken, lamb or beef.
- Grilled fish and seafood dishes, or crispy fish goujons.
- Rice dishes, like this Nando's spicy rice.
- Use in a wrap or a sandwich.
- Works remarkably well as a relish to curries like this Nepalese curry, beef coconut curry, chicken karahi or this pasanda curry.
- Serve with Shawarma.
- Enjoy with pita sandwiches or as a side to falafels.
- Serve alongside hummus.
- Serve alongside couscous.
- Drizzle with lemon Tahini.
This salad is best enjoyed fresh on the same day it was made, but it will still keep until the next day if kept in an airtight container in the fridge.
The salad tastes best at room temperature, so remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
It's not entirely clear what exactly the origin of this salad is, but it's particularly popular in Israel and is a big part of Israeli cuisine, hence the reference. The term 'Israeli salad' is more commonly used outside of Israel.
This recipe serves four portions. One portion is 98 calories.
Israeli, or Jerusalem salad, mainly contains tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and parsley. Greek salad's main ingredients are Feta, olives and lettuce.
This salad will go well with...
- 250 millilitre diced tomatoes - 1 metric cup
- 250 millilitre diced cucumber - 1 metric cup
- 125 millilitre chopped red onion - ½ metric cup
- 250 millilitre chopped parsley - 1 metric cup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil - 30ml
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice - 15ml
- 1 teaspoon honey - 5ml
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- few good grinds of black pepper
- Wash and dry the tomatoes and cucumber. Chop the tomatoes into small chunks.250 millilitre diced tomatoes, 250 millilitre diced cucumber
- Slice the cucumber lengthways into quarters and remove the centre part of the cucumber containing the seeds. Chop into small chunks of equal size to the tomatoes.
- Finely dice the onion.125 millilitre chopped red onion
- Mince the parsley.250 millilitre chopped parsley
- In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and black pepper.2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon honey, ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste), few good grinds of black pepper
- In a large salad bowl, toss together all the salad ingredients with the salad dressing. Check the seasoning and adjust according to taste.
**Nutritional data disclaimer**
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is calculated by a third party and we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We try our best to give you the most accurate information, but we do not take responsibility for errors that may be present. Also, the nutritional value of the recipe may change depending on the exact brands and products used. We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalised advice on your dietary needs.