The Perfect Summer Recipe: Israeli Salad

July 13, 2015Rabbi David N. Young

This simple, Israeli classic was taught to me in Israel by Gilad, the owner of Hess Cafe, which students at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion used to frequent for his delicious soups, fresh salads, and amazing shakshuka. He was a short, bald, sweaty man with the attitude of a stereotypical sabra (Israeli Jews born in Irsael). He was gruff and harsh, but such a sweet guy when you get to know him.

I have a difficult time writing out “recipes,” because that’s not how I cook, nor how I learned this dish. I learn by tasting, watching, and listening, so this is not a recipe, per se, but it should get you the feel of the dish. Don’t hold yourself to measurements and ratios. Taste as you cook, and add what you think it needs. (A caveat: whenever salting, add less than you think you need. You can’t take salt out of a dish!)

Israeli Salad


  • Tomatoes
  • Mini pickling cucumbers (about three per tomato)
  • Red onions
  • Fresh parsley, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the tomato, cucumber, and onion into about quarter-inch cubes. Toss lightly, then add the other ingredients, in order. Taste and adjust as necessary. That's it!

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