Recipes: Israel’s Summer Salads

From the desk of Jean Graubart, Director of Jewish Living and Learning

As we head into early summer, the idea of turning on an oven (or even a stove top, for that matter) is almost unthinkable. Besides ice cream in every form, size and shape, salads are the only food that make sense. So I have leafed through my many recipes, especially those I have enjoyed at friend’s and family’s homes here and in Israel, and I am picturing the wonderful Asian produce stores I frequent when in San Francisco. The combination of the vivid colors and the tastes from so many memories are inspiring me to shop for and cook a whole meal of salads.

All I need is for my power to come back on to keep my vegetables chilled and my house cool, so that when I put the salads on the bright summer table with fresh flowers and colorful dishes, they will stay crisp and tasty. Right now they would droop and sag, but I can dream.

Trips to Israel are filled with delicious salad dishes. Enjoy these and taste the flavors of the middle east, knowing they are being enjoyed at tables all across Israel. There is a repeat of many of the vegetables in each dish, making shopping easy and flavors blending.

Serve with grilled meat or fish or as a meal itself, and don’t forget the pita.

B’teyavon!

Moroccan Carrot Salad

1 pound bag of whole carrots (organic are just so much sweeter), peeled and cut into thick round circles
1 bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
Cumin to taste
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
2 cloves garlic minced

Blanch the carrots for 3 minutes in boiling water
Drain in cold water
Mix in oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices
Add finely chopped parsley
Mix and chill before serving

Mixed Veggie  Salad

1 large hothouse cucumber or 4 Persian cucumbers
4 large ripe tomatoes on the vine or 6 roma tomatoes
4 scallions (green onions)
Handful of red radishes or large daikon radish (white and spicier)
2 avocados, firm and ripe
2 bell peppers (use different colors, green, red, yellow or orange)
4 medium dill pickles
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
4 tablespoons fresh mint chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste.

Dice all the vegetables into small pieces and put in bowl with greens of choice (mint, parsley, cilantro) and Toss together
Add oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss.
Chill and serve

Tunisian Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil

2 small baskets of cherry tomatoes cut in half
10 chopped basil leaves
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of roasted shelled pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoon shelled and roasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons roasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil

Place tomatoes in bowl
Warm oil in a frying pay and add seeds and nuts to brown
Add garlic
Mix with tomatoes and add salt and chopped basil
Chill

Green Salad

1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch cilantro
10 leaves basil
10 mint leaves
4 green onions, white and green parts
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 ½ lemons
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup roasted cashews chopped

Roughly chop the greens
Place in a bowl and season
Add cashews when serving

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Recipe: Five Israeli Salads

By Jean Graubart
Director, Leo & Anna Smilow Center for Jewish Living and Learning

(c) PBS

Thinking about the beautiful days we are having and the joy of being surrounded by friends, eating and laughing and talking and crying… all that is missing is good food.

When the weather begins to warm up, I picture salads of all kinds and colors and tastes.  Perhaps more than any other food, salads are the typical Israeli dish.  The evening meal is often a variety of salads consisting of many vegetables, grains and fruits.

I remember my days on Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra and Kibbutz Hanaton, working in the communal kitchens there, where I would find freshly picked vegetables and be told, “create a salad.”

The most typical salad – and an accompaniment for most all meals – is the Israeli Salad.  We made bowls of it for breakfast, lunch and supper for the hungry kibbutzniks who piled their plates with this salad.

Little dishes of many tastes is very middle eastern.  It is fun to create various salads, many tastes and highlight the wonderful produce that is part of this season.

There are few other sights in Israel or the world that can compete with the color and clamor of their fruit and vegetable markets.  The produce tastes as good as it looks!

ISRAELI SALAD
3 to 4 cucumbers (the Persian are the best, sweet as sugar and delicious whole or in this salad)
3 firm ripe tomatoes  (grape tomatoes make slicing easy, cut in 1/4s)
3 to 4  peppers (mix yellow, orange, red, green)
6 scallions sliced thinly
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped

Cut all vegetable into small pieces or cubes Add 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper.
Taste and add whatever your palate calls for

Tehina dressing can also be used:
2 teaspoons tehina paste (available in most markets) Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup cold water
Salt, pepper and paprika.
Mix well and pour over vegetables.

ZA’ELUK SALAD
3 red peppers
3 green peppers

Char peppers on the grill until the skin is black
Remove from the fire and peel
Cut the peppers into strips
Add 3 tablespoons oil, 3 garlic cloves crushed, salt, pepper and juice of 1 lemon

Great on the side of fish, chicken or with other salads!

BEET SALAD
4 to 6 beets (any color) roasted on a cookie sheet (rub with olive oil) Bake in 400 degree oven for about an hour Cool and slice or dice
1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 to 1 cup vinegar (Balsamic is perfect)
2 small onions (red or white) sliced thinly into rounds
finely chopped parsley or cilantro

Mix and chill.

SMOKED EGGPLANT SALAD
2 small firm eggplants
1/2 cup grated onion
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup tehina
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Grill or broil eggplants 15 minutes turning for even cooking
Test for tenderness and then let the eggplants rest on grill or in the oven
Peel the skin and discard the liquid
Chop the eggplant by hand (not in the processor) so small pieces are formed
Mix the eggplant with all other ingredients
Refrigerate and enjoy with crackers or pita

And what salad table in Israel would be complete without hummus? Make your own easily!

HUMMUS
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans drained
1/3 cup tehini
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers from a jar salt and pepper

In a processor, drop in garlic and mince, add chickpeas, tehina and lemon juice
Process until mixture is smooth
Add roasted pepper and process until finely chopped
Season with salt and pepper
Transfer to bowl and pour olive oil in a swirl on top
Sprinkle sumac or zahtar to taste

Enjoy these tastes from Israel and surprise family and friends with a table full of healthy and fresh salads to accompany any other foods or as a meal itself.

Summertime means salads!  Start early mastering your favorites!

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