This Israeli Chopped Salad is packed with tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs, and a delicious lemon dressing for a healthy, refreshing side dish.
56 CAL 6g CARBS 3g FAT 1g PROTEIN 3
Israeli Chopped Salad Recipe
Israeli Salad is one of those dishes that I make on repeat all year long. I love all the crunchy veggies and the fact that it will last in the fridge for a couple of days. Plus it’s a salad that everyone in my family will eat without complaint, that’s a big win around here.
Normally we like to serve this alongside some delicious Chicken Shawarma, Kofta, or Mediterranean Meatballs. However, it will taste good with almost anything, Mediterranean-inspired or not. We love it with grilled chicken, fish, lamb, steak, or these vegetarian shawarma bowls.
On to the salad! Now when it comes to Israeli salads there are lots of opinions on exactly what should and shouldn’t be added. Some people are purists and believe it should only have the basics – cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Others add in all sorts of extras like diced bell peppers, red onion, fresh herbs, and spices like sumac or za’atar. I fall somewhere in between and can’t help but add some red onion, fresh mint, and fresh dill. So good.
When it comes to Israeli salad, the cucumber you choose really makes a difference. Ideally, you want to use Persian cucumbers, which have thin edible skin and are almost seedless. They add the most crunch and hold up the best in my opinion. A close second option is the English cucumbers or Hothouse cucumber, which also works great in this salad.
If you can’t find either of these cucumbers, you can opt for a regular cucumber but make sure to take these steps first. First, you will want to peel the cucumber since the skin is generally thick and waxy. Then scoop out the seeds since they add too much moisture to the salad. Lastly, if your cucumber is extremely moist, sprinkle it with salt and let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes before adding it to the salad. This will help it stay crunchy.
How to Make Israeli Salad
Israeli salad is one of those recipes that everyone makes but each family has their own specific preparation. It can be served as a salad, a side dish, or a condiment and can be traced back to Turkish, Palestinian, and Persian roots.
Each country makes its own variation but every good Israeli Salad has the following ingredients:
- Cucumbers: Persian cucumbers are the best option with tons of crunch and a thin, edible skin. English cucumbers are the next best option. If you only have standard cucumbers, make sure to remove the skin of scoop out the seeds.
- Tomatoes: Cherry or grape tomatoes are traditionally used since they don’t release as much liquid and juice into the salad. Roma tomatoes also work well. For larger tomatoes, you may want to scoop out the seeds and flesh, especially if prepping in advance.
- Red Onion: Red onions are a touch sweeter than yellow or white onions so I prefer them when served raw. Soak them in ice-cold water for 10-15 minutes to remove some of the bite. Or swap in green onions for a milder flavor.
- Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice is a must in Israeli salad. Since the dressing is so simple, it’s really important to use fresh lemons for the best flavor.
- Fresh herbs: Fresh parsley is usually added to this salad. I also like adding fresh mint and fresh fill for even more herby flavor.
- Olive oil: Choose a high-quality extra virgin olive oil that has a really good flavor since the dressing is so simple.
- Salt and pepper: This salad needs a lot of kosher salt (or sea salt) and freshly cracked black pepper since it is so simple. If it tastes bland at all, add some extra salt.
Spices like sumac and za’atar are sometimes added and some people like to add a crunchy red pepper. I have even seen variations with chopped dill pickles. Delicious, by the way.
To make Israeli salad, start by prepping all the vegetables. If you are serving it as a condiment or to be stuffed into pita bread with falafel or chicken gyros, make sure to dice everything small. For a side dish, the vegetables can be chopped larger.
Add everything to a large bowl. Then liberally toss the veggies with good quality olive oil, lots of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. That’s it!
Recipe Ideas for Israeli Salad
There are so many ways to customize this salad for your personal preferences or to better match your main dish.
- Add feta cheese: Everything is better with feta cheese so why not add some to this salad? I usually reach for 1/2-1 cup of reduced-fat feta cheese since it is lower in calories but full fat works great as well.
- Looking for protein? Add a can of drained chickpeas or some leftover grilled chicken. To make it a meal, double the serving size so you are getting plenty of yummy veggies.
- Add crunch: Bell peppers are amazing in this salad with their sweet crunch. Add a chopped red or yellow bell pepper to the mix for an even more tasty crunch.
- Missing croutons: My cousin can’t eat a salad without some kind of croutons. Instead of reaching for a traditional crouton, break up some baked pita chips into smaller pieces and toss them into the salad.
- Creamy dressing: Consider adding 1-2 tablespoons of tahini, hummus, or Greek yogurt to the dressing for a creamier salad. The tahini adds a delicious sesame flavor and the yogurt adds some tanginess.
- Add grains: To make a heartier salad, add cooked couscous or barley. The barley makes it feel like a tabbouleh mash-up, which I love.
Technically speaking, Israeli salad will last up to 4-5 days in the fridge but it is best eaten within 1-2 days. After too much time, the vegetables start to get soggy and break down.
If you know you will need it to last longer, store the dressing separately and dress the salad right before serving. For extra freshness, store the chopped vegetables with a paper towel or tea towel to absorb any extra moisture.
What to Serve with Israeli Salad
This salad works with so many different dishes, these are some of our favorites.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making this chopped salad.
Israeli salad and Jerusalem salad are two names for the same traditional salad from Israel made with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and fresh herbs. It is normally dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice.