Israeli Chopped 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. Even my 1 year old happily eats it, red onions and all.
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. Other add in all sorts of extras like diced bell peppers, red onion, fresh herbs, and spices like sumac or za’tar. Personally 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 a very 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 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 is rest on the counter for 15 minutes before adding it to the salad. This will help is stay crunchy.
Ways to mix up this Israeli Salad:
- 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, triple the serving size so you are getting plenty of yummy veggies.
- Bell peppers are amazing in this salad with their sweet crunch. Add a chopped red or yellow bell pepper to the mix for even more tasty crunch.
- Missing croutons? My cousin can’t eat a salad without some kind of crouton. Instead of reaching for a traditional crouton, break up some baked pita chips into smaller pieces and toss them into the salad.
- Want a thicker dressing? Consider adding 1-2 tablespoons of tahini or Greek yogurt to the dressing for a creamier salad. The tahini adds a delicious sesame flavor and the yogurt adds some tanginess.
Looking for things to serve with this yummy salad?
Here are some of the tools I used to help me prepare this dish.
- Add some spices: As I mentioned previously, adding sumac or za’tar to your salad can really kick it up a notch and make it a special dish. Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice that has a sour flavor. It can be strong, so add it sparingly to start. Za’tar is a spice blend that contains thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac. It’s herbal and delicious and is not only delicious in this salad but makes an amazing spice rub for grilled meats and veggies.
- Citrus juicer: I can’t live without my citrus juicer since we put lemon and lime on almost everything. I use this handheld version and its the first one that has held up for years after constant use.
- Glass Mixing Bowls with Lids: Since this salad will keep for 1-2 days in the fridge (longer without dressing), I always keep it in these Pyrex glass bowls with lids. I use them for everything and love that I can make and store the salad in the same dish.