Chopped Israeli salad isn’t quite what you might assume. It doesn’t have lettuce or carrots. It’s not even eaten when you’d expect. Israeli salad isn’t for lunch or dinner. Instead people eat it for breakfast with eggs, hummus, pita bread, fish, and olives. Not being much of a standard American breakfast person, I approve!
Of course, all of those things make a great lunch too, especially on a hot day when you don’t want to get anywhere near a stove or an oven. I adapted this recipe from a comment on Tori Avery’s web site.
She had a recipe for Israeli salad, and a commenter, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, pointed out that there’s a Persian version called “salad e-shirazi.”
She said it calls for red onion and parsley (neither of which I had). However, I did decide to follow her suggestion and use lime juice instead of lemon juice and add mint.
Make sure to use either Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers (rather than the standard kind). The Persian (or mini) cucumbers are shorter and thinner than standard cucumbers and usually sold in sealed packages. The English (or hothouse) cucumbers are the long, skinny ones individually wrapped in plastic wrap.
They’re easier to cut up and you don’t have to peel them! Also, the standard cukes tend to be more bitter.
I cut everything up, mixed it together, and left it out on the counter for a couple of hours (there’s nothing to spoil quickly) so that the flavors would blend. Also, if you put tomatoes in the fridge, they start to lose their flavor.
You can serve this salad with the pita and etc. I mentioned above for a light meal or as a side dish with a sandwich or some eggs. You can make plain scrambled eggs, a frittata, or keep the Persian theme going and serve it with Persian eggs. I added about 1/4 C of eggplant I had left over (recipe here and it’s even for one person).
There’s no picture of the eggs because I was hungry and started eating before I remembered to take one!
Chopped Israeli Salad for One
A versatile salad that works for breakfast, as a side dish with a sandwich, or with pita, feta, and olives for lunch.
1/3 C Persian cucumber (about half a cucumber)
1/3 C tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes, you can use beefsteak)
1 tsp onion, diced
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lime juice
salt and pepper
sprig of fresh mint (mix a few leaves in the salad, use the rest for garnish)
Cut the cucumber and tomatoes into small chunks. The smaller the better. I cut the cucumber in half, then cut the half lengthwise, then gradually smaller dice. Do the tomatoes the same way.
Dice the onion.
Add the vegetables to a small bowl.
Add the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper and mint.
Toss to mix thoroughly.
You can eat this right away, but it's better to let it sit for an hour or two to let the flavors blend.
Substitutions and Variations for Chopped Israeli Salad
- Try the full standard Persian version, “salad-e-shirazi,” which is made with seeded cukes and tomatoes, red onion, parsley, mint, salt, pepper, lemon juice (or lime juice) and a bit of olive oil.
- Make it more filing with some crumbled feta cheese.
- Add some red bell pepper (or try orange or yellow for more color), cut into tiny pieces
- Chop some radishes and add them to the salad
- The Book of Jewish Food has a variation popular with Baghdadi Jews in India: add grated ginger and some chopped chili peppers.
Ingredients and Tools for Chopped Israeli Salad
Oxo Lemon/Lime Reamer
You can squeeze the lime with your hands, but it’s a bit messy. It’s much easier (and neater) to use a reamer instead. And since it’s made by Oxo, it’s comfortable to use. Tip: Leave the fruit out to get to room temperature (or zap it in the microwave for 5 seconds). It will juice more easily.
Oxo Salad Chopper (mezzaluna) and bowl
You can use a sharp knife to cut up your salad, but it’s even easier with a salad chopper. The double blades chop the salad, veggies, cheese, etc into tiny little pieces. And it takes a lot less effort. Just rock your hand back and forth.
More One Person Salad Recipes
Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Toss together your favorite greens and veggies, add hard boiled egg and leftover chicken, and you’ve got a new twist on the old chef salad.
Blueberry Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese and Walnuts
The perfect summer meal when it’s too hot to cook, this recipe is packed with sweet blueberries, salty/tangy feta, and crunchy walnuts.
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese
Don’t have blueberries? Or want a change? Try this spinach and strawberry salad. Sweet, tangy, and fruity. No cooking required.
Leftover Roast Lamb Eggplant and Spinach Salad
If you didn’t quite eat all your lamb breast, use the leftovers for this salad. Rich lamb, creamy soft eggplant, and earthy spinach work beautifully together for a festival of flavors.