This colourful and refreshing summer salad is very popular in Israel, where it is often eaten for breakfast, but it can be enjoyed at any time of the day. This salad lends itself to endless variety: add olives, diced potatoes or beetroot, omit the chilli, vary the herbs or use lime or lemon in place of the vinegar. You can try to use sumac and cinnamon to heighten the flavours. It is interesting that what is known in New York delis as “Israeli salad” is actually “Palestinian rural salad”. Popularized in Israel by the kibbutzim, variations on the basic recipe have been made by the different Jewish communities to immigrate to the country. For example, Jews from India prepare it with the addition of finely chopped ginger and green chili peppers, North African Jews may add preserved lemon peel and cayenne pepper, and Bukharan Jews chop the vegetables extremely finely and use vinegar, without oil, in the dressing. Serve it with nice slice of garlic bread or toast, or as the salad accompanied by chicken or any other meat.
1 each red, green and yellow pepper, seeded
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 tbsp fresh chopped dill, parsley and mint leaves
1 hot fresh chilli, chopped (optional)
3 – 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Using a sharp knife, finely dice the green, red and yellow peppers, carrot, cucumber and tomatoes and place them in a large mixing bowl.
Add the garlic, spring onions, coriander, dill, parsley, mint and chilli, if using, to the chopped vegetable mix and toss together to combine.
Pour the olive and lemon juice over the vegetables, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss together. Chill before serving.