When anyone in Israel tells you they are sending over a salad they mostly mean Israeli Salad. Chopped vegetables – usually just tomatoes and cucumbers but oftentimes with peppers as well, seasoned simply with lemon juice and salt. Notice no leafy greens which are so common in the U.S.
I love this practice and have quickly succumbed to it myself because the salad can be prepped WAY in advance and it never wilts, just becomes more flavorful over time. But being me I needed to dress it up, make it more hearty, “beefy” if you will. So here I go adding crumbled salty cheese and fresh mint leaves and my most favorite condiment in the entire world: extra virgin olive oil.
- Prep Time
3 Persian cucumbers, unpeeled, diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, veins removed, diced
- 2 tomatoes on the vine, diced or 10 large grape tomatoes, quartered
- 3 tablespoons finely diced red onion or finely chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup crumbled feta, goat or Bulgarian cheese, such as Tnuva
- 1 tablespoon small mint leaves, packed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, optional
1. Place cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and onions in a medium bowl. Gently toss with lemon juice and salt.
Just before serving top with cheese, scatter mint leaves, add a few turns of the pepper mill and a drizzle of olive oil if desired
I am a big fan of the Bulgarian salty cheese here in Israel, best described as a cross between goat cheese and feta. Either will substitute beautifully!
Keep the skin on those cucumbers – Persian cucumbers have a dark green, flavorful skin full of vitamins!