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Israeli salad (סָלָט יְרָקוֹת יִשְׂרְאֵלִי)

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Israeli salad is a chopped salad of finely diced tomato and cucumber. "Distinguished by the tiny diced tomatoes and cucumbers," it is described as the "most well-known national dish of Israel." In Israel, it is also commonly referred to as salat yerakot, salat katsutz and salat aravi.

Israeli salad is usually made of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and parsley, and dressed with fresh lemon juice, olive oil and black pepper. Generally, the cucumbers are not peeled. The key is using very fresh vegetables and chopping them as finely as possible. The ability to chop the tomatoes and cucumbers into the "finest, most perfect dice" is considered a mark of status among many kibbutz cooks.

Variations include salads made with the addition of diced red or green bell peppers, grated carrot, finely shredded cabbage, sliced radish, fennel, spring onions and chives, and other herbs such as mint, za'atar or sumac.

Israeli salad is served as an independent side dish, as an accompaniment to main dishes, or stuffed in a pita with falafel or shawarma. It was part of the traditional Israeli breakfast at home before Western-style breakfast cereals became popular, and remains a standard feature at buffet breakfasts at Israeli hotels, as well as in many homes.

The origins of the Israeli salad are traced by Gil Hovav, Israeli food editor and chef, to a Palestinian and Arab 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.

Other similar chopped salads found in the Middle East, include the Persian salad shirazi(which includes mint, diced onions, and peeled cucumbers), and the Turkish choban salad; among others found throughout the eastern Mediterranean area in Turkey, Lebanon, and even Egypt.

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References

Israeli salad, en.wikipedia.org

Israeli Salad, allrecipes.com

Make Israeli Salad!, howtobeisraeli.blogspot.com