There are so many things I love about Israel, one of them being the local cuisine. Calling it local isn’t quite true given that Israeli food is a melting pot of techniques and ingredients imported by Jews from all around the world during the Diaspora. Lots of dishes in Israel are inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, while others are similar to meals you’d find in Eastern Europe. What makes the beauty of Israeli food is that everyone is bound to find his or her culinary happiness while eating out in Israel. Welcome to the land of za’atar, hummus, falafel, and so much more, including some of the best and most inventive salads I’ve ever tasted.
During the Summer of 2012, I had one of the most amazing salads I’ve ever tasted in a tiny restaurant on the corner of a street in Tel Aviv. It didn’t seem like much from the outside, but the restaurant’s staff was welcoming and sweet and served only salads and sandwiches. I’m terrible with names so I won’t be able to recommend this restaurant for you, but what I do remember is the zesty, lemony taste of the bulgur salad I ordered. It had tomatoes, cucumber, grilled halloumi cheese and other vegetables in it, as well as fresh mint which gave it such a refreshing flavor. It was so good that I came back for it several times during my stay.
I’ve been working on ways to recreate this salad in a healthier, dairy-free version and here is the result. It also features cucumber, tomato, mint, green onion and bulgur, but comes without any cheese. I love it as is but also love it with grilled halloumi or with crumbled feta. It can be eaten as a meal on its own or as a hearty side dish to grilled meat or fish. Personally, I love to have it as a light lunch.
Oh, and I didn’t mention the dressing yet. I love the dressing so much that I use it for many other salads (including a delicious quinoa coriander salad that I’m planning to feature on the blog soon). It’s tangy in flavor as it is made with olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper, and blends well with the mint’s fresh taste.
I can’t even remember where the restaurant is located in Tel Aviv, even though I’ve searched for it several times during my previous trips. Thankfully Tel Aviv has so many delicious salad restaurants to fuel my inspiration and get me dreaming even more each time!
More salads on savormania: potato and egg salad, string bean salad with mustard vinaigrette and broccoli and cauliflower salad with mayonnaise dressing
All of savormania’s favorite salads: here on Pinterest
One month ago on savormania: banana cinnamon bread
- 1 cup fine bulgur
- ½ cup (20g) green onion, white part chopped
- 1 ½ cups (160g) cherry tomatoes, chopped
- ¾ cup (115g) cucumbers, chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place a sieve above a mixing bowl. Put the bulgur in the sieve and let it sit in cold water for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop all the vegetables and mint and put them in a bowl.
- Drain the bulgur and squeeze out all of the water. Add the bulgur to the bowl of chopped vegetables.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
FOR A MORE LEMONY TASTE: Feel free to add more lemon juice if you like a zestier salad. Just always remember to add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil for each tablespoon of lemon juice, if not your salad might be too sour.
How did your bulgur mint salad come out? Share photos of your recipe on Instagram by tagging #savormania