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The cuisine of modern-day Israel has been shaped over
several centuries and is an amalgamation of influences
that were drawn into Israeli food tradition through
history, historical changes, and immigration. Israelis
today enjoy a wide range of international cuisine options
and also eat a great deal of food that is indigenous
Popular foods in Israel include:
Eggplant Salads and Dips
Eggplant is a very popular ingredient in Israeli cuisine.
Eggplant is typically roasted and is then used to make
a variety of dips and salads. Salat hatzilim, which
Americans would refer to as baba ghanoush, is made using
roasted eggplant, tahina, lemon juice, onions, herbs,
Eggplant is typically roasted over an open flame, results
in a smokey flavor.
A version of eggplant salad that is popular in Israel
is to mix roasted eggplant with yogurt, mayonaise, or
feta cheese. Chopped onion and tomato are common additions.
Grains are a staple of an Israeli diet. Commonly incorporated
grains include rice, couscous, and ptitim. Ptitim is
an Israeli pasta that, like pasta common in the US,
comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Hummus is extremely popular in Israel. Similar to the
peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the United States,
hummus spread on pita is the go-to packed lunch for
Israeli students. Similar to in the United States, a
variety of prepared hummuses are available at Israeli
grocery stores. Variations include a variety of flavored
elements added to the hummus, such as garlic, peppers,
or other vegetables and spices.
In Israel, one may also purchase hummus at an establishment
that is solely dedicated to making hummus, called a
Salads made of vegetables are served with most meals
in Israel, including breakfast. Salad is commonly prepared
with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and is
made of primarily cucumbers and tomatoes. Additions
• Peppers, green
• Grated carrot
• Cabbage (shredded)
• Lettuce (shredded)
• Radish (sliced)
• Herbs such as
parsley, int, za’atar, and sumac
Preferences on additions to salad are somewhat regional.
Bukharan Jews chop vegetables very finely, for example,
while North African Jews add cayenne pepper and preserved
Avocado salad is also a very popular Israeli dish. In
avocado salad, an avocado is sliced and mixed with chopped
scallions and lemon juice. In addition to being used
for salad, avocados are also spread on bread in Israel.
Avocados actually didn’t exist in Israel until
the 1920’s, but since being planted along the
cost it has become a winter delicacy in the region.
Stuffed vegetables, which in Israel are called memula’im,
are made in a wide range of flavors and were originally
conceived of as a side dish. Flavors range from spicy
to sweet and sour, and common ingredients include stuffing
a vegetable with meat and rice, bulgur, lentils, or
ptitim. Commonly stuffed vegetables include squash and
vine leaves, as introduced by the Ottomon Turks in the
16th century. Artichoke bottoms are also stuffed.