Make an Israeli Breakfast with Salad and Pita

6 years ago

In traditional Israeli form, my husband and I just had an argument about what should be included in an Israeli breakfast. I insisted on hummus. My husband did that little annoying Israeli tongue-click and told me that he had never, ever seen hummus served at breakfast. He added white cheese (blech!), which would never make it to my Israeli table. In the end, he won because he pointed out that I almost never eat breakfast anyway, therefore had no leg to stand on about what was being served.

The foods we could both agree on were the inclusion of salad (a tomato and cucumber mixture), olives and pita. After that, options might include hard-boiled eggs or yogurt.

In other words, Israeli breakfast sort of resembles the American lunch. And there's a good reason for that -- you usually don't eat breakfast right when you get up on the kibbutz, where this breakfast originated. You start your job, work a few hours, and then sit down to eat a communal meal. All these foods could be prepared ahead of time and set out on the tables so people could help themselves.

Israeli salad is simple to make and it's the base for so many Israeli dishes.

Ingredients:
2 cucumbers, deseeded and peeled
3 tomatoes, deseeded
olive oil
fresh lemon juice
sea salt
pepper

Julienne the cucumbers and dice the cucumber sticks into tiny cubes. Chop the tomatoes to match the cucumbers in size. You'll notice that I don't give amounts for the remaining ingredients -- it's because it's all done to taste. Put on a few splashes of lemon juice, a few glugs of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and dash of pepper. Allow the mixture to sit for a bit before serving.

Pita bread has a place at almost every meal. Pitas can certainly be cut open and filled, or sometimes I cut them into triangles so people can use them to dip into hummus and grab a bit of salad.

I have many different pita recipes, but I make King Arthur's version when I don't have a lot of time.

So, there you have it. Israeli breakfast to transport you to the Middle East. Serve with coffee and maybe some mint tea, and make sure you invite a lot of people over to eat and share the meal. And be sure to argue at the table about what should be served at an Israeli breakfast if you really want it to feel traditional.

Have you tried Israeli breakfast?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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