Yom Ha’atzmaut is this week, so what better time to shine the spotlight on the delicious flavors of Israel?
We’ve pulled together some of our favorite Israeli-inspired recipes that we know you’ll love. There’s everything from flaky borekas and frozen limonanas to sabich and krembo! As you can see, there’s so much more to Israeli cuisine than just chummus and falafel!
To make it an even bigger celebration at home, cook a couple of these recipes, gather some blue and white decorations from around the house, and “travel” to Israel as a family without leaving your home!
We hope you enjoy!
1. Lamb and Beef Mince Kebabs with Burnt Aubergine by Oded Oren
Here I’m using a mix of lamb and beef for a more subtly flavored kebab, allowing the other flavors that are present to shine through. The burnt aubergine (eggplant) is completely incorporated into the meat mixture – you might not even be able to see it – but the smoky flavors are there. Because the kebabs can be fragile, letting them rest in the refrigerator before cooking will help them firm up and hold together. You might be surprised by the difference the aubergine makes here – it really adds an incredible flavor.
2. Israeli-Style Schnitzel Fingers by Baruch Hashem It’s Shabbos
Chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, schnitzel- no matter what you call them, there is nothing like entering the house erev Shabbos to freshly fried schnitzel. Yussi suggests making a double batch or there may not be any left by the time Shabbos arrives!
3. Israeli Sabich by Victoria Dwek
There are so many ways you can enjoy this! The Sabich is typically a classic Israeli breakfast, including fried eggplant, Israeli salad, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, chummus, techina, and plenty of olive oil. It’s healthy and bright … though not particularly light. This version takes the best of those Sabich flavors, then lets you choose — include the potato and toss all the components together in a salad or stuff ’em into a wrap. It’s amazing either way.
4. Israeli-Style Chicken Kabobs with Mock-Techinah Dipping Sauce by Chavi Feldman
These tasty and delicious chicken kabobs are further enhanced by the creamy cashew dipping sauce. Try it — it really tastes like techinah. I even had my family fooled!
5. Kohlrabi with Fresh Herbs, Chilli Flakes and Toasted Sourdough by Oded Oren
Like the Shaved Fennel and the Raw Courgette Salad [both in the book], this dish takes a vegetable that is usually cooked and presents it raw, allowing the full flavor to be enjoyed. As with the fennel and courgette, it’s important for the kohlrabi to be thinly sliced and prepared with care to ensure the best possible texture for a salad. The key thing is to make sure the kohlrabi is fresh – if you cut into a kohlrabi and it’s dry inside, it’s too old and won’t taste good. You want it to have some moisture. This dish has a little hint of spice from chili flakes, which works well. I like to serve it as part of a selection of small plates or as a starter rather than as a side dish, as it’s quite robust.
6. “Israeli Flag” Blueberry Cobbler by Debby Segura
7. Lamb Tacos by Elizabeth Leigh Mandelbaum
Ground lamb taco with a Mexican-Israeli fusion of flavors.
8. 4-Ingredient “Krembo” Bites by Erin Grunstein
These are the simplest no-bake dessert that will wow your tastebuds and your guests!
9. Jerusalem Mix Grill with Tahini and Amba by Oded Oren
Although it’s not as common as something like falafel, this kind of mixed grill is a street-food staple in the Machne Yehuda market in Jerusalem. The traditional dish would usually be made with chicken hearts, liver and spleen; spleen isn’t really available in the UK, so I’ve left it out and opted for duck hearts, which are plumper and have a gamier flavor that adds depth to the dish. Before opening Oren, I made this for a while at pop-ups and residencies, and it’s now become a permanent fixture on the restaurant menu as it’s so popular. Amba is a fermented mango condiment spiced with fenugreek, turmeric and chili. It originated in Iraq and was brought to Israel by Jewish Iraqis. You can find it online or in specialist stores. You only need a little, as it can be overpowering.
10. American Style Sabich Wraps by Sylvia Fallas
I love a good Israeli sandwich, especially a sabich. My version adds some chickpeas for texture and greens for nutrition. Perfect for a work or school lunch!
11. Sachlav Empanadas by Sophia Hassoun
This dish is my spin on Syrian atayef, which has the same flavors as sachlav and malabi.
12. Shakshuka Yerukah (Green Shakshuka) by Rudy Rochman
This dairy shakshuka, the classic Israeli egg dish, is full of vegetables like spinach and broccoli – and big on flavor. Between the eggs and feta cheese, it really packs in the protein. It’s a great meal to share with friends. Serve with gluten free bread, if needed, or skip the bread altogether and serve with your favorite low-carb accompaniments.
13. Marrakech Style Israeli No-Bake Cheesecake Cups by Danielle Renov
These fun and colorful after-school cheesecake cups are a blend of all the cultures Danielle comes from: American, Israeli, with unique Moroccan twists.
14. Halva-Stuffed Figs by Erin Grunstein
15. Homemade Baked Falafel by Erin Grunstein
Although this recipe is baked, it tastes fried because of the way the oil is heated up! Best of both worlds!
16. Limonana Sorbet by Brynie Greisman
Limonana is a frosty summer beverage that’s a classic favorite in Israel. It’s a sweet, refreshing slushy drink made with lemon and mint. Here, I’ve taken it to the next level and made it into a sorbet. I used my new mint plant, so the herbs would be very fresh, and we couldn’t get enough of it!
17. Cheese-Stuffed Cigars by Marilyn Ayalon
A popular Israeli dish, created 30 years ago by a Tel Aviv restaurant employee named Ziva Tawil, this recipe is often known as a “Ziva.”
18. Sabich Board by Danielle Renov
I love a board. We all love a board. That’s why they’re everywhere and not going away any time soon. They’re customizable, can be as quick and easy or laborious and involved as you choose, and they present sooooo beautifully.
This specific board is close to my heart because it’s a nod to my non-fish-eating family members. I wanted to find a dish that wouldn’t feel like it was just for the people who don’t eat fish, and I wanted it to be special and b’kavodik.
Sabich is traditionally pareve and is made up of eggplant, hard-boiled egg, grated tomato, pickles, techinah, and amba. Of course, like the melting pot of cuisine that Israeli food is, every place customizes its sabich to its own taste. Some add Bulgarian cheese and wrap it in malawach, some forgo the dairy for a heartier chicken cutlet, and some plac-es add ground beef. However you do it, the flavors are intense, delicious, and present absolutely beautifully! Feel free to add, customize, or swap anything to make it your own.
19. Crembo by Sara Wasserman
Crembo, a commercially made Israeli treat, is a chocolate-coated cream confection with a cookie base. This homemade version will be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
20. Classic Hummus by Mighty Sesame Co.
Follow these simple directions to prepare a hummus appetizing platter. Enjoy the popular Middle Eastern chickpea spread with pita chips or cut vegetables, or spread it on your challah.
21. Shakshuka by Dorot Gardens
Shakshuka is a popular Israeli tomato and eggs dish, delicious for a leisurely breakfast or brunch and filling enough to serve as breakfast-for-dinner. This classic mildly spicy shakshuka has layers of seasoning as well as fresh and frozen herbs.
22. Grilled Shawarma Chicken with Kohlrabi Fries by Elky Friedman
This is really popular in our house. Not only is the chicken extremely tasty when prepared this way; it’s also super fun for the kids to assemble their own wraps. I use baked kohlrabi fries as a lighter alternative to the classic potato fries that are often stuffed into laffas. When you combine the spicy chicken, tangy Israeli salad, rich hummus, and spicy and sweet kohlrabi together in that laffa, the flavors explode in your mouth for a truly satisfying dinner!
23. Moroccan Keftas (Burgers) and Couscous with Veggies by Michal Soussan
24. Charrif from the Nitra Cookbook
Serve this spicy tomato dip with your choice of challah, pita bread, crackers, or chips.
25. Falafel-Inspired Wraps by Chavi Feldman
One of my sons barely eats any protein; he’s a pizza and macaroni kind of guy. But for some reason, he actually likes chickpeas! Needless to say, I try to have them in my fridge at all times. When trying to use up some of the extra chickpeas, I came up with this delicious version of a chickpea salad. Think deconstructed falafel, without all of the frying and extra calories! Yum!
26. Pita Bread from the Nitra Cookbook
27. Hasselback Eggplants by Chanie Apfelbaum
28. Homemade Potato Borekas by Marilyn Ayalon
Make your potato borekas into a meal by preparing them fresh and serving them with great toppings!
Originally published April 2020. Updated and improved April 2023.