Light Salads Help to Brighten Up Your Summer


Perhaps it's the tradition of mezze — a selection of salad appetizers without which no Middle Eastern meal could begin. Or maybe it has to do with the glorious abundance of produce in our local markets. In any case, Shabbat meals in Jerusalem always begin with at least four or five cold salads.

When planning a course of salads, keep in mind the different colors on your table, as well as what's in season. These recipes would surely please food stylists as well as nutritionists — color-wise, that is: red, light green, deep purple, dark green.

And don't forget hummus; Israelis consider that a staple every week. To save time, buy a good brand in the market.

After enjoying these salads with fresh challah, you may decide that, in summertime, these items can actually make for the meal (with dessert, of course).


Use the ripest tomatoes you can find. Peel by plunging them in boiling water for a minute or two. The skins will slip right off.

2-3 Tbsps. canola or olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored, drained slightly, chopped
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch of sugar (if needed)

Heat oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute.

Add chopped garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until starting to change color.

Lower heat to simmer and add tomatoes.

Cook, partially covered, for about an hour, until mixture is reduced and tomatoes are soft. Watch to ensure there is enough liquid so that the mixture will not scorch. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon.

Add salt and pepper; taste to see if more is needed. Add sugar, if desired.

Cool and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Serve cold or at room temp.

Dijon Cabbage Salad

1 small head of cabbage
4 Tbsps. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup boiling water
1/3 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
1 Tbsp. sugar (or more)

Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Wash cabbage and cut into wedges; pat dry.

Cut into coarse slices and place in a large bowl.

Whisk mustard and boiling water together. Slowly add oil in a fine stream, mixing constantly. Add lemon juice, caraway seeds and sugar; whisk again.

Combine thoroughly with the cabbage mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning; you might want to add a bit more sugar.

Chill for at least 2 hours.

Beet-Walnut Salad

You may substitute canned for fresh in this recipe.

2 medium beets
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3 Tbsps. olive oil
2 tsps. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Trim the beets and cut into wedges. Cook in boiling, salted water until tender (about 45 minutes to 1 hour). Drain, let cool and peel. Cut into cubes.

Toast walnuts in a small pan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, watching carefully so they don't burn. Let cool.

Combine the beets and walnuts in a bowl. Whisk olive oil and balsamic vinegar together.

Pour over salad and toss gently. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Celery-Dill Salad

3/4 cup loosely packed dill sprigs (use fresh only)
5-6 large celery stalks
3 medium dill pickles
3 Tbsps. mayonnaise
juice of 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced

Rinse, dry and chop dill finely. Trim, rinse and dry celery stalks. Slice into 1/4 -inch slices. Cut pickles into 1/2-inch cubes.

Place celery, dill and pickles in large bowl. Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice and garlic; pour over salad. Toss well.

Chill for at least 2 hours.

Rivka Tal is a food writer based in Jerusalem.


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