This mixed vegetable salad, also known as Middle Eastern Salad or Mediterranean Chopped Salad, is sure to make your “favorites” list!
When the weather starts to warm up, I find myself making salad almost every night. I don’t care for lettuce-based salads, so usually throw together some cucumbers, tomatoes, and whatever other vegetables I have on hand.
But this salad, adapted from a recipe in “Olive Trees and Honey” by Gil Marks, is an all-time favorite. Surprisingly, chopping the vegetable pieces changes the taste and texture of the salad. This salad is a satisfying combination of tart, sweet, salty and bitter, with a great crunch.
Flex the Salad Ingredients
Like all salads, this recipe is flexible. Love onions? Add them. Can’t find daikon? Use red radishes, celery root, or even jicama. Don’t like Kalamata olives? Substitute everyday black olives instead. I often use fresh chives instead of scallions – because I grow chives in the garden plus I don’t care for scallions. And if you must have lettuce, add a big scoop of salad to torn romaine leaves or spring mix.
However, don’t be tempted to leave out the capers. Capers are pickled flower buds from a Mediterranean bush. You can find them either salted or in brine on the pickle aisle. Capers add a slightly salty-bitter taste that cannot be replicated with anything else. Its taste completes this salad and adds a satisfying umami effect.
Perfect for Easter Dinner
It’s a great salad to bring to a potluck, or to take along on a picnic. Serve this Israeli salad at your cookout along with a creamy potato salad or a three-bean salad or make it to go with falafels or gyros. I like to serve it with phyllo pies like cheese pie, squash pie, or spanakopita – a Greek spinach pie. It will also be a fantastic addition to the Easter or Passover table.
Serve directly after preparing, or let the salad sit in the refrigerator for a while before serving. If you plan to let it sit, don’t add the avocado until just before putting it on the table. I find leftovers just as delightful the next day, even if the avocado has turned a little brown. It might not be as visually appealing, but the flavor still sings on your tongue.
Don’t be scared by all the ingredients. The only thing you have to do with them is chop!
Israeli Chopped Salad
- 1 English cucumber unpeeled
- 3 Roma tomatoes
- 1/2 each green, yellow, and red bell peppers
- 4 scallions, sliced optional
- 1 small daikon radish or celery root
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
- Kalamata olives as many or few as you prefer
- 2 Tablespoons capers rinsed
- 1 avocado chopped or sliced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice fresh
- salt and pepper to taste
- Dice cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper and radish into ¼ inch pieces. Combine vegetables in a large bowl with the parsley, scallions, olives and capers. Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss to coat all the vegetables.Gently toss salad with chopped avocado.Serve immediately, although salad keeps well in refrigerator for up to 2 days.