Israeli Salad

My Tiny Sous Chef has become our resident salad maker. She loves it. She loves having her israelisalad6thing that she is responsible for consistently. And she is a self-described Salad Monster. And yes, I realize that a 4 year old who loves salad is like a unicorn with three horns and wings who burps rainbows. Tonight’s dinner was a favorite in our house. Food Truck Chicken. We make this within a week or so of every visit from  my parents, because they usually bring a package of the best pita outside of the Middle East with them, and there’s really no excuse not to build a whole meal around the best pita outside of the Middle East.

Once our girl started showing interest in what goes on in israelisalad1the kitchen, I started looking for age- and skill-appropriate jobs for her to do so that she could get more involved and learn more and more. We started with mixing and stirring, and moved on to cracking eggs, measuring spices, and eventually cutting. She’s careful, and meticulous. And frankly, when you love what you’re making, it shows. So her salads are excellent.

With this dish, I like to go really simple, and really Middle Eastern. We’ve got the pita, and we’ve got the chicken. Israeli salad is perfect with it. Traditional Israeli salad has no lettuce, and features simple, fresh veggies chopped up into tiny little pieces. You can really take this salad in a whole range of directions. This is basic and uncomplicated and just the way I like it. Veggie quantity will obviously vary depending on how many people you are feeding. And this isn’t so much a firm precise recipe. Anyway, here you go.

* cucumber (we like to use English, seedless cucumbers, or those little Persian ones that are so sweet!)
* tomato (we generally use Romas or plums)
* pepper (I prefer yellow, red, or orange, for the sweetness)
* avocado
** I usually add red onion or shallots, but we didn’t have any today, and My Tiny Sous Chef doesn’t like cutting onions, so we left them out
* olive oil
* fresh lemon juice
* Italian seasoning
* dry dill week
* lemon pepper (regular ground black pepper works, too)

Not much to it. Cut all of your veggies up into the tiniest little pieces you can manage and mix together in a bowl. Add olive oil and squeeze fresh lemon juice (how much depends on the size of your salad, obviously), then add the seasonings to taste. Actually taste the salad to adjust the seasoning accordingly, and there you go. Perfect, fast, fresh, tasty salad ready to go. If my four (and a half) year old Tiny Sous Chef can do this herself, like a pro, so can you. We promise.

By the way, if you have your own tiny sous chef, you have to get these knives. I’m obsessed with them — and I did lots of research before ordering these particular knives. [For the record, this is a completely unsolicited endorsement. These are amazing, and I love them. No one asked me to say that. Just my opinion (and my girl’s, too).] This nylon knife set from StarPack is the perfect intro set for kids who love to cook. They cut through everything but flesh (so, no meat and no little fingers), and allow the tiniest kitchen helpers to really learn good, safe knife skills. They come in three sizes, so they can grow with your kiddo. They were a total game changer in our kitchen! For what it’s worth.


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