Jerusalem salad pico de gallo

Jerusalem salad pico de gallo

My favorite way to make Jerusalem salad is to salt all the veggies, let them dry brine for about an hour, and then discard the liquid that the salt draws out of them. This softens everything very slightly, but the veggies still retain a lot of crunch, and it allows the flavorful lemon juice and olive oil dressing to cling to them instead of washing away with all those juices. But as much as I love this technique, pouring ingredients down the drain always makes me a little sad, even when the spare ingredients themselves are a little sad. (Like, when I first heard Hannibal Buress' Joke about flicking pickle juice on his sandwiches, I was laughing, but also taking notes).

So that's why I sometimes prefer to really lean into the wateriness, and turn Jerusalem salad into a salsa instead of a salad, especially this time of year when I could eat chips and salsa all day long. The faintly briny tomato and citrus juice makes pico de gallo so refreshing, whether scooped up with a tortilla chip or spooned over your favorite summer grilled dishes. And this recipe for Jerusalem salad pico de gallo combines the best of these two fresh summery dishes. There's both tomatoes and cucumbers, lemon and lime juice, parsley and cilantro, and (of course!) a little dried mint, plus all the ingredients these dishes share in common. Serve it as an appetizer with tortilla chips at your next backyard party, include it in your next meze menu, and if you have any leftover juice, don't forget to "flick it on your sandwiches for flavor." 

Jerusalem salad pico de gallo

Jerusalem salad pico de gallo

download a PDF to print
yield: about 5 cups
time: with a knife 30 minutes, with a food processor 5 minutes

  • 1 pound tomatoes

  • 10 to 12 ounce English cucumber (or small Persian cucumbers)

  • 1/2 of 1 medium/large red onion (or 1 very small red onion)

  • As many jalapeños (about 1 to 3) or hot peppers as you'd like, pith/seeds removed (or not removed!)

  • 1 small bunch parsley (about 1/4 cup minced)

  • 1 small bunch cilantro (about 1/4 cup minced)

  • 1 teaspoon dried mint (or 1 teaspoon fresh minced)

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed through a press or finely minced (feel free to add 1 more if you love garlic)

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

  1. Finely dice the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and hot peppers, and place them with their juices in a mixing bowl. Feel free to use a food processor to do this, but the final presentation will be rougher than carefully dicing with a sharp knife (it's a time saver though). To use a food processor, pulse each ingredient separately until it's finely chopped (be careful not to let it run too long or you'll turn it into a purée.

  2. Wash and dry the parsley and cilantro, and then finely mince them (do not use a food processor for this). Add them to the mixing bowl (reserving a pinch for garnish), along with the dried mint, lime juice, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Adjust the seasoning to taste (taste it with a tortilla chip—if your chips are salty, you might not want to add any more seasoning).

  3. Garnish with the reserved herbs and serve. If you're making this for company, you can make it the day before and it'll still be wonderful the next day. But leftovers for your own midnight snacking will stay really tasty for a few more days.

Jerusalem salad pico de gallo

easy vegetarian breakfast meze

easy vegetarian breakfast meze

I've been posting so many breakfast things to my Instagram story this week. I'd like to say it's because I'm really good at curating social media content to coordinate with my semi-weekly blog posts (hah!), but it's really just that breakfast has been on my mind. Now that we have big south-east-facing bedroom windows, I'm actually becoming a morning person, and (since my life revolves around food) that means becoming a breakfast person.

But "morning person" is a relative term, and so for me, breakfast must be easy, which means that it needs to be something you can make ahead the night before, or something you can quickly throw together in the morning. And this rule especially applies when hosting friends for a morning brunch, which is why I put together this easy vegetarian breakfast meze. The prep time takes only thirty minutes the night before, and thirty minutes the morning of. And best of all, most of the things on the menu don't even require real cooking, but it still looks like you tried.

Download a PDF to print the schedule, grocery list, and recipes.

menu

shakshukotash *
pita bread and/or English muffins
jajik
orange blossom marmalade
Jerusalem salad
olives
strawberries

* This shakshuka recipe makes 4 eggs, so multiply as necessary. With a large spread like this, estimate 1 egg per person for a medium breakfast, 2 eggs per person for a filling breakfast. If you’re making this menu for 4 people, just make a single batch of everything, and expect to have some leftovers of everything but the shakshuka. If you’re multiplying for a larger party of 6 to 8, make one batch of everything, but multiply the shakshuka by 3, and be sure to buy enough bread, olives, and strawberries.

Grocery list

pantry
salt and olive oil
pita bread and/or English muffins*
orange marmalade
orange blossom water
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (buy 2 cans if you’re doubling the shakshuka, 3 for tripling)

produce
olives (castelvetranos from the olive bar are always a crowd pleaser)*
strawberries, or your favorite fruit*
1 head garlic
1 bunch dill
5 Persian cucumbers
1 small yellow or orange bell pepper
5 roma tomatoes
1 small red onion
1 lemon
1 bunch parsley

dairy
1 stick butter
eggs (1 or 2 eggs per person)
8 ounces cream cheese
16 ounces small curd cottage cheese

frozen
1 lb bag frozen corn
1 lb bag frozen lima beans (or another shell bean, like soy or fava)

* Make sure you buy enough bread, olives, and strawberries for the number of guests.

schedule

The night before (25 minutes)

  • Make jajik and plate it.

  • Stir 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water into a jar of orange marmalade.

  • Plate the olives.

  • Wash the strawberries and place them in a bowl.

  • Make the shakshukotash’s tomato sauce in a non-reactive (e.g., stainless steel) pot. Multiply the recipe as needed.

  • Refrigerate everything overnight.

  • Set the table.

The morning of (30 minutes)

  • Cover the pita bread in foil and place in a 200°F oven for about 15 minutes, just to warm it through.

  • Make the Jerusalem salad (If you don't have time to wait around, don't worry about letting it sit with the salt. Just use less salt, about 1/4 teaspoon).

  • Get all the food on the table before you start cooking the eggs.

  • Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to the shakshukotash sauce, bring it back up to a simmer, and poach the eggs in it. If you're doubling the recipe, divide the sauce between 2 skillets to poach the eggs (if you're tripling, use 3 skillets, or just 2 really wide ones). Serve immediately.

easy vegetarian breakfast meze