Home Recipe Roundup 30 Most Popular Israeli Foods You Should Try

30 Most Popular Israeli Foods You Should Try

Israeli foods are influenced by Jewish and Mediterranean cuisines and the flavors of the Middle East. 

There’s fish and barbecued meats, but many of the best Israeli foods are vegetarian- or vegan-friendly and contain plenty of spices, seasonings, and herbs.

Bagels and Lox with Cream Cheese and Capes
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Grains, pasta, and dairy are other commonly used ingredients, and chefs often use cheese, nuts, and rose water in their desserts.

While Israeli foods aren’t as well-known in the Western world as Mexican, Chinese, or Italian cuisine, certain things like hummus, baklava, and latkes are pretty common even in the U.S.

For this list, I’ve pulled together 30 of the tastiest Israeli dishes I know.

You might have heard of some of them, but there will be others that you’ve probably never tried. 

Give those new dishes a fair chance. They might surprise you with how delicious they are. 

1. Israeli Salad

Israeli salad is dense, chunky, and full of lovely, vibrant colors.

It’s naturally vegan and gluten-free, and it tastes best in the summer when you can use plenty of fresh veggies.

It’s fantastic by itself or when topped with some lean protein. Some people even eat it like salsa with chips, veggies, or other foods.

2. Sabich Sandwich

If you’re looking for an incredible, vegan-friendly sandwich, check out this recipe for the sabich sandwich. 

It takes about 40 minutes to make, and the ingredients list is long.

However, it isn’t difficult, and the soft, warm pita bread holds lots of yummy, healthy stuff.

In addition to the Israeli salad mentioned above, there’s also eggplant, pickles, legumes, hummus, potatoes, and more. 

3. Falafel

If you’ve ever watched a television show or movie set in New York, you’ve probably heard of falafel.

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But unless you’re a fan of Middle Eastern food, you may have never tried it.

Made with chickpeas, onions, and plenty of herbs and spices, falafel are crispy, medium-sized balls of deep-fried goodness. 

You can serve them with tahini sauce or hummus, but I like them best served with garlic and herb butter.

4. Israeli Eggplant

If your only reference for eggplant is eggplant parmesan from Olive Garden, seeing Israeli eggplant for the first time might give you pause.

The dish looks more like a messy plate of charred meat and onions than anything else.

Actually, though, it’s another tasty, full-flavored, and vegan-friendly dish.

Throw in some parsley and lemon juice once it’s done, and pile it all on some flatbread for a complete, satisfying meal.

5. Freekeh Vegetable Soup

This light, colorful soup is a mixture between vegetable soup and chicken noodle soup.

Like vegetable soup, it’s chock full of yummy veggies – onions, carrots, zucchini, and more.

However, unlike most American vegetable soups, it uses a base of chicken broth instead of tomato juice, giving it a distinctly chicken noodle soup vibe.

Additionally, freekeh isn’t a noodle, but it’s a grain with a similarly mild taste and texture. Overall, the combination is quite appetizing.

6. Israeli Hummus

It’s hard to beat good, homemade hummus, especially when it’s smooth, creamy, and you can make it with fewer than 10 ingredients.

This particular hummus has a marvelous nutty and garlicky flavor and is almost as light and fluffy as Cool Whip. 

It doesn’t take long to make, but you’ll want to soak the chickpeas overnight and let the hummus chill for at least 30 minutes before serving it.

7. Shakshuka

If you’re looking for a healthy, meat-free breakfast idea that you can make in 30 minutes or less, shakshuka is a great option. 

It’s a dish of poached eggs, onions, peppers, and slightly spicy tomato sauce, and it’s a nutritious, hearty way to start the day.

8. Eggplant Salad

This thick, chunky eggplant salad has everything going for it. 

It’s pareve and kosher, vegetarian-friendly, and gluten-free, and since each serving has only five net carbs, it’s keto-compliant, as well! 

Best of all, it tastes phenomenal. The eggplant and peppers are tender, and the variety of spices give the tomato sauce an incredible earthy, herby flavor.

9. Israeli Couscous

You can make this seven-ingredient Israeli couscous in 30 minutes or less without any trouble at all. It’s light, fluffy, and delightfully zesty. 

If you’re looking for a light lunch that’s easy on your stomach, you can’t really beat this lemon-infused couscous.

10. Mujadara

I discovered mujadara a few years ago, and I couldn’t help but wonder where it had been all my life.

It’s so good, but its rich, complex flavor is a little hard to describe.

The best comparison I can make is to say it’s similar to Rice A Roni’s chicken rice and vermicelli, but that’s not precisely right, either.

If you enjoy the robust flavor of caramelized onions and brown lentils, you’ll truly love this dish.  

11. Semolina Porridge

All you need for this six-ingredient porridge is semolina, water, milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and about 20 minutes.

It’s a quick, non-decadent way to enjoy a sweet, hot breakfast without too much effort.

12. Baba Ganoush

Baba ganoush is a lot like hummus, but you’ll make it with roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas. It’s not as silky smooth but is richer and denser.

It’s herby and a bit spicy, but it’s much tarter than traditional hummus, thanks to all the added lemon juice. 

If you’re not a big fan of sour spreads, you can cut back a little on the lemon and go heavier on the paprika and garlic. 

13. Carrot Salad

This dish is less of a salad and more like a new and exciting way to fix boiled carrots. 

They have the same soft, smushy texture as any boiled carrots, but these are flavored with cumin, paprika, garlic, cayenne pepper, harissa, salt, and lemon juice.

14. Tabbouleh

If you enjoy healthy foods that are dense and herby but also somehow light and refreshing, tabbouleh is the dish for you. 

It combines the fresh, clean, and slightly peppery taste of parsley with the light zestiness of lemon juice and olive oil and the rich, earthiness of onions, bulgur, and cucumbers.

15. Israeli Chicken Shawarma

Despite what the first 14 entries on this list might suggest, some Israeli food does contain meat.

I thought the first one I listed might as well be one of my favorites. 

Warm pita bread, juicy, tender, well-seasoned chicken strips, a crispy eggplant, creamy hummus, and a mixture of fresh veggies – to me, that’s a recipe for success. 

It’s a healthy, well-balanced meal, and you can make it in only 30 minutes, although you’ll need to let the chicken marinate a couple of hours beforehand.

16. Laffa Bread

I keep talking about “warm pita bread,” so I thought I might as well go ahead and add the recipe for it, as well.

Also known as laffa bread, this flatbread requires only six everyday ingredients to make. 

17. Jerusalem Bagel

Why waste money on overpriced bagels when you can make your own?

With this recipe, you can make scrumptious, airy bagels with semi-sweet honey and sesame seed toppings.

Eat them by themselves or sliced, toasted, and with cream cheese and chives. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. 

18. Bagels and Lox 

Now that you know how to make your own bagels, making bagels and lox should be no trouble at all!

Once you can make the bagels, fixing bagels and lox is just a matter of assembling ingredients.

The recipe calls for an Everything Bagel, but the Jerusalem bagel would work just as well.

Cover it in cream cheese, and add a bit of Everything Bagel seasoning to it if you like.

Then top it with lox (or smoked salmon), cucumbers, red onions, capers, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and dill.

Whether you have it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, it’s sure to be a yummy, filling treat. 

19. Israeli Roasted Paprika Potatoes

As much as I love to cook, there’s nothing better than a recipe that uses just a few ingredients and takes almost no effort to make. 

If you can cut potatoes into chunks and cover them in oil, paprika, and salt, you can easily make these delicious, spicy, and smoky potatoes. 

20. Challah

This challah recipe is one you’ve probably seen me post before, but I can’t help myself.

Challah is some of the most beautiful and tasty bread I’ve ever eaten.

From its lovely golden braid and aromatic scent to its soft, pillow-like insides and slight sweetness, there’s nothing about this bread that doesn’t delight the senses. 

I make it to eat, share, and give as a gift; I make it as often as possible. Try it once, and you will, too.

21. Israeli Cabbage Salad

Israeli cabbage salad is a lot like coleslaw, but it’s a little sweeter, has fewer ingredients, and is made with red cabbage instead of green.

It takes only 15 minutes to whip up, and all you’ll need is cabbage, mayo, sugar, and salt.

You can add lemon juice if you like things a little tart and tangy. 

It’s cool, creamy, and relatively low in calories and carbs. It’s the ideal side dish for a barbecue.

22. Israeli Cheese Bourekas

If you’re a fan of spinach and feta, you’ll love cheese bourekas.

They have delightful flaky crusts covered in Everything Bagel seasoning and sesame seeds.

Their fillings are supremely cheesy, containing ricotta, parmesan, and feta cheeses, spinach, garlic, salt, and pepper. 

They taste fantastic, and you can have a lot of fun making them into different shapes to suit various occasions. 

23. Latkes

Also known as potato pancakes or potato fritters, latkes are thick, round, and crunchy.

Despite being potato “pancakes,” they’re savory, and people eat them throughout the day.

Their crispy outsides surround warm, soft, chewy centers, and they’ll put you in mind of hash browns.

Some people serve them with applesauce or other sweet foods, but I prefer to top mine with sour cream and chives.

24. Bamba Brussels Sprouts

If I’m going to eat Brussels sprouts, I want them topped with parmesan cheese and garlic, but I have to admit that I don’t hate these Bamba Brussels sprouts.

They’re definitely unique, and the peanut butter-flavored Bamba adds a strange but not off-putting flavor to the sprouts. 

Overall, the dish is crispy, spicy, and just a bit sweet, which is an interesting combination for Brussels sprouts. 

25. Cheese Sambusak

Imagine your grandmother’s fried apple turnovers, only with cheese, parsley, and herbs inside and crunchy seeds dotting the surface. 

Cheese sambusaks are rich, warm, buttery, and insanely good.

They’re especially good straight from the frying pan on a cold winter’s day. 

26. Halva

Technically, you can make halva with only sugar, water, and tahini sauce, but this recipe adds a few other ingredients to add some complexity to the flavor. 

It has a fluffy, crumbly texture that’s similar to fudge, and it tastes nutty, sweet, and cinnamon-y all at the same time.

The almond slivers are optional, but I like them because they add crunch.

Sometimes I substitute pecan halves instead. 

27. Sufganiyah

Sufganiyah may be hard to pronounce, but “jelly-filled donut sprinkled with powdered sugar” is a phrase we can all say with ease. 

They take 3 hours to rise and over an hour to prepare and cook, so they aren’t a treat you’ll want to make every day.

In most Jewish families, they’re eaten only during Hanukkah. 

They’re so good, though, that you’ll want to eat them all the time.

28. Kanafeh

This traditional Israeli dessert may look a bit odd, but it smells divine.

The whole thing is drizzled in rose water, adding a pleasant sweetness and a superb aroma.

The outside, made from kadaïf and pistachios, is crispy and crackly, but the inside is gooey and delicious.

And despite its complex appearance, it takes less than an hour to make. 

29. Baklava

I only have three things to say about baklava: sweet, crunchy, and layers upon layers of sweet, crunchy goodness. 

Seriously, if you’ve never had the pleasure of trying baklava, you need to rectify that immediately.

You’ll never find a layered dessert with such flavor and texture.

30. Tahini Cookies

You can easily make about three dozen of these cookies in 30 minutes.

They’re soft and crumbly, and they’ll remind you of peanut butter cookies in appearance and consistency. 

The flavor is like sweetened tahini.

If you’ve never had tahini, it’s very nutty and earthy, but not like peanut butter. There’s very little sweetness to it.

However, add a bit of caster sugar and vanilla extract, and these cookies taste just as impressive as any peanut butter cookie you’ve ever tried.

30 Most Popular Israeli Foods You Should Try

Israeli foods are influenced by Jewish and Mediterranean cuisines and the flavors of the Middle East. From salads to sandwiches to soups and sides, you’ll love these amazing dishes.


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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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