Let's Eat

Want to make an authentically Israeli feast for Yom Ha’atzmaut?

From amba sauce to za’atar-covered pita, we’ve got tips, hacks and 16 recipes for the perfect sabra-style menu


Photo: Inbal Bar-Oz

Our hearts may be heavy this year with the ongoing conflict, but for many of us our minds will be in Israel, which will mark its 76th anniversary this year. However you choose to commemorate this special day, we’ve got a recipe to suit. 

Pick one or serve a spread — the punchy flavours will always go down well: 

Every feast is better with challah, and this Star of David-shaped loaf from Fabienne Viner-Luzzato is super easy to make and utterly delicious. 

Make it meaty with Denise Phillips’s lamb koftes with a herb and pine-nut packed relish that will totally take it up a notch. 

Or follow this recipe which scatters minced beef over a schmear of hummus on soft laffa bread. Shower it with pine nuts and fresh, vibrant herbs and serve with a side of Israeli salad. Delicious.  

Israel is famous for its extensive vegan scene and Janine Denofrio’s aubergine shawarma tray bake would be perfect for any non meat feast. 

Any non-meat feast would be incomplete without the classic roasted cauliflower. This beauty from Silvia Nacamulli is slathered with spiced crème fraiche for a stunningly showstopping vegetarian main course.

Whether you’re going full vegan or need a meaty bbq side, Joanna Nissim’s colourful hummus trio is perfect. Or serve as a starter with a pile of home made crisped up pita chips ahead of your meal. 

Our favourite chefs, Shiri Kraus and Amir Batito have a simple recipe for you to make your own amba. Slather the sunny-coloured sauce over roasted veggies, shawarma and a falafel-filled pita for a proper taste of the shuk. 

That amba sauce goes perfectly on Fabienne Viner-Luzzato’s salmon shawarma – serve with Israeli chopped salad and soft puffy pita. 

For the real deal, you have to make Ariel Rosenthal’s falafel. Rosenthal is owner of Tel Aviv restaurant, Hakosem (which translates as magician) and also the OG when it comes to creating the best chickpea balls around. Take his tips and count those compliments come flooding in.  

If you fancy chicken shawarma, Ace Lifestyle have shared their recipe for a more healthy version. Banging flavour and no-fuss prep – a win win recipe.

Ilana Epstein’s fabulous flavours are always bound to impress. Everyone will want to dig into this green tahini platter smothered with salad and shards of crunchy pita.

What’s more Israeli than Bamba? And while we know it may not be totally authentic to scatter them on your salad, we loved Fabienne Viner-Luzzato’s recipe for a Bamba salad — the  fun spin you never knew you needed in your life. 

Halva is another very Middle Eastern flavour that will take you straight back to the shuk. I’ve incorporated it in these salted halva blondies which are utterly moreish. Remember not to overbake them for the fullest gooey texture and serve with hot, sweet, mint tea or thick, Turkish style coffee.  

And if the sun is shining, serve up slices of my frozen halva ice cream freezer cake – top with crumbled sesame peanuts or sesame snaps for an all round sensory experience. And a platter of sliced fruits on the side.

And a final favourite is a delicious, dairy dessert — a pistachio flecked knafeh from Joshua Korn and Scott Gliden — another dessert experience that will transport you straight to Jerusalem. 

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