Sign In / Sign Up

Explore Israel's Flavors for Independence Day

Global Feature
By: Cara Cannella
Explore Israel's Flavors for Independence Day

Each spring, the people of Israel celebrate the country's establishment as a sovereign state and Jewish homeland. On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion.

Israel Independence Day, or Yom Ha'atzmaut, might not be as well-known to Americans as Jewish holidays like Passover or Hanukkah — and the symbolism of their associated foods. But any occasion to eat Jewish cuisine is reason to celebrate.

You can create your own culinary tradition by indulging in Israel's vibrant and flavorful mix of ethnic and cultural influences and pay homage to the theme of resilience at the heart of Yom Ha'atzmaut.

Whether you gather friends and family at home for a barbecue, or head to the hills for a picnic-hike, here are a range of cooking ideas. Mazel tov!

Smoked Paprika Hummus with Pita Chips

Start your guests off with an appetizer course featuring this homemade hummus, baba ganoush and other cold salads served alongside pita. For a silky smooth texture, blend some liquid from the can of chickpeas into your food processor, then press the hummus through a fine-mesh sieve before serving.



Tomato and Feta Salad

Liken this salad to Israeli fattoush by incorporating leftover bread. Toast some pita, add to this recipe, and you've got a dish to rival Italy's classic bread salad, the panzanella.


Chicken Shawarma with Muhammara Sauce

While real-deal shawarma is made on a vertical spit, with marinated meat turning for hours and cooking in its own juices before thin pieces are sliced from the surface for serving, this homemade, grilled version is the next best thing. Play around with different Spice Islands® spice combinations for a range of flavors. The meat stores well in the fridge, so make enough for leftovers, and enjoy for days.

Cardamom Scented Couscous

While this recipe calls for the semolina flour couscous most commonly found on American grocery shelves, experiment by replacing that grain with Israeli couscous (called ptitim, or 'crumbles' in Hebrew). These larger, toasted pearls work well as a hearty base for all sorts of side dishes.


Cinnamon Apple Cake

Sure, apple cake is among the most popular desserts served every autumn for Rosh Hashanah, but why not take advantage of the apple's year-round availability and serve this juicy treat during any season?


Cara Cannella is a writer, editor, and teacher in New York City. She has worked as research editor for Bon Appétit and writes regularly about entrepreneurship for American Express OPEN Forum. She has an MFA in creative writing from The New School and teaches writing at Fashion Institute of Technology.

Spice Islands® spices deliver high quality, authentic flavors from all over the world so you can put the most delicious meals on your table.

Additional Content

Cook Once, Feast All Season Long
Cook Once, Feast All Season Long
A smart cook knows holiday leftovers are lifesavers on the day after the feast, but a true kitchen genius has an eye on new and exciting dinners through the new year.
Pho: Vietnamese Soup for Morning, Noon or Night
Pho: Vietnamese Soup for Morning, Noon or Night
Eggs, bacon, pancakes and cereal might be what comes to mind when you think about a traditional breakfast. In Vietnam, however, the day begins with bright and nourishing pho — bowls of broth, a tangle of rice noodles and an accompanying plate of fresh bean sprouts, slices of lime and jalapeno, purple basil, scallions and cilantro.
8 Southern-Inspired Meal-Time Solutions
8 Southern-Inspired Meal-Time Solutions
Whether it's breaded pork chops, hot chicken sandwiches, blackened catfish or slow cooker barbecue, these Southern selections will be on your summer rotation for years to come.