Falafel, khachapuri, Israeli salad, and shakshouka Falafel, khachapuri, Israeli salad, and shakshouka Clockwise, from left: Falafel, khachapuri, Israeli salad and shakshouka.

10 mouthwatering dishes of Israel you should really try

From crispy falafel to lamb kebabs, check out this selection of foods popular in Israel — and by all means, try them at home!

Though the country may be small, Israeli cuisine is incredibly diverse. A melting pot of deliciousness drawing from the Mediterranean, North Africa and everywhere in between, these foods incorporate fresh, wholesome ingredients for unique and flavorful dishes. Here are 10 dishes inspired by the cuisine of Israel we think you'll love (recipes included!):

Falafel

Falafel Photo: Igor Dutina/Shutterstock

Crispy and filling, falafel is a great snack by itself, stuffed into pita bread or served atop fresh spring greens. Made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans, these deep-fried bites of goodness are common in Middle Eastern cuisine. Interested in making your own falafel? Check out this recipe from The New York Times.


Baba ghanoush

Baba ghanoushPhoto: keko64/Shutterstock

Smooth and creamy, this spread made from cooked eggplants is the perfect balance of sweet and smoky. Dig in with some pita bread or fresh veggies and you've got yourself a lovely Levantine snack. Try this organic, vegan baba ghanoush recipe from Inhabitat.


Shakshouka

Shakshouka Photo: Fanfo/Shutterstock

A sunny-side-up egg on top of a rich tomato-based sauce, this North African dish makes for a hearty breakfast – but eating it for dinner is not out of the question. Dig into this dish with a spoon or slice of bread. PBS Food blogger Marc Matsumoto tackled the dish, and the results look amazing — check out his recipe here.


Bourekas

BourekasPhoto: Olaf Speier/Shutterstock

These stuffed pastries can come filled with mashed potatoes, veggies or cheese and are often sprinkled with seeds. Turkish in origin, their Israeli form usually is made with phylo dough or puff pastry. An easy recipe for first-time boureka-bakers: Serious Eats' Cheese Bourekas.


Kebabs

kebabsPhoto: HLPhoto/Shutterstock

Grilled meats on skewers? Yes, please. Beef and lamb kebabs in particular are popular among Israelis. A restaurant in Israel was even named one of the best places for kebabs in the world by CNN. For a great meat-and-veggie combo, try Food Network's Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Tomatoes, Zucchini and Yogurt Sauce (yum!).


Israeli couscous

Israeli couscousPhoto: Aksenya/Shutterstock

Also known as ptitim, Israeli couscous takes the traditional North African meal, plumps it up and adds some star ingredients from local farms: pomegranate seeds, peppers, zucchini and, of course, cherry tomatoes. A great meal for kids, couscous can be made healthier with the use of wheat flour. Smitten Kitchen has a great recipe that takes advantage of the slow-roasted grape tomatoes.


Khachapuri

Khachapuri Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

These cheese- and egg-filled bread boats will sail you straight to happiness. Increasingly popular as a brunch food in Israel, khachapuri is a traditional Georgian dish. Try Saveur's recipe for this cheesy goodness.


Israeli salad

Israeli saladPhoto: Robyn Lee/Flickr

Colorful as it is simple, Israeli salad features diced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in olive oil and a little lemon juice. Fresh and flavorful, it's a great side dish or addition to a pita filled with falafel. Check out Smitten Kitchen's recipe for Israeli salad — with a bonus how-to for pita chips!


Malawach

MalawachMalawach (Photo: Jason Lam/Flickr)

It looks like a pancake and tastes like a pastry — where can you go wrong? Malawach (also known as malawah) is a fried pastry that can be eaten with tomato sauce or honey. Check out this recipe, which comes complete with a helpful video.


Israeli breakfast

Israeli breakfastPhoto: Curly Courland/Shutterstock

A solid start to any day, the traditional Israeli breakfast comes in many varieties, but most spreads feature cheese and bread with local veggies and fruits like figs, dates, pomegranates, grapes, kiwis, bananas, apples, cherries, melons and pears. Get the Israeli breakfast recipe rundown via this great post by Serious Eats.

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