Did Your Favorite Make the List?
Are you heading to Israel soon? Mozel Tov! Israel has some of the best vegan food in the world. There are vegan restaurants that specialize in these dishes, but there is also staple Isreali food that happens to be vegan. We have made a list of our top vegan Israeli food that you can find at the markets and restaurants.
Hummus and Pita
Of course, we had to include this Israeli staple! Try this delish chickpea, tahini, and garlic spread on warm pita in the streets of Tsfat and taste why it is such a timeless dish. You may already like hummus from trying it in America, but trust us, nowhere does hummus like Israel! (We have a recipe that comes pretty close.)
In the unlikely event that you become tired of hummus, try Msabbaha. Msabbaha is similar to hummus, but it is served warm and with whole chickpeas.
This is another food that has made its mark in the United States. Falafel are also made with chickpeas, but they have a plethora of spices including cumin and coriander. and are then deep-fried. If you get a falafel sandwich in America, it’s sure to come with hummus and pita. In Israel however, there are many toppings to pick from! You can get pickled cucumbers/peppers/tomatoes, onions, olives, tahini sauce, tabouli, and more.
If you’d like a pita wrap, but are not a fan of falafel, this might be your new favorite! Shwarma is traditionally a meat sandwich including lamb, chicken, or beef. However, seitan shwarma is gained popularity with the vegan crowd. Seitan is a wheat-based meat substitute. In shwarma, this seitan is sauteed and seasoned with traditional Israel spices and then wrapped in a pita cone with vegetables and sauce. Some places have also replaced the meat with mushrooms.
This delicious pastry can be filled with potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, cheese, and meat. The lentil ones are super flavorful, and are a perfect savory snack. Sambusak dough is usually made from just water, flour, and oil. Some bakers may use melted butter, so check just in case!
Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma)
Dolma are soft grape leaves marinated in olive oil, wrapped around rice, lentils, and vegetables. They are served cold, and often with a yogurt sauce and pickled vegetables. These have a unique sour and rich taste, and melt in your mouth.
This delicious spice mixture is made from thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt. It can be baked into pita, or sprinkled on afterward with some olive oil. It can also be a topping on vegetables, and other dishes. This spice blend may sound simple, but it is unique and can really add flavor to your meal.
Shakshuka (vegetarian, not vegan)
This is an egg dish, so it is not vegan, but it is included for vegetarian readers. Shakshuka is eggs poached in a tomato-based sauce with garlic, olive oil, and onions. It is a savory breakfast-for-dinner dish, that can be served over grains or bread. Fancy ketchup on eggs anyone?
Israelis pickle everything! Pickled carrots, peppers, cauliflower, onions, cucumber… the list goes on! When these pickled vegetables are served together in a salad, it is called torshi. All pickled vegetables will have a picking mixture of vinegar and salt, but each place will vary their use of spices for differing flavors.
Who said tahini can only be savory? This crumbly fudge-like dessert is made with thick tahini (sesame paste), and sugar. It is almost always sweet, but comes in a variety of flavors. While in the Jerusalem market, you will see vendors with over a dozen types of halva! They will have pistachio, hazelnut chocolate, salted caramel, and some with dried fruit inside!
Our final recommendation is this classic Mediterranian dessert. Baklava is a sticky and sweet layered pastry made from filo dough, nuts, and honey. (We understand that honey is not always considered vegan.) When you bite into this dessert it is crunchy and flaky, but quickly melts into your mouth. With multiple layers of honey, this one is for people with more than one sweet tooth!
Is your mouth watering yet? Come to Israel to try these amazing foods yourself!
Not sure which trip to pick? We have a blog post for that! Best Trip Options for Vegans