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Israeli Salad

For the basic salad:

1 ripe tomato

1 medium cucumber, or 3 small ones

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 green onion or 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley 

2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more)

2-3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil (or more)

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Optional additions:

5 red globe radishes

1 medium carrot, peeled

half a small beet, peeled

half a small kohlrabi, peeled

large handful of arugula (lettuce can be substituted)

2/3 cup mixed nuts and seeds (such as walnuts, sliced almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds – coarsely chopped)

1/3 cup crumbled Feta or firm goat cheese

1. Chop all of the vegetables into the tiniest cubes you can manage. Preferably 1/4 inch thick (or Brunoise, as the French call it). Gather the arugula into a tight bunch and slice into thin shards. This makes the salad fluffier and easier to chew.

2. Toast the nuts in an empty skillet (no oil required) over medium heat, stirring or shaking the pan frequently, taking care not to burn them (watch out for pumpkin seeds, as they tend to ‘pop’ while toasting). Toast until the aroma is released and the nuts take on the slightest bit of color. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. In a medium bowl, mix all of the chopped vegetables with sliced arugula, toasted nuts, and dress with the lemon juice, olive oil, adding salt and pepper to taste (don’t forget that the cheese is salty).

Check for seasoning and add more lemon juice and olive oil to your liking. Top with the crumbled cheese and serve immediately.

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