Summer Fridays: Israeli Salad and Chicken Shawarma

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Eventually we plan to move back to the East Coast and one of the things I’ll miss most about California is the incredible produce. From melt in your mouth berries to apple bite worthy tomatoes, the produce out here is second to none, especially when coming from one of the various local farmers’ markets.

We’re fortunate to live down the street from the Divisadero Farmers’ Market and sometimes we’ll make the venture to the mother of all SF farmers’ markets, the Ferry Building market. There are way more options at the Ferry Building market, but it can be a bit overwhelming at times with all of the tourists. However, it is definitely worth the trip every once in awhile.

Don’t miss Bluma Farm’s stall at the Ferry Building— their flowers are gorgeous!

A few weekends ago, a girlfriend and I decided to embrace the chaos and make a morning of the Ferry Building market. We eagerly filled our baskets with the incredible summer produce and were giddy with the gorgeous flowers we picked up from local vendors. We joked our guys were going to come home to greenhouses (sorry not sorry, Jake and Reed!)

Fortunately, I was distracted by the flowers and didn’t completely go overboard on vegetables like I usually do because the next day our friends at Imagery Winery loaded us with loot from their garden. Let’s just say I didn’t even make a dent in our vegetable drawer after prepping salad jars for both of our lunches for the week.

                  Our friend Nate hooking us up in Imagery’s garden

All week, we made use of our vegetable treasures and yet, at the end of the week, our crisper still looked pretty full. Unwilling to let any of the beautiful (and delicious) bounty go to waste, I picked my brain on what I could make that would knock out our remaining produce. Then it hit me, Israeli salad!

Israeli Salad was a great way to celebrate the beautiful produce we are fortunate to have access to in California and what goes better with Israeli salad than chicken shawarma? As summer and peak produce season draw to a conclusion, I hope you enjoy the recipes below for this year’s final Summer Friday post.

Have a safe and fun Labor Day weekend, all!


Israeli Salad
Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 20-30 minutes depending on your knife skills

Sharp knife

2 extra large tomatoes
1 English cucumber
½ medium red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
½ cup herbs (Italian parsley, mint, cilantro, or a mix)
Zest of one lemon
Lemon juice (start with ½ a lemon, more to taste)
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Dice first six ingredients into small pieces (smaller, the better)
2. Place ingredients into a large bowl and toss with lemon zest, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper

Chicken Shawarma
Serves: 6
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

Baking sheet
Plastic Wrap

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 large boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp allspice
¾ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne
Salt & pepper
Non-stick cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray the baking sheet with nonstick cooking oil
2. Slice the chicken breasts into 5-6 pieces each and the thighs into 3-4 pieces each; place chicken pieces in a dish or large Ziplock bag
3.  In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, the spices, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper; pour the spice marinade over the chicken pieces and Stir with a spoon until all of the chicken pieces are evenly coated in the marinade

4. Cover the marinating dish with plastic wrap, or close the Ziplock bag;  place chicken in the refrigerator and let it marinate at least 1 hour, up to overnight— if you’re in a squeeze, I’ve marinated the chicken and cooked right away before and the overall taste did not suffer
5. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced
6. Place the chicken in the oven and let it roast for about 15 minutes until cooked through, turning the chicken pieces once with tongs halfway through cooking
7. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it cool slightly; use a sharp knife to slice the meat into small, thin shawarma-like pieces
8. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet on the stovetop over medium; pour half of the chicken into the skillet and sauté for 3-4 minutes until the smallest pieces of chicken turn brown and crisp; season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed
9. Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet; heat another 1 tbsp of oil and sauté the remaining chicken in the same way; serve warm on top of Israeli Salad

Yogurt Sauce
Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 5 minutes

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove of garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon of salt

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until well incorporated

Looking for recipes for Labor Day? Check out these delicious seafood kabob recipes!


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