Celebrate Israel Independence Day With a Yom Ha'atzmaut Menu

An Israeli Picnic for Yom Ha'atzmaut
An Israeli Picnic for Yom Ha'atzmaut. Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images News

On Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, Israelis pack their picnic baskets with charcoal, lots of meat, salads, pita bread, and hummus. Parks throughout the country fill with with families grilling and enjoying "The Land." But even if a barbecue picnic in Israel a pipe dream, you can still celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut Israeli style, with a menu that's perfect for casual al fresco entertaining -- anytime you want a taste of Israel. ​

Looking for more delicious ways to...MORE celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut? If you've got little ones in the house, these adorable Israeli Flag Sandwiches make a fun breakfast or after school snack. And nothing beats an Israeli Breakfast Buffet, whether you're serving it to start the day, or as a totally crave-worthy breakfast-for-dinner.

Updated by Miri Rotkovitz

  • 01 of 07
    Israeli Hummus
    Hummus topped with chickpeas, olive oil, parsley, and paprika. Credit: Jean-Yves Tran / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Hummus -- that much loved, humble chickpea dip -- is a vital part of the cuisine throughout the Middle East. In Israel, where it's served at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack times, it's practically iconic. Nowadays, you can find tubs of hummus in supermarkets worldwide, in all sorts of flavors. But nothing beats homemade hummus, and it's easier to make than you think!

  • 02 of 07
    matboucha with chips
    Steve Morris, Food52

    Matboucha, a traditional Moroccan dish, is so popular in Israel that it can be found right next to the hummus on grocery store shelves. But the homemade version is easy -- and infinitely tastier. This Matboucha recipe comes from Giora Shimoni's neighbor, Carmit, and can be made spicy or mild, according to your preference.

  • 03 of 07
    Baba Ghanoush, garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley
    Baba Ghanoush, garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley. © Miri Rotkovitz

    Eggplant and tahini are both tremendously popular in Israel, so it's no surprise that ​Baba Ghanoush -- a dip that highlights both ingredients -- is also well loved. Scoop it up with homemade pita or veggies. 

  • 04 of 07
    Israeli Chopped Tomato and Cucumber Salad
    Israeli Chopped Tomato and Cucumber Salad. © Miri Rotkovitz

    This chopped tomato and cucumber salad is so iconic of Israeli cuisine that it has been dubbed "Israeli Salad," and shows up on the table any time of day. It also happens to be perfect for toting along on picnics, and as a side for grilled fare. 

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    Tabbouleh with Chickpeas
    Tabbouleh with Chickpeas. © Anita Schecter

    Tabbouleh Salad, a combination of bulgar wheat, vegetables, and herbs, is a light, tangy and refreshing salad that is especially popular in the homes of Sephardic Jews. It's a great accompaniment to both salads and grilled meat. 

  • 06 of 07
    Grilled Rib Eye Steaks marinated in Lemon, garlic, and parsley
    Grilled Rib Eye Steaks marinated in Lemon, garlic, and parsley. Image Credit: Bob Ingelhart/Getty Images

    Giora Shimoni writes that when it comes to making fabulous marinades, he often seeks advice from his neighbor, E.T. This easy-to-prepare steak marinade is no exception, and "adds super flavor to the meat," per Shimoni. The fresh, piquant combo of lemon and parsley calls chimichurri -- a multipurpose Argentinian condiment/marinade/sauce -- to mind. 

  • 07 of 07
    Israeli Chocolate Cookie Truffles, or Kadorei Shokolad
    Israeli Chocolate Cookie Truffles, or Kadorei Shokolad. © Miri Rotkovitz

    Israelis call these no-bake truffle-like treats Kadorei Shokolad (Chocolate Balls), and they're so easy that making them is a popular preschool activity. But little ones aren't the only ones who love them -- if you've got a thing for cookie butter, you probably will too.