Yotam Ottolenghi’s summer salads – recipes (2024)

Whenever I hear the word “salad”, I always think chopped salad. Specifically, the kind I had almost every day while growing up, which was based on two much-loved ingredients: tomato and cucumber.

What makes them (together or apart) the building blocks of just about all summer salads across the eastern Mediterranean is that, at their best, they require nothing but a splash of olive oil to give a concentrated dose of freshness.

They also meld exceptionally well with other ingredients – from nutty freekeh and cooling yoghurt to creamy tahini – to make some seriously complex dishes for any sunny meal.

Tomato salad with lime and cardamom yoghurt (pictured above)

Properly ripe, wonderfully sweet tomatoes should simply be put on a pedestal and left to be enjoyed and admired. The second-best thing you can do with them is to make a salad. This one combines sweet, sour and salty notes, and is best served with warm bread to scoop up the tomatoes and soak up their juices.

Prep 15 min
Cook 5 min
Serves 4 as a side

70g Greek-style yoghurt
50g soft, rindless goat’s cheese
½ small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1-2 limes – zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 1½ tbsp
15 cardamom pods, shells discarded and seeds finely crushed in a mortar
1 large green chilli, finely chopped (pith and seeds removed if you prefer less heat)
500g ripe, sweet cherry tomatoes, halved (or any other great tomatoes you can get)
1 large banana shallot, peeled and finely sliced
60ml olive oil
10g mint leaves, roughly torn

Mix the yoghurt, goat’s cheese, garlic and a pinch of salt in a large bowl until smooth. Add half the lime zest, half the cardamom and half the chilli, and stir to combine. Set aside an eighth of a teaspoon of the remaining crushed cardamom, to serve.

In a second bowl, mix the tomatoes, shallot, lime juice, two tablespoons of oil and half a teaspoon of salt with the remaining lime zest, cardamom and chilli. Add the yoghurt mixture and most of the mint, and stir gently, but not too much – you want still to be able to see the red of the tomatoes and green of the mint in parts.

Transfer to a platter, drizzle with the remaining two tablespoons of oil, finish with the remaining mint and cardamom, and serve.

Freekeh tabbouleh

Yotam Ottolenghi’s summer salads – recipes (1)

This non-traditional tabbouleh has a higher proportion of grain to herbs than normal and uses freekeh instead of bulgur; these adaptations make it heartier and more substantial.

By all means use bulgur, if you prefer, but if you do go with freekeh, use the cracked kind, rather than the wholegrain variety, which takes much longer to cook.

To get ahead, cook the freekeh up to a day ahead, but assemble the salad only just before serving. I like this with roast chicken or grilled halloumi, but it can also form part of a meze spread.

Prep 15 min
Cook 35 min
Cool 30 min
Serves 4 as a side

75ml olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
150g cracked freekeh
¾ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and black pepper
1½ cucumbers (500g), deseeded and cut into ¼cm-thick half-moons (350g net weight)
1 small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
2 tbsp cider vinegar
30g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
20g mint leaves, roughly torn
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sumac

Put a tablespoon and a half of the oil in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 90 seconds, until lightly coloured, then add the freekeh, allspice and cinnamon, and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds more. Add 270ml water, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, turn the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, then leave to sit, still covered, for another 15 minutes. Remove the lid and leave for about 30 minutes, to cool completely.

Put the cucumber, onion, vinegar and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt into a large bowl and toss to combine. Leave to pickle for about 20 minutes, then add the cold freekeh, herbs, lemon juice, remaining three and a half tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well, then transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with the sumac and serve.

Cucumber salad à la Xi’an Impression

Yotam Ottolenghi’s summer salads – recipes (2)

Xi’an Impression is a tiny restaurant around the back of Arsenal football stadium. It’s tremendously popular with Ottolenghi chefs for its big flavours based on a brazenly liberal use of chillies, vinegar, soy sauce and oil.

Its cucumber salad, which always appears first on the table, is the loose inspiration for this dish. The dressing can be made up to a week ahead and kept refrigerated – just stir again to loosen it, adding a little water, if need be.

Prep 10 min
Cook 10 min
Marinate 2 hr
Serves 4 as a side

700g cucumbers (ie, roughly 2 large cucumbers), quartered lengthways
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tsp rice-wine vinegar
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tsp flaked sea salt
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 spring onions
, trimmed and finely sliced on an angle
½ tbsp black sesame seeds

For the dressing
60g tahini
2 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari, to make the dish gluten-free)
1½ tbsp mirin
1½ tbsp rice-wine vinegar

Scoop out and discard the watery centre and seeds from the cucumber quarters, then cut the flesh widthways into chunky, 2cm-thick pieces. Put the cucumber in a bowl with the garlic, vinegar, lime juice and three teaspoons of flaked sea salt, then mix with your hands, lightly crushing the cucumber pieces as you do so.

Gently heat the oil in a small saucepan until warm – about two minutes – then pour over the cucumber and leave to marinate for two hours.

Whisk all the dressing ingredients and two tablespoons of water until you end up with a very smooth sauce (it will seize up a bit to start with, but persevere and it will come together smoothly).

Pour the tahini mixture on to a large plate with a lip, so it naturally pools into a circle in the middle. Drain the cucumbers very well, discarding the liquid, then pile on top of the sauce. Scatter over the sliced spring onion and the sesame seeds, and serve at once.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s summer salads – recipes (2024)


What is an Ottolenghi salad? ›

by Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi. from Jerusalem. Crisp and fragrant, this salad combines lemon, tarragon, capers, garlic, spring onions, coriander and cumin seeds to bring its base of of yellow beans, French beans, and red peppers to life.

What is summer salad made of? ›

VEGETABLES: Cucumbers, radishes, onions, and tomatoes give this salad color, crunch, and texture. Add other veggies like corn, green beans, beets, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, or cauliflower florets. DRESSING: Vinaigrettes always start with a base of acid (like vinegar or lemon juice) and oil.

What is Ottolenghi food? ›

From this, Ottolenghi has developed a style of food which is rooted in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean traditions, but which also draws in diverse influences and ingredients from around the world.

Are Ottolenghi recipes difficult? ›

We cook a fair amount of Ottolenghi recipes at home, because he's one of the regular food writers in our regular newspaper (The Guardian). They are usually fairly simple recipes that focus on a good combination of flavours - even as home cooks, they're not nearly the most complicated things we make.

What is the Bella Hadid salad? ›

Bella's salad is made with a base of arugula topped with cucumber, bell pepper, avocado and parmesan cheese. The best part (she says not to skip it!) is the balsamic glaze on top.

What is the Jennifer Aniston salad? ›

Jennifer Aniston's Quinoa Salad took the internet by storm for good reason! Made with quinoa, garbanzo beans, feta cheese, pistachios, fresh herbs, and a simple lemon vinaigrette … this flavorful and crunchy salad is one of the best I've ever had. Packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats …

How long does summer salad last in the fridge? ›

How long does salad last in the fridge? Stored correctly, an average salad will last up to five days in the fridge. Any longer than this, and you'll start to see soggy, wilting leaves. Stored incorrectly, and you could be looking at no more than a couple of hours!

What is the most popular salad ingredients? ›

A typical salad starts with raw greens, such as lettuce, spinach, kale, mixed greens or arugula. However, you can also add several other raw vegetables. Some popular raw veggie toppings include chopped carrots, onions, cucumbers, celery, mushrooms and broccoli.

Why is Ottolenghi so popular? ›

The deli quickly gained a cult following due to its inventive dishes, characterised by the foregrounding of vegetables, unorthodox flavour combinations, and the abundance of Middle Eastern ingredients such as rose water, za'atar, and pomegranate molasses.

Is Ottolenghi a Michelin star? ›

So far, his books have sold 5 million copies, and Ottolenghi - although he has never even been awarded a Michelin star and without being considered a great chef - has successfully blended Israeli, Iranian, Turkish, French and, of course, Italian influences to create a genre that is (not overly) elegant, international, ...

How many recipes are in Ottolenghi Simple? ›

In Ottolenghi Simple, powerhouse author and chef Yotam Ottolenghi presents 130 streamlined recipes packed with his signature Middle Eastern–inspired flavors, all simple in at least (and often more than) one way: made in 30 minutes or less, with 10 or fewer ingredients, in a single pot, using pantry staples, or prepared ...

What can I add to my salad to make it interesting? ›

Add spices and flavours such as paprika, chilli flakes, curry powder, harissa or parmesan. Add acidity or sourness with vinegar, lemon juice or pomegranate molasses to transform your salad.

What is the salad that stimulates appetite? ›

An appetizer salad should stimulate the appetite and have fresh, crisp ingredients such as cheese, ham, salami, shrimp, crabmeat, or vegetables lightly coated with a tangy, flavorful dressing (that will 'wake up the mouth').

Are Ottolenghi recipes vegetarian? ›

Essential for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, Plenty features more than 120 recipes organized by ingredient. One of the most exciting talents in the cooking world, Yotam Ottolenghi's food inspiration comes from his Cordon Bleu training, Mediterranean background, and his unapologetic love of ingredients.

Does Ottolenghi eat meat? ›

If anything, Mr. Ottolenghi — tall and dapper, with salt-and-pepper hair, half-rim glasses and a penchant for pink-striped button-downs and black sneakers — should be a vegetarian pinup. But here's the rub: he eats meat. Apparently this is enough to discredit him in the eyes of the most devout abstainers.

Why is it called Waldorf salad? ›

Waldorf salad is named for the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City, where it was first created for a charity ball given in honor of the St. Mary's Hospital for Children on March 13, 1896.

Why is it called Israeli salad? ›

It was adopted by Jewish immigrants to the Levant in the late 19th century, who found the locally grown Kirby cucumbers and tomatoes in popular local salad. It was popularized in the kibbutzim, where the Jewish farmers had local fresh produce at hand. The name Israeli Salad is used mainly outside of Israel.

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