DIY Israeli Breakfast

Israeli breakfast, shakshuka

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it looks different all over the world. Brits load up with a heavy plate of fried sausages, eggs, bread, and beans; the Japanese eat noodles in broth; the Dutch start the day with buttered white bread loaded with dark chocolate sprinkles or peanut butter.

Wherever you’re from, we can agree on one thing: there are few things as pleasurable as a truly decadent, delicious, pull-out-all-the-stops breakfast – and Israeli breakfasts are truly extraordinary.

Israeli cuisine is somewhat unique in that it’s made of the best parts of both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods. It makes amazing use of fresh fruits and vegetables, gorgeous grassy olive oil, and excellent bread, combined with moderate amounts of farm-fresh dairy and eggs.

Anyone who has stayed in an Israeli hotel will know the spectacular breakfast show put on by Israeli chefs. You’ll find assorted bread rolls, tables laden with differently flavoured soft cheeses, a range of hard cheeses made from different milks, some fish options, eggs (in any form from a classic or green shakshuka to piles of fluffy scramble to boiled and sliced to custom omelette stations), and a mouth-watering array of fresh salads.

This incredible variety of dishes makes Israeli breakfasts stand up head and shoulders above the rest. Creating the same extravagant feast at home is completely out of the question for most of us.

The small-scale take on this morning fiesta is the “Israeli breakfast” option offered at kosher restaurants world over. It’s pretty ubiquitous: you choose how you’d like your eggs to be cooked, and they arrive with a bread basket, some juice, a coffee, a bowl of chopped “Israeli” salad, and a range of little dishes filled with a range of cheeses and spreads.

These cold winter months are the perfect time to gather the people you love for a lazy Sunday morning brunch in a warm kitchen – and an Israeli breakfast spread is guaranteed to make everyone happy!

It’s also a great option if your friends and family have different dietary requirements: there are so many salad options that vegans will be happily satiated; the eggs, salads, and cheese options mean your gluten-free friends won’t even think about bread; eggs, salads, and wholegrain breads mean clean-eaters will be happy too!

Here’s a suggested menu for your DIY Israeli breakfast:

  • Shakshuka (eggs poached in a rich tomato sauce)
  • Omelettes (if you have a portable electric cooking ring, this is a great option for any breakfast: prepare bowls of toppings like chopped herbs, cheese, sliced mushrooms, so everyone can custom-cook their own omelette)
  • A big plate of scrambled eggs
  • Pashtida – kind of a cross between a crustless quiche and a frittata
  • Cream cheese – a favourite Israeli flavouring is shum-shamir – garlic and dill – or a little sumac and olive oil
  • Hard cheeses – Israelis often serve sliced washed-rind goat’s cheese and smoked gouda
  • Bread rolls (with butter and jam – tomato jam is popular in Israeli restaurants)
  • Chopped salad – cucumbers and tomatoes are mandatory; peppers, shredded lettuce, and red onion optional. Serve with a generous grating of pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Dips and spreads – we love tahina, pesto, olive oil-lemon juice as they can all be salad dressings too!
  • Olives! Israelis love their olives, especially those prepared with lots of lemon and herbs, or chilis and garlic
  • A few salads – keep it simple with fresh chopped greens, marinade feta with olive oil and herbs, or stir roasted veggies into mixed leaves and top with crumbled cheese and pomegranate seeds. Get adventurous with your veggies – they’re the highlight of a breakfast feast!
  • Juice – orange, grapefruit, and carrot are all popular in Israel, and freshly made is tastiest
  • A large pot of coffee
  • Seasonal fruits and cool yoghurt for dessert

Enjoy your delicious DIY Israeli breakfast!