Home Food THE SHABBAT TABLE: Cook in Israel – from anywhere!

THE SHABBAT TABLE: Cook in Israel – from anywhere!

Orly Ziv's Cook In Israel

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom!

Food lovers no longer have to visit the colourful markets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to enjoy the captivating tastes of a fresh Mediterranean menu—unless they can visit the Shuk Machane Yehuda, which will be visiting Toronto this September 10th at Wychwood Barns on Christie. Mark your calendar for a day full of flavours, scents, and the sounds flying here directly from Israel from one of its best-known culinary and cultural landmarks, Shuk Machane Yehuda. Go here for tickets and information.

Meanwhile, if you want to get in an Israeli culinary frame of mind, you can explore some of the scrumptious recipes found in Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration with Orly Ziv. Cook in Israel is packed with delicious, easy-to-follow recipes, bringing the flavours and colours of Israeli food to kitchens all over the world.

Drawing on her Jewish-Greek heritage and the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours of her Tel Aviv home, Orly Ziv focuses on fresh flavours and simple techniques that are suitable for Shabbat, weeknight meals, or easy entertaining.

Filled with 100 delicious recipes, plus beautiful colour photographs throughout, along with many step-by-step illustrations, Orly’s message in Cook in Israel is that healthy and appealing home cooking doesn’t need to be time-consuming or complicated. Her recipes use familiar, easy to find ingredients, helping readers make beautiful meals simply and quickly.

Orly explains: “Enjoying a Mediterranean diet is easier than many think. One can use typical ingredients in a new way and discover that simple changes lead to amazing results!” Most of her recipes require 30 minutes or less to prepare.

You’ll find recipes for all the Jewish holidays, along with unusual dishes and familiar favourites. Orly’s background in nutrition, combined with her strong passion for cooking and baking, will inspire readers to explore delicious Mediterranean meals that are healthy, flavourful, and easy to prepare.

Cook in Israel was a winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2013 for Best Cookbook Photography.

Here are some tasty ideas for your upcoming Shabbat table. Enjoy!

Stuffed peppers with rice from Cook in Israel


Stuffed vegetables are hugely popular in Israel and this is a dish that you can find at workingman restaurants and Shabbat tables across the country. On Fridays, one can smell it cooking throughout Orly Ziv’s building. She prefers small peppers for stuffing as opposed to the large ones.

6–8 assorted peppers

For the Filling:

1 cup Persian rice

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

Salt & pepper

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 tsp ras-el-hanout (Morrocan spice blend)

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)

For the Sauce:

500 g/1 lb tomatoes, grated (or substitute canned tomatoes)

2 cups boiling water

1 cup beer or white wine

2 Tbsp sugar (optional)

Salt & pepper

1 Tbsp sweet paprika

1/2 Tbsp hot paprika (optional)

  1. Prepare the peppers: Cut the caps (reserve them) and remove the seeds.
  2. Rinse the rice and soak it in lukewarm water for 20 minutes.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry onions until translucent.
  4. Add the rice, salt, and pepper and cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, ras-el-hanout, and pine nuts (if using).
  6. Fill the peppers with the rice mixture and arrange in a pot.
  7. Mix together the sauce ingredients and pour over the peppers. Cover with the reserved caps.
  8. Cook over low heat, covered, for about 1 hour. Remove from the heat and serve.


  • Instead of 1 cup rice in the filling, use 1/2 cup rice with 500 g/1 lb ground meat or 1 cup cooked lentils.


This recipe is the superstar of any culinary tour in Israel. Although you can use canned chickpeas, if you want to make authentic hummus you must start with dry chickpeas. It takes a little bit of forethought but is not that much more work and it’s worth it.

2 cups dried chickpeas

1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters

5 cloves garlic

1 bunch fresh parsley (optional)

1 tsp cumin (optional)

4–5 Tbsp tahini

Juice of 1 lemon


Olive oil


Coarsely chopped parsley leaves

  1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. Change the soaking water at least once.
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, put in a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water. Add the onion and garlic and bring to a boil. Simmer until the chickpeas are tender, 2–3 hours. (Alternatively, cook in a pressure cooker for at least 1 1/2 hours after it starts to boil.) Add the parsley and cumin to the cooking water if you like.
  3. Drain the chickpeas and remove the herbs, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
  4. Set aside 1/4 cup of the chickpeas. Grind the remaining chickpeas along with the cooked onion and garlic in a food processor or with a hand blender.
  5. Gradually add tahini, lemon juice, and salt until you have a smooth, uniform paste. Slowly pour in reserved chickpea liquid until the desired consistency is reached.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Pour into a bowl and serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil, the reserved chickpeas, paprika, and coarsely chopped parsley leaves.


  • Make green hummus by adding 1/2 bunch fresh parsley and 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro.

Tip: You can freeze the cooked chickpeas and cooking water separately in small quantities and defrost before make your hummus.


Tabouleh from Cook in Israel

A quintessentially Middle Eastern grain salad, tabouleh is light, fresh, and colourful. Pomegranates and radishes are not typical additions, but when they’re in season they beautifully complement the other ingredients and make the salad pop visually. Orly learned to season her tabouleh with cinnamon and allspice from an Arab friend.

1/2 cup fine bulgur

1/2 cup hot water

1/2 cup lemon juice, plus more to taste

4–5 spring onions, sliced

2–3 tomatoes, finely diced

1 cucumber, finely diced

3 cups finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup finely chopped mint

5 Tbsp olive oil

Salt & pepper

Za’tar, sumac, or cinnamon and allspice

Pomegranate seeds (optional)

  1. Soak the bulgur in hot water and lemon juice for about 20 minutes. Drain and put in a serving bowl.
  2. Add the spring onions, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice to taste, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with za’tar or sumac, or a mixture of cinnamon and allspice.
  3. Taste for seasoning and add more olive oil or lemon juice if needed. If it’s too dry, add more lemon juice. Toss well, cover and let sit for and hour or two at room temperature (don’t refrigerate as the freshness of the herbs will be lost).


  • Substitute the bulgur with couscous.
  • For gluten-free tabouleh, use shredded cauliflower instead of bulgur.

Tip: Add some finely diced radishes for a crunchy texture.

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of 12 cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is, “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website www.gourmania.com or email her at [email protected]

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, cookbook editor and now a podcaster. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at gourmania.com..