We can all admit that there are certain American products that we miss here in Israel. Whether it’s American cheese, Trader Joe’s spices, or just that amazing mascara, everyone’s got items they try to bring in whenever they can. But if you’ve tried to get a package from a cousin or friend in America recently, you’ll know it’s not as easy as it used to be. There are far fewer people traveling, and with the same amount of requests for packages, it just can’t be done. With this on my mind, I ventured out to find some new Israeli products to replace my comfortable American ones – and was pleasantly surprised! It’s totally worthwhile to be fully sustained on products from the land and not be reliant on things that are only available across the globe. Here are some recipes and ideas using Israeli products that you might find yourself pleasantly surprised with as well!
Rice Crispie Treats
You may not be so partial to the thin crunch of the Israeli rice crispies, and more used to the small American puffs. While you may like that better for your breakfast cereal, I have an amazing rice Krispie treats recipe with the Israeli brands. This recipe also includes the natural, runny, Israeli peanut butter found in the big green container. This peanut butter is nothing like the thick creamy brands you may have grown up with, but that’s no reason not to adapt this new brand into your recipes and sandwiches.
Healthy rice Krispie treats
- 2 cups natural peanut butter (B & D company)
- 1 and 3/4 cups honey (add more to taste, depending on how sweet you like it)
- Half a bag of Rice crispies (B & D company)
- 8 squares Parve chocolate
In a non-stick pan, melt peanut butter and honey together on a low flame until runny and well blended.
Turn off the heat and add rice crispies until you’re happy with the ratio: more for a crispy treat, and less for a gooey snack.
Flatten into a foil pan.
Place parve chocolate into a plastic bag, and put the plastic bag into a cup of hot water until the chocolate is fully melted. Rip a small hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle over the top of your rice crispie treats.
If you’ve been in this country long enough to have come out of bidud, you’ll know that our people are obsessed with Chummus. It goes in every sandwich, salad, or falafel. A delicious recipe that can enhance your Shabbos table is Chummus Basar. This pairs nicely with Israeli salad as well. You’ll feel very patriotic and your guests will be asking for more!
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 diced onion
- ½ lb ground beef
- ½ small can of tomato paste
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp paprika1 tsp Tumeric
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- ⅛ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chopped parsley (optional)
Fry onion. Then add beef and brown. Then add spices.
Serve warm on top of warm chummus.
Nuts and seeds are almost a staple here in Israel. You’ll see them sold in practically every food store in the country. With the variety of sunflower seeds, watermelon seeds, pumpkin seeds, tens of flavors of halva, and a whole array of different nuts- candied or not- you’re bound to find a favorite! They’re fun to snack on, and a great conversation boost. When you buy the seeds, you’ll feel the “chill” that comes along with it. While it’s not a recipe per se, you can work these into your meal as part of a dessert. Pick out your favorite seeds, halva, and nut blends for something quick, easy, and deliciously Israeli.
The first time I heard of Shakshuka was in seminary – and I was a little confused. This was nothing I’d ever seen before, but I quickly learned that it’s an all-time Israeli favorite. There are whole sections of shakshuka to choose from in dairy restaurants and cafes across the country. To win your husband’s (or anyone’s) heart over with a fancy homemade breakfast, check out these recipes below for the authentic thing.
I also came across a little trick – Osem Shakshuka sauce- that lets you skip about half the steps. You can find this sauce near tomato sauce and other rotevs in any grocery store. Don’t forget some warm pitas or laffas for dipping!
Apple juice concentrate
Apple juice concentrate is sold in large jars. Simply mix with water (or mint Schweppes, try it) to make your own drinks. It’s like Petel, but natural and healthy. Apple juice concentrate is also a great sweetener that you can use instead of sugar! Here is a recipe from Kosher.com for sugarless fruity mini muffins
- 2 cups flour
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup apple juice concentrate
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 tablespoon Haddar Baking Powder
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 large pears, cubed, or 2 apples and 2 pears, cubed
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional; can substitute walnuts or raisins)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until you get a uniform mixture. Transfer to mini-muffin tins, filling two-thirds of the way. Bake for 10–13 minutes, or until the muffins are golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Israeli dairy products can take a while to get used to. Besides the Hebrew names, some products are totally different then the American ones you know. Gvina livana is loosely translated as “cream cheese” but it’s not the same! This is most important to keep in mind when making cheesecake. If you use classic Israeli products in an American recipe you’ll end up with a disaster. Follow specific recipes for Gvina Livana to come out with heavenly desserts!
- 250 g 5% Gvina Livana
- 250 g 9% Gvina Livana
- 1 c sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 T flour
- 1 T vanilla
Mix and pour into pie crust
Bake on 175 for 30 min
Turn off the oven and leave in for few hours
Refrigerate and eat 2 days later.
Hope these recipes help you get started on an Israeli product journey of your own!