Spice Up Your Summer Barbecue With These Israeli-style Recipes

Check out our tips and tricks to add Middle Eastern flavor to your Fourth of July celebration – or any celebration.

An illustrative photo of meat and vegetables on the grill.
Aviad Herman

You don't really need an excuse to fire up the barbecue in summer, even though there are plenty of good excuses - including Fourth of July, America's Independence Day, which, believe it or not, is celebrated by some in Israel as well.

Like people of many cultures, Israelis love their barbecues, or mangal as it's known locally.

In Israel, barbecues are full of local flavor and style. We've collected some recipes and tips from Haaretz's best food writers to help you bring some Middle Eastern flavor to your next outdoor feast.

Beef kebabs in date and pomegranate molasses, and chicken wings in lemon and olive oil

Israelis are experts in dressing up inexpensive cuts of meat with fancy marinades. You won't find many ribeyes at barbecues in Israel, but you will find lots of nicely seasoned kebabs and chicken thighs. This recipe is inspired by Israeli classics. You'll also find a recipe for chicken wings in lemon and olive oil here. Recipes by Vered Guttman. Get the recipe here.

Beef kebabs in date and pomegranate molasses (R) and lemon and olive oil chicken wings (L). Photo by Vered Guttman

Lamb and roasted eggplant kebab over baba ganoush

Israelis love their kebabs, and they also love their smoked eggplant. Here the two meet in a well-seasoned combination. Recipe by Vered Guttman. Get the recipe here.

Lamb and roasted eggplant kebab over baba ganoush. Photo by Vered Guttman

Beef and date molasses kebabs on cinnamon sticks

Forming these kebabs around cinnamon sticks makes for an impressive presentation, one you can occasionally find at upscale Middle Eastern-style  restaurants in Israel. Recipe by Vered Guttman. Get the recipe here.

Beef and date molasses kebabs on cinnamon sticks. Photo by Vered Guttman

Secrets to well-marinated meat

Haaretz's longtime recipe columnist Doram Gaunt explains the hows and whys of marinating meat, and offers six seasoning suggestions, including a marinade of spearmint, ginger and honey, and a paprika, cardamom and lemon rub. Get the tips and recipes here.

Grilled vegetable salad 

Keep the summer holiday spirit going by tossing your choice of vegetables onto the grill to make this smoky salad. The recipe is flexible - you can use any good-looking vegetables that suit your fancy. Recipe by Vered Guttman. Get the recipe here.

Grilled vegetable salad. Photo by Vered Guttman

Vegetable skewers with lemon-olive oil dressing

These skewers can serve as a side dish for grilled meat, or be enjoyed on their own. Recipe by Vered Guttman. Get the recipe here.

Beet, tomato and eggplant skewers with lemon-olive oil dressing. Photo by Vered Guttman

Coal-baked potatoes with homemade aioli

In Israel, potatoes roasted in a bonfire are a classic food enjoyed during Lag Ba'omer celebrations. These smoky potatoes, with their unforgettable flavor, would pair well with the other offerings from your grill, particularly with this fresh aioli topping. Recipe by Vered Guttman. Get the recipe here.

Lag Ba'Omer kartoshkes. Photo by Vered Guttman

More innovative salad side dishes: Spicy cucumber and radish salad, potato and spinach salad in mustard, and more

In Israel, a barbecue generally isn't just about meat - skewers of meat are often served alongside a generous selection of salads. Haaretz's veteran recipe columnist Doram Gaunt offers seven creative recipes based on Israeli classics. Get the recipes here and here.

Spicy salad of cucumbers and radishes. Photo by Doram Gaunt

Dessert: Fruit skewers on the grill

Get the kids involved in your barbecuing and cooking - you can invite them to mix marinades, form burgers and assemble these fruit kebabs for dessert. The kebabs go straight on the grill, to be served alongside ice cream. Recipe by Rachel Alagem. Get the recipe here.

Photo by Nir Kafri