Vegan Dishes for Your Israeli Independence Day Barbecue

These vegetable-based dishes can be a surprising showstopper on a day dedicated to grilled food.

Smoked carrot 'sausage.'
David Bachar

Believe it or not, but smoky barbecues and insane quantities of meat were not always part of the Israeli Independence Day celebration. These traditions were adopted over the years, most likely as part of the Americanization seeping into Israeli culture, including food culture, inspired by Americans’ July 4 tradition. 

Yet more and more Israelis are put off by the idea of a meat-centric barbecue, and even from eating meat or animal products in general, whether for reasons of health, ideology, environmental or social considerations. With that in mind, it seems necessary to adapt our Independence Day traditions to the new zeitgeist - with lots of good flavor, but no meat.

In recent years, the number of vegans, vegetarians and those who simply want to eat less meat has spiked in Israel. The thought of a meatless Independence Day becomes relevant for nearly everyone as a result - you wouldn’t want to let your vegan or vegetarian guests be stuck eating only salads. 

These dishes will let you make a surprising, delicious show of vegan food that everyone will enjoy, with slightly unexpected ingredients. Shirel Berger, the chef of new vegan restaurant Miss Kaplan, presents these dishes that are sure to be showstoppers.

Smoked carrot “sausage”

This carrot dish, served sausage-style, is the flagship dish at Miss Kaplan. The restaurant version is smoked for hours and served atop a steamed Vietnamese-style bun with toppings such as spicy flaxseed aioli and pickled purple onion. This recipe is a simpler version, adapted for home cooks. You can serve with the toppings of your choice. 

Serves 4:

Ingredients:

4 medium-size carrots, peeled

For marinating:

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons whisky
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Atlantic sea salt

Directions:

Mix the marinade ingredients. Place the carrots into a container and pour the marinade on top, so that the carrots are fully covered. Marinate in the refrigerator for 12 hours, flipping the carrots every few hours. 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit).

Wrap the carrot in tinfoil, place on a rack in the oven and grill for about 30 minutes, until the carrots are soft. Put the carrots aside for your barbecue at this point.

Once the barbecue is hot, remove the carrots from the tinfoil and grill for 3-4 minutes per side. Serve in a bun with lettuce, onion and sauces of your choice.

Charcoal-grilled Jerusalem artichoke

It’s traditional to grill potatoes under the coals, but Jerusalem artichokes are the next big thing for your bonfire. A barbecue grill full of hot charcoal will work just as well. 

Charcoal-grilled Jerusalem artichoke.
David Bachar

Ingredients:

500 grams Jerusalem artichoke, peels intact, well washed and sliced open
1/2 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, smashed
7-8 branches of fresh thyme
3-4 branches of fresh oregano
1 teaspoon coarse salt

For serving:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1 green chili pepper, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Atlantic sea salt and ground black pepper
Mint and parsley leaves for garnish

Directions:

Spread some tinfoil on a work surface and place the artichoke on it. Top with oil, garlic, herb sprigs and salt. Mix with your hands so that the artichokes are fully covered with oil, and seal well inside the tinfoil.

When the barbecue is hot and full of hot coals, place the tinfoil packets so that they are covered on all sides with hot coals. Grill for 30-40 minutes, until the artichokes are completely soft. 

Remove the artichokes from the foil, and place in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, toss well and serve topped with the mint and parsley leaves.

Potato salad with celery, olives and cherry aioli

If you can find Ratte potatoes, that makes this recipe all the better.

Potato salad with celery, olives and cherry aioli.
David Bachar

Ingredients:

For the salad:

800 grams potatoes, preferably Ratte, unpeeled
4 celery stalks with leaves, diced
1/4 cup Tassus olives, pits removed
1 purple onion, cut into strips
1 red chili pepper, cut into rings
1 big bunch of parsley

For the aioli:

3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup canola oil 

Directions:

Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Add salt, and bring the water to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, until soft but not falling apart (check with a fork). Drain and cool. 

Put all of the aioli ingredients, except for the oil, into the bowl of a food processor. Blend for a minute until uniform. With the blender running, add the oil in a thin drizzle, until you have a thick, creamy emulsion. 

Chop the potatoes into chunks and place in a bowl. Add the remaining salad ingredients and the aioli. Mix gently and serve.