“A land of wheat and barley, and grapes and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil-olives and (date) honey.” (Deuteronomy 8:8)
Everyone in Israel agrees that Tu B’Shvat is a time to eat fruit. What type of fruit varies from fresh, local fruit to dried fruit imported from Turkey to the seven species listed above. In my elementary school in America, they used to give us rock-hard pods of carob imported from Israel. No wonder I like Tu B’Shvat better here.
This year, I wanted to make a dish that included as many of the seven species as possible, and I came up with this salad. For the base, I debated between bulgur wheat and barley. I opted for the heartier, chewier barley, but it would probably be great with any grain as a base–bulgur, quinoa, couscous, or wild rice. Since grapes aren’t in season, I used raisins, chopped dried dates, pomegranate arils, and olive oil for four more species. Unfortunately, figs tend to be infested with bugs, so I skipped them. There is no wheat in the salad, but we ate it with the challah you see in the picture. 5 species in the salad, 6 in the meal. To balance the sweetness of the fruit, I added fresh, green herbs. The salad is very lightly dressed with just a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of salt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It came out so good that I had to share it, even though Tu B’Shvat is over. To make this into a dairy meal instead of a parve side dish, simply add cubes of feta or Bulgarian cheese.
Species of Israel Salad Recipe
Servings: 6 as a side dish, 1 as main dish
2 cups cooked barley (from about 1/2 cup dry)
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup scallions/green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup cubed feta or Bulgarian cheese (optional)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Cook barley according to package directions. (Mine said to soak for at least an hour, then cook for 45 minutes to an hour.) Allow to cool.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and toss lightly.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.