18 Recipes for a Jewishly Inspired Independence Day Menu

Deborah Rood Goldman


Fire up the grill, Independence Day is coming! Add a little bit of Jewish flavor to your American celebration with one of these original, Jewish-inspired recipes from ReformJudaism.org. And if you’re not doing the cookout thing this Fourth of July, don’t worry: These recipes are a delicious delight all summer long.


  • Israeli Green Salad with Strawberries: Israel's Ramat Hasharon was once famous for its strawberry fields, though now only a few remain. This bright salad from Chef Orly Ziv highlights the fruit.
  • Orange and Fennel Salad"Combining fruits and vegetables in salads is very Israeli," Ziv writes. This recipe pairs orange and fennel for an unusual flavor combo. 
  • Summer Barley Salad: Writes ReformJudaism.org Food Editor Tina Wasserman, "One summer I created this recipe combining herbs in my garden with store produce. To make the salad more substantial, I used pearled barley as a chewy base." It also includes Mexican mint marigold tastes.
  • Ottoman Watermelon and Olive SaladThis recipe comes from the region of the world now associated with Turkey, where there has been a Jewish presence for nearly 3,000 years. Wasserman writes, "I first tasted this wonderful combination of flavors on the island of Santorini in the Adriatic Sea. As bright as the iconic sun-drenched, white stucco walls and blue domed rooftops are on this island, this dish is vibrant with color and flavor to match its surroundings."
  • Chicken Salad Veronique with AvocadosThis cold salad, featuring Israel’s summer bounty, is perfect for a hot summer’s day. French recipes titled Veronique signify the inclusion of grapes. 


  • Vegan Mediterranean Grilled TofuThis dish combines both cooked and raw vegan items, including some of the most flavorful ingredients in the Mediterranean cuisine. Chef Mark Reinfeld advises that extra-firm tofu holds up best on the grill.
  • Moroccan Chicken KebabsWhether served as part of an assortment of mezes, or small plates, or laid on a bed of couscous as part of a Moroccan meal, kebabs can be found throughout the Middle East and North Africa. This method of cooking and the use of spice demonstrate the recipe’s migration westward with the Moors.
  • Ktzitzot (Israeli Chicken Patties)Pan-fried ground-meat patties, especially from poultry, are one of the most beloved Jewish Israeli comfort foods (the other is chicken schnitzel). The term ktzitzot comes from the verb “to grind”; choose whole parts and ask your butcher to grind them freshly for you.
  • Israeli Fish Kebabs with Yellow Tahini Yogurt SaucePacked with fresh herbs, these fish kebabs are bursting with flavor. Writes Chef Orly Ziv, "Change the ingredients or spices to create your own flavors, because there's no such thing as failure in the kitchen, only learning experiences."
  • Grilled Fish with Spice Rub: Create a little excitement on your grill with a spice rub that captures the tantalizing taste of the Near East. Be sure to choose a firm fish for grilling so it won’t fall apart.
  • Shishlik (Meat Kabobs)The simple method of preparing meat on an open grill goes back to ancient biblical times. To this day, shishlik is one of the most popular dishes requested at restaurants.

Side Dishes

  • Middle Eastern Cucumber Pickles: Making pickles can consume countless hours - but not with this recipe, which takes only about 20 minutes to make and only two days of waiting time. The addition of ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon gives the pickles a subtle Middle Eastern flavor.
  • Pasta with Salsa CrudaItaly is home to the oldest, continuously inhabited Jewish community in Europe - and the original Caprese salad is a staple at Roman Jewish restaurants. This pasta dish is a variation of the famous insalata Caprese and must be made with the freshest and sweetest produce and soft mozzarella.
  • Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese and HoneyThis dish, typically eaten at On Tu BiSh’vat, includes many of the Seven Species, an upscale, modern version of the fruits and cheeses that Middle Easterners enjoyed thousands of years ago. It is best when figs are at the height of ripeness. 


  • Vegan Gel Fruit FlagHeaded to your congregation's Independence Day-themed Shabbat oneg? Brighten your holiday buffet and celebrate Old Glory with this festive, healthy dessert. Kids will love helping to assemble it!
  • Blueberry Pie: Nothing says summer like a fruit pie! This one is adapted from "Cousin Joan's Elegant and Easy Blueberry Pie" recipe found in the Garden City Jewish Center's cookbook, Sharing Our Favorites.
  • Chocolate Chip Cappuccino BrowniesYou'll be surprised to read the back-story of these brownies, which relates to the expulsion from Spain and Portugal at the end of the fifteenth century- and Chef Tina Wasserman says it's her daughter's favorite item to receive in a care package from home.
  • Mini Blackberry TartsURJ Camp Kalsman, a Reform Jewish summer camp in Arlington, WA, serves a different dessert every evening. Without fail, the chadar ochel (dining hall) erupts into cheers when carts full of mini blackberry tarts are rolled out of the kitchen. These desserts are best eaten with 319 of your closest friends - but for that, you'll have to join them at camp!