Ina Garten Israeli Salad: Perfect 7 Health Benefits

Ina Garten Israeli Salad is a classic summertime salad that showcases the flavors of what is known among Persian Jews as “Suruga”: Eggplant, tomatoes, and mint with yogurt sauce.

This recipe for this Middle Eastern-inspired dish can also be enjoyed with other vegetables such as cucumbers and bell peppers throughout the year.

What is Ina Garten Israeli Salad?

Suga is a salad commonly enjoyed by Persian Jews (“Bnei Israel”). This summertime favorite is often served as an appetizer on Shabbat and holidays but can also be done as a side dish for lunch or dinner.

Sugar is so popular that it has found its way into many Persian homes and onto most Persian Jewish holiday tables.

How to make Ina Garten Israeli Salad


  • 1 large eggplant (cut into 1/2 inch thick slices)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups finely chopped English cucumber (skin on)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion


1. Place eggplant in a large colander and sprinkle with salt. Place colander in the sink and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse the eggplant under cold water for about 2 minutes, then dry with paper towels.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant and fry the slices until golden brown, turning once until thoroughly cooked eggplant. Set aside and set aside.

3. Clean the pan with 1/4 cup of oil from the original 3 Tbsp you used above. Return pan to medium heat and add remaining olive oil and garlic.

4. Saute for about 3 minutes, then add minced cucumber, onion, salt & pepper blend for 6 minutes or so until vegetables are soft and golden in color. Set aside.

5. In a large bowl, combine the cooked eggplant, cucumber/onion mixture, and half of the mint leaves. Mix well and set aside or serve immediately.

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7 Health benefits of Ina Garten Israeli Salad

1. Suruga is a very healthy and low-calorie dish. The leading cause for concern for people with diabetes, eggplant has many health benefits.

Eggplant contains phytonutrients that include polyphenols, anthocyanins, and other flavonoid compounds.

These compounds help protect your cells from free radical damage, which could lead to certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and degenerative brain diseases. The antioxidant substances in eggplant are not destroyed by heat or cooking.

2. Eggplant is also high in vitamin C, protein, and vitamins A, E, and K. Eggplant is a great source of folate, calcium, and potassium.

3. Eggplant is also very low in fat: only 10 calories per 100 grams, making it a great vegetable option for weight loss.

4. Eggplants are not only high in fiber, but they also help to prevent constipation due to the presence of insoluble fiber (25-50% compared to 15-20% found in most vegetables).

5. Eggplants are also high in potassium, which is excellent for those not getting enough from their diets or if they are on a low sodium diet.

6. Eggplant is also low in carbs! One cup of eggplant has only 8 grams of carbs (only 3 grams of sugar!)

7. Eggplant is a good source of selenium, an essential trace mineral that helps maintain healthy thyroid hormones, which may help with supporting one’s metabolism.

Nutrition facts of Ina Garten Israeli Salad

Vitamin A7%  
Vitamin K5%

Can I Freeze It?

If you’ve ever wondered whether you could freeze Suruga, the answer is yes! Prepare the recipe as usual and store it in an air-tight container/bag.

It will keep up to 6 months in the freezer. To heat, thaw before serving and mix in a bit of olive oil to bring out the flavor.

How to store?

Freeze – up to 6 months

Refrigerate – refrigerator: up to 5 days

Once cooked, refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 5 days and reheat on a skillet or grill until hot.

How to serve Ina Garten Israeli Salad?

You can serve this salad warm, cold, or room temperature. You can also top it with yogurt or crème fraîche. This versatile dish can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or main entree.

Can I use this recipe for a gluten-free diet?

Yes! You can substitute the cucumber and red onion with thinly sliced bell peppers and celery. Just make sure to thoroughly drain off any excess moisture before adding to the salad.

The Bottom Line

I love Ina Garten Israeli Salad because it is light, simple, and easy to make. It is also healthy, low in fat, and has no added sugar.

This salad can be served as an appetizer with some crunchy pita bread, as a side dish with grilled meat or fish, or as a main dish for lunch or dinner.