Cooking Israel

Gargir HaGalil Watercress Salad

Tags: Food

By Paul Nirens

Watercress, or Gargir Nahalim,“grain of the river” in Hebrew, is a native plant to northern Israel, particularly the Galil region. It is considered one of the oldest leafy vegetables to be eaten by humans. The plant closely resembles arugula, and is from the same plant family as mustard and radish - likewise, it is known for having a somewhat sharp flavor. Enjoy this Galilee green in the following salad from Galileat.


  • 1 bunch watercress (or arugula)
  • 1 onion, sliced thin or diced small
  • 1 sweet red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 sweet yellow pepper, cut into strips
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup best quality olive oil (no compromise here)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sumac


  1. Slice the watercress/arugula into pieces as large or small as you like to eat it.
  2. Add the onion and peppers and mix well.
  3. Add the lemon juice and olive oil, a little salt and pepper and mix well.
  4. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sumac and 1 teaspoon of cumin and toss again.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of sumac over the top and serve.

Added ideas to boost your Israel flavor!


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About the Author

Paul  Nirens
Paul Nirens has lived in the Galilee region for over 30 years, and is the owner and founder of Galileat. Galileat grassroots cultural experiences include Galilean cooking workshops, home hospitality and meals in a local Galilean village, traditional Jewish cooking experiences, market tours, full-day culinary tours and more.

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Tags: Food