a totally scrumptious salad: green beans with dukkah roasted chickpeas & pesto dressing

dukkah roasted chickpeas in salad

i was so lucky to find myself standing in Yotam Ottolenghi’s wonderful deli in Nottingham this past summer with my Sahar {cousin-love-sister} trying to narrow down (the hardest part) what to order for a quick lunch. we ended up with way more ahhhmazinngly fresh and tasty food than we could possibly consume (and we can certainly consume a good bit) wrapped in beautiful crisp white boxes to go (the only table of 10 in the back was full of people eating happily with no intentions to leave).Ottolenghi deli Notting Hill we sat on a little wall just outside devouring spiced roasted cauliflowers, grilled aubergine with cucumbers and red peppercorns, mixed beans with dill and coriander seeds, and crushed beetroots with labne and grains of paradise. does it sound as simply delicious, uncomplicated yet sophisticated as it was? i haven’t even started on the desserts yet. maybe it’s best i leave it to your imagination. let me just say i have never seen meringue as large, tasty and beautiful. when we were paying for the food my cousin picked up a jar labeled Dukkah *(see below for more on this Egyptian spice blend) and asked if I’d ever cooked with it. i had not. Ottolenghi deli Notting Hillsaid jar was promptly paid for and tossed in my bag. “i’m sure my cousi will find a great way to use it” she said. well, i finally got around to using the Dukkah in a green bean and roasted chickpea (garbanzo) salad inspired by the genius food we’d shared that glorious sunny day in London. it was such a successful dish: pure and simple, filling, good for you, slightly spicy, crunchy, and really full of flavor. it’s been added to the list of favorites. i’m thinking a fresh jar of Dukkah might be just the excuse for another trip to London. i wish. :-)dukkah roasted garbanzo beans

ingredients for 4-6 servings of salad:

  • 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (see roasted garbanzo bean recipe here-add Dukkah to the beans prior to roasting)-for roasting the beans you will need extra virgin olive oil, spices such as dukkah or cumin and cayenne pepper  for spiciness, sea salt, & pepper (to taste)
  • 2-3 cups cleaned haricots verts (or green beans), cooked for just a few minutes in lightly salted rapidly boiling water (until just tender) and then cooled down in ice bath to retain color and crispness
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (julienned)
  • 1 cup sliced (cubed) ripe tomatoes
  • 4-5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 tbs home made walnut-parsley easto (recipe below)
  • 1/2 of a small lemon or a lime, freshly juiced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup or lightly more crumbled french feta cheese

for the walnut-parsley pesto blend together in a blender with a steel blade:

green bean salad with pesto dressing

 

  • 1 large bunch (1 cup) fresh organic flat leaf parsley
  • 1 small bunch fresh organic basil (about 10-15 leaves)
  • 10-12 raw walnuts
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • a few tsp of water may be needed to add to the blender to soften the pesto

build the salad in a shallow bowl starting with the cold (cooked) beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, chives or scallions, and crumbled cheese. top with slightly cooled but still crisp roasted garbanzo beans. dress with pesto dressing and mix just prior to serving. for the dressing combine 4-5 tbs of the pesto with lemon/lime juice and a few more tsp of olive oil if needed, mix well. taste and adjust seasoning. drizzle over the salad just before serving.

*Dukkah is an Egyptian spice mixture often served (marinated in olive oil) with pita bread. to make your own you will need:

  • 3/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

toast the sesame seeds and hazelnuts in the oven (separately), then combine all ingredients and grind in food processor for 3-4 minutes.

 

 

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orecchiette with (lemony) walnut pesto and roasted butternut squash

for this recipe i’ve combined three of my favorite things to eat: orecchiette pasta (with any sauce, really), fresh home made (lemony) walnut pesto, and roasted butternut squash- they’re being combined to make a light and easy early summer (is it summer yet?) dish that is healthy and really satisfies. roasted butternut squash is amazingly flavorful, hearty, and somewhat sweet-you can add it to any salad, eat it with quinoa or brown rice, or add it to almost any creamy soup for an additional burst of flavor. Continue reading
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turn daily cooking chore to every day pleasure: an oldie (but mostly) goodie

The following is an “article” I’d written for a (small local) publication a while back. It offers some good tips and recipes, although it could use some updating (as we continue to navigate the ever changing and evolving world of healthy eating)!

I love to cook. But I have to admit that over the years, as my life has become busier with kids and work and everything else, daily dinner preparation can seem more a chore than an enjoyable experience. Through my efforts to cook my family healthy homemade meals that all will enjoy and in less time, I have learned a few tricks along the way that save time, reduce stress, and make the process a lot easier (and more fun)! 
A few (rather random) tips: 



Prepare a Weekly Meal Plan. 

Although this may sound a bit boring, it really improves the quality of your meals to have a general idea of what you’ll be cooking for the week before you go shopping. You can adjust your menus depending on what you find at its seasonal best. 

Maintain a Well-Stocked Pantry and Refrigerator. 

If your pantry and refrigerator are stocked with the following staples you will always be able to prepare a delicious and healthy meal in no time: 



In the pantry: olive oil, sea salt, pepper, your favorite spices (cayenne pepper, turmeric, and cinnamon are a must in mine), rice(brown), pasta, dry beans & grains, (never refrigerate) fresh tomatoes (or stewed in jars only, or parmalat brand), flour(organic whole wheat), Quinoa (my personal favorite), organic unrefined coconut oil, fresh ginger, organic raw honey, agave syrup (or non processed brown cane sugar), no sugar added jam, & wine. 



In the refrigerator/freezer: onions, garlic, shallots, celery (organic is a must with this one), carrots, (organic)eggs, dijon mustard, fresh lemons & limes, cheese, milk (we prefer coconut or almond milks), yogurt, potatoes, butter, good vegetarian/chicken/beef broth (preferably home made), (lots of)fresh herbs. 

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