This is another flavor-packed adaptation of a classic. It was a wonderful way to enjoy the bounty of delicious summer cucumbers. Although this version is lighter than a classic Caesar, I was initially concerned that the dressing may be too potent. No worries! It was perfect.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Zaynab Issa. I modified the method and proportions, used cucumbers from my CSA share, and used harissa instead of Calabrian chile paste. I loved the generous volume of fresh dill.
We enjoyed it with grilled chicken thighs and and roasted potatoes. Great.
For the Crispy-Spicy Panko Topping:
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp Harissa or Calabrian chile paste (or 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)
1 cup panko
1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal)
For the Salad & Assembly:
4 to 6 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T anchovy paste or 5 drained oil-packed anchovy fillets, smashed
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt, plus more (or 3/4 tsp Diamond Crystal)
5 peeled, halved, and seeded cucumbers or 3 European hothouse cucumbers, cut on a diagonal into 1″ pieces
2 oz Parmesan, shaved (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1 cup dill, chopped
To Make the Crispy-Spicy Panko Topping:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
Add the chile paste and stir into the warm oil.
Add panko and salt (and crushed red pepper flakes, if using instead of chile paste) and cook, stirring often, until breadcrumbs are deep golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Transfer spicy breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl; set aside.
Do ahead: Breadcrumbs can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
To Make the Salad & To Assemble:
Whisk garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, anchovies, mustard, and salt in a large bowl to combine.
If using regular cucumbers: peel, slice in half, and seed them. (I used a melon baller to seed them.)
Add the cucumber slices; toss well to coat.
Add shaved Parmesan and top with dill. Gently toss to distribute evenly.
Taste and season with more salt, if needed.
Just before serving, transfer cucumber salad to a platter and spoon reserved spicy breadcrumbs on top. (I reserved some of the breadcrumbs to pass at the table.)
Do ahead: Dressing can be made 3 days ahead; cover and chill. Salad (without breadcrumbs) can be made 3 hours ahead; cover and chill.
Lucky me! My friend gave be several beautiful eggplants from her garden. This flavorful North African vegetarian stew was a perfect way to use them. I served it over whole wheat couscous as well as with warm flatbread to soak up all of the delicious sauce.
The recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com. I modified the recipe to prepare it in my stove top pressure cooker. I also increased the amount of garlic, substituted my CSA beefsteak tomatoes for half of the grape tomatoes, and omitted the harissa. We ate it with steamed CSA broccolini on the side. It was healthy and hearty vegetarian feast.
Yield: Serves 6
4 T extra-virgin olive oil
8 medium to large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cups (1 pint) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or substitute an additional 2 cups (1 pint) grape or cherry tomatoes)
4 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, plus more
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more
2 pounds eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 of a lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve, if desired
1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
harissa, for serving, optional (as a topping for a little spice)
whole wheat couscous, for serving (I cooked 1 cup of couscous per the package directions)
warm flatbread, for serving, optional (I served it with naan)
In a stove top pressure cooker (or a 6-quart Instant Pot), sauté the oil and garlic over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add the onion, tomatoes, ginger, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to release some of their juices, 2 to 4 minutes.
Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping up any browned bits. Gently stir in the eggplant, then distribute in an even layer.
Lock the lid of the pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) in place. Over medium heat, bring to low pressure (first line on a stove top pressure cooker). Cook for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the couscous. Set aside.
When pressure cooking is complete, quick-release the steam by moving the pressure valve to vent. Carefully open the pot.
Gently stir in the chickpeas and lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the cilantro.
Serve over couscous garnished with additional cilantro, drizzled with additional oil (I omitted it) and with warm flatbread and lemon wedges on the side, as desired.
I am a big fan of toppings, so this creamy, earthy, and hearty vegetarian soup caught my eye. It is served over toasted chunks of bread and then garnished with crunchy, spiced chickpeas, lemon zest, parsley, a sprinkle of cumin, and a drizzle of olive oil. I also loved that the soup incorporated a little spice from harissa.
This recipe was adapted from Cool Beans by Joe Yonan, via The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used a stove top pressure cooker to cook the beans which significantly expedited the cooking process. I also served the soup over toasted sourdough boule chunks in lieu of rustic bread. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Crispy Chickpeas:
1 3/4cup cooked chickpeas, or 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1teaspoon za’atar, plus more to taste
For the Soup:
1 1/2cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
1/4cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 1/2teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2loaf hearty rustic bread (about 6 to 8 ounces)(I used 1/2 of a sourdough boule)
1cup chopped onion, from 1 medium onion
6 to 8 largegarlic cloves, minced or finely grated
1tablespoon ground cumin, plus more for serving
1tablespoon tomato paste
1tablespoon harissa paste, plus more for serving
freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 large lemon (about 3 T)
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon (about 1 T), for serving
1/2cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, for serving
To Prepare the Crispy Chickpeas:
Transfer the rinsed and drained canned chickpeas to a rimmed baking sheet lined with a clean dish towel or paper towels.
Cover with another towel (or paper towels) on top, rubbing gently to dry.
Remove top towel and let air-dry for at least 30 minutes and preferably 1 hour. (I let them dry for 2+ hours.)
To Prepare the Soup:
In a pressure cooker (I used a stove-top pressure cooker), combine soaked chickpeas, 5 cups water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon salt over high heat. (Alternatively, use a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot.)
Place the pot over high heat, until the pressure cooker reaches the second ring (high). Adjust the heat to maintain the pressure for 35 minutes. (If using a stockpot, bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until chickpeas are tender, about 1 to 2 hours.)
Remove from the heat and let the pressure release naturally.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
While chickpeas are cooking, cut bread into thick slices, then tear or cut slices into bite-size pieces.
Place bread in one layer on large rimmed baking sheet and toast until crisp and light brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool on pan and set aside.
Finish the crunchy chickpeas: Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Remove the towels from baking sheet with the chickpeas, and toss the chickpeas with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and za’atar until well coated.
Roast until golden and crispy, about 13 to 18 minutes, tossing halfway through. When chickpeas are still hot, sprinkle lightly with more salt. Taste and add more salt or za’atar, or both, as desired.
When the chickpeas for the soup are tender, discard bay leaves.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer 2 cups of chickpeas, 1/2 cup of chickpea cooking liquid and 1/4 cup olive oil to a blender or food processor, and purée until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering.
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon cumin and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add a splash of the chickpea cooking liquid to the pan, and bring to a simmer to deglaze, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Turn off heat.
Add chickpea purée and onion mixture to soup, along with harissa and lemon juice, and stir well. Add a little water if soup seems too thick, and more salt, if needed.
To serve, divide toasted bread pieces among soup bowls, then ladle in soup.
Garnish with lemon zest, parsley, olive oil, more cumin and some of the crispy chickpeas — you’ll have leftovers. Serve hot, with more harissa on the side, as desired.
I must admit that we have been a little bit frazzled lately during our adjustment to the “back to school” schedule. Especially me.
This is the first of several quick weeknight dinners (aka “back to school dinners”) that will hopefully help others in the same situation out there. This recipe was adapted from Mediterranean Every Day by Sheela Prakash, via Food 52.com. I modified the proportions. It gobbled up my CSA box! 🙂
My husband and son ate it over grilled chicken thighs and rice to make it a little bit more hearty. I absolutely loved it served simply over rice.
1 (about 3/4 to 1 pound, or 340 to 454 grams, total) eggplant cut into 1/2-inch (1-centimeter) cubes
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 large yellow onion or 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon (7.5 grams) harissa, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 to 1 pound (340 to 454 grams) plum tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes, chopped (I used a large (3/4 pound) CSA tomato)
1/2 (7.5-ounce, or 212.5 grams) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 bunch (about 4 ounces, or 114 grams) lacinato kale, stemmed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
rice, couscous, quinoa, or bread, for serving, as desired
grilled chicken thighs, for serving, as desired
Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
Add the eggplant, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots but not completely tender. Transfer the eggplant to a large bowl and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil to the pot.
Add the onion and sauté until softened and translucent,3 to 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, harissa, cumin, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, and eggplant and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Simmer, uncovered, until the eggplant is meltingly tender and the tomatoes have broken down into a thick, chunky sauce, 25 to 30 minutes.
Stir in the kale and cook until the leaves are bright green and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Taste and season with additional salt and harissa, as needed.
Serve over rice, couscous, quinoa, or bread with or without grilled chicken, as desired.
This is another incredible and full-flavored grilled meat dish. I used the marinade on boneless, skinless chicken thighs but it would also be wonderful with shrimp or flank or skirt steak according to the original recipe. I love that the residual marinade is cooked down into a sauce for serving.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Molly Baz. I marinated ten chicken thighs but would add up to five more next time. I also used a mixture of harissa and sambal oelek for heat. Fabulous.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger
5 large garlic cloves
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek and/or harissa)
Finely grate ginger and garlic into a medium bowl.
Add coconut milk, chili paste, lime juice, brown sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons oil and whisk to combine.
Add chicken and toss to coat. Let sit at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Remove chicken from marinade, letting excess drip back into bowl, and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
Pour marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2–3 minutes.
Clean and generously oil grate of grill (if there are a few flare-ups while you do so, not to worry, they will burn off).
Grill chicken, turning once and basting occasionally with marinade, until you see some good grill marks and chicken is cooked through, 8–10 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a platter. Brush with remaining marinade. Top with cilantro and serve with lime wedges alongside.
This is a wonderful weeknight sheet-pan dish. It was full-flavored and relatively healthy too. I think I’m in love with crispy roasted chickpeas!
This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.com, where the dish was loosely based on a New York Times sheet-pan chicken dish that I’ve also made and posted. I increased the amount of ground turkey, and meatball seasonings, size, as well as cooking time. I also used cumin seeds instead of fennel seeds.
We ate it with warm naan, brown Basmati rice, and roasted asparagus. The lemony red onions and yogurt toppings were essential and delicious.
Yield: Serves 6
Time: about 1 hour
For the Chickpeas:
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 large red onion, thinly sliced, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Meatballs:
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
3/4 cup panko
6 tablespoons plain yogurt (I used 2% Greek yogurt)
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 large eggs
4 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a garlic press
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
heaping 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, hot paprika, or red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or mint leaves, or a mix thereof, plus more to garnish
3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 3/4 of a lemon)
7 oz (almost 1 cup) plain yogurt (I used 2% Greek yogurt)
toasted pita wedges or naan
harissa or another hot sauce, as desired
brown Basmati rice, for serving, if desired
Heat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
Combine chickpeas, cumin seed, cumin, 1 teaspoon turmeric and half the red onion slices on a rimmed baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Roast for 25 minutes, until beginning to firm/crisp up. (The red onions will start to get very crispy and charred.)
Meanwhile, make meatball mixture. Mix all ingredients- except the ground meat- in a large bowl with a fork. Then incorporate the meat.
Form into 1.75-inch (about 2 T) meatballs, about 15 large meatballs. (I used 3 small cookie scoop scoops for each meatball.)
Remove sheet pan with chickpeas from the oven (leave oven on) and move the chickpeas to the sides of the pan, clearing a space in the center.
Lightly coat center with a thin coat of oil, either brush or spray it on, just to be safe. Position the meatballs in the center of the pan; I made 3 rows of 5 meatballs. Place baking sheet in oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through, about 165 degrees in the center.
Meanwhile, toss remaining onion slices with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Combine yogurt with remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
When meatballs are cooked, scatter remaining fresh herbs over the tray.
Serve with lemony onions and yogurt, toasted pita wedges, rice, and hot sauce, as desired.
We have such a big adjustment- to life!- at the beginning of the school year. I feel like we’re always pressed for time… especially when it comes to preparing a family dinner. I have a few weeknight meals that I’d like to share that have helped us during crunch time. 🙂
This delicious sheet pan dinner was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used ground turkey instead of ground chicken and halved the harissa to decrease the level of spiciness. We ate it with crusty bread. Spicy and Great!!
Update- I’ve made this full-flavored dish with ground chicken as well. Wonderful!
Yield: 4 Servings
3 to 6 tablespoons jarred harissa paste, divided ( I used Trader Joe’s Harissa)
1 large egg
½ cup panko
6 ounces feta in brine plus ¼ cup brine, cheese crumbled, divided (I used sheep’s milk feta)
⅔ cup chopped parsley, divided
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, divided
1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken or turkey
1 pint mixed cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if large
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
crusty bread, for serving, optional
Place a rack in top of oven; preheat to 400°, preferably on convection roast.
Taste your harissa. If it’s extremely spicy, cut quantities used in recipe in half (…which I did!).
Using a fork, stir 1 egg, ½ cup panko, ¼ cup feta brine, half of crumbled feta, half of parsley, 2 T (or 4 T if not halved) harissa, and 2 T oil in a large bowl until egg is blended and mixture looks homogenous.
Finely grate or push 2 garlic cloves through a garlic press into bowl, then add 1 teaspoon salt and several cranks of black pepper. Be pretty generous here; 10 cranks wouldn’t be too much! Stir again with a fork.
Add ground meat to garlic and work with clean hands until the meat is totally intermingled with panko mixture. Work it enough so that you don’t see big distinct pieces of meat, but then stop. Overworking could lead to crumbly meatballs. The mixture will feel very soft and wet and look a bit shiny.
Pour tomatoes and chickpeas into the center of a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 2 T oil and remaining 1 T (or 2 T if not halved) harissa. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Using clean hands or a small spatula, toss everything together right on sheet until chickpeas and tomatoes are evenly coated.
Next you’re going to form the meatballs, but don’t wash your hands if you used them—the coating of oil will prevent them from sticking to your palms. Roll ground meat mixture gently and loosely between your palms into about 14 to 16 golf ball-sized balls (it’s okay if the balls aren’t perfectly round; just try to make them about the same size). (I used a large cookie scoop and kept my hands clean.) Place on baking sheet, tucking them in and around chickpeas and tomatoes and spacing evenly apart.
Bake meatballs on top rack until about halfway cooked through, 12–15 minutes. Remove from oven and take a look. The tomatoes should be starting to soften and burst, and the meatballs should look opaque and feel a bit springy to the touch. If not, bake a few minutes longer.
Meanwhile, combine remaining 3 oz. feta, ⅓ cup parsley, and 2 T oil in a small bowl, then grate or use a garlic press to add in the remaining garlic clove. Toss with fork to distribute. Turn on broiler (to high if your broiler has settings).
Place baking sheet back on top rack if your broiler is on the top of your oven. Broil meatballs, rotating tray once or twice if they’re browning unevenly, until browned and fully cooked through, some tomatoes are lightly charred, and some chickpeas are crisp, 8–10 minutes.
Let sit a few minutes, then sprinkle feta mixture over meatballs.
Note: Meatballs can be formed on baking sheet 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.