This salad was fresh, bright, colorful, and loaded with flavor. I loved the crunch from the pomegranate seeds too. We ate it as part of our Middle Eastern feast along with grilled chicken thighs, Hummus, Baked Rice, Deconstructed Baba Ghanouj, and warm naan. Delicious!
This recipe was adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi via The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I made my own za’atar spice blend and omitted the mint. It would be a lovely side with any grilled meat. Perfect for a picnic too.
For the Za’atar:
- 1 T thyme
- 1 T sesame seeds, toasted in a dry skillet and coarsely pulsed in a spice grinder
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1/4 tsp coarse salt
For the Salad:
- 2 pints mixed small or cherry tomatoes, of varying colors
- 2 teaspoons za’atar (see above)
- 3 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- seeds from 1 pomegranate (I used a 5.3 oz package of pomegranate seeds)
- ½ yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and very thinly sliced
- ½ small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- ⅓ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chiffonade (I omitted the mint)
- freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 of a lemon)
- flaky sea salt such as Fleur de Sel
- 3 ½ ounces manouri or feta cheese, broken into small chunks
- Make the Za’atar: Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until lightly toasted. Pulse in a spice grinder until a powder is formed. Combine with sumac, thyme, and coarse salt. Set aside.
- Halve or quarter the tomatoes so that they are all roughly the same size, and place them in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix two teaspoons of the za’atar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and set aside.
- To the bowl with tomatoes, add the pomegranate seeds, sliced pepper and onion, the herbs, lemon juice, cheese, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Gently mix the salad, then transfer it to a large shallow bowl or serving platter. Drizzle the za’atar mixture over the salad and serve.
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