Raw Zucchini & Chickpea Salad with Tahini Yogurt

I loved everything about this beautiful salad. We ate it with Turkish Grilled Chicken– such a wonderful meal. It was one of the best zucchini dishes I’ve ever made.

This recipe was adapted from Milk Street, contributed by Elizabeth Mindreau. It was re-created from a salad served at Coal Office, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant in London.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • about 3/4 to 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 T tahini
  • zest from 1 large lemon, plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp plus 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small shallot, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp za’atar
  • 2 small/medium zucchini (12 to 16 ounces total), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced on a steep diagonal
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
  • ground sumac, to serve, optional
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon zest and juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, stir together the chickpeas, shallot, vinegar and za’atar. Cover and microwave until the shallot is wilted, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Uncover and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. (see Tip)
  3. When the chickpeas have cooled, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the zucchini, mint, dill and cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the chickpea-zucchini mixture to a platter, spooning it around the edge.
  5. Scoop the yogurt mixture into a mound in the center of the chickpea-zucchini mixture.
  6. Drizzle with additional oil and sprinkle with sumac, if using.

Tip: Don’t forget to cover the bowl containing the chickpeas and shallots when microwaving. Covering traps steam that helps wilt the shallots and soften the chickpeas. And remember to occasionally stir the chickpea-shallot mixture as it cools. This helps ensure the chickpeas evenly absorb the seasonings pooled at the bottom of the bowl while also hastening the cooling.

Eggplant & Tahini Dip (Mutabal)

This roasted eggplant dip is similar to baba ghanoush. In Jordan it is called mutabal, mutabbal or moutabbal. It was silky, creamy, and delicious.

This recipe was adapted from Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Courtney Hill. I modified the method and proportions and omitted the pomegranate seeds. We ate it with warm naan.

According to Milk Street, restaurants in Jordan often top the dip with a simple tomato-cucumber salad. We ate it without the additional topping but may try that next time. 🙂

Yield: Serves 4

For the Mutabal:

  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 T tahini
  • 2 T boiling water
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated, or pushed though a garlic press
  • 3/4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • about 2 T fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 T pomegranate seeds, optional
  • 1/2 T pomegranate molasses
  • warm flatbread, such as naan, for serving
  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  3. Cut the eggplant in half and pierce the skin several times with the tip of a knife.
  4. Coat each half all over with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil.
  5. Set the eggplant cut side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast until collapsed, wrinkled and blistered all over, 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 20 minutes.
  7. With the eggplant still on the baking sheet, trim off and discard the stem.
  8. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh from the skin onto a cutting board; discard the skins.
  9. Finely chop the eggplant but don’t break it down to a puree; it should retain some texture.
  10. In a medium bowl, stir together the tahini and boiling water.
  11. Add the roasted and chopped eggplant, garlic and lemon juice; stir until well combined. Mix in the parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  12. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with pomegranate seeds, if using, pomegranate molasses, and garnish with parsley.
  13. Serve with warm flatbread. Top with tomato-cucumber salad, if desired. (recipe below)

For the Optional Tomato-Cucumber Salad:

Yield: about 3/4 cup

  • 1/2 medium ripe tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 Persian cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  1. Combine ingredients while eggplant is roasting.

Weeknight Chicken Shawarma with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

Even though I have a tried and true recipe for this family favorite, I couldn’t resist trying another version- especially a Milk Street version. 🙂 It did not disappoint! It was more flavor-packed and spicy than the recipe I’ve used in the past. This shortcut version uses the broiler to cook the chicken and does not require advance preparation or marinating time. Great.

This recipe was adapted from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Rose Hattabaugh. I used the suggested amount of hot paprika but would only use half next time. (It was spicier than I had anticipated!) The delicious yogurt-tahini sauce offset the spiciness nicely. Serving the chicken with rice and warm naan also balanced the meal.

For the Spice Mix:

  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 2 tsp hot paprika (or 1 tsp hot paprika with 1 tsp sweet paprika)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the Chicken:

  • 5 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T tahini
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 5 large)
  • 1 medium-large red onion

For the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce:

  • 1 tsp Spice Mix (reserved from above)
  • 8 oz (1 cup) plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek whole milk yogurt)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T tahini
  • grated lemon zest from 1 lemon (about 1 tsp)
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T chopped fresh mint
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve:

  • chopped mint, for garnish
  • warm flatbread such as naan or pita, optional
  • rice or rice pilaf (I served the chicken over brown Basmati rice)
  • chopped cucumbers (seeded, if desired)
  • chopped tomatoes
  • lemon wedges, optional

To Make the Spice Mix:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper.
  2. Measure 1 teaspoon of the mix into a medium bowl; set aside. This will be used in the Tahini-Yogurt Sauce.

To Prepare the Chicken:

  1. Trim the chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Cut each thigh crosswise into thirds (or fourths if large).
  3. Cut the red onion in half. Slice 1/2-inch thick. (I cut the onion into 12 slices.)
  4. Into the remaining spice mix, whisk the olive oil, 1 T tahini, and 2 T lemon juice.
  5. Add the chicken and onion pieces to the spiced olive oil mixture. Mix until coated evenly. Set aside.
  6. Preheat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heating element. (I set my oven to Broil+Max @500 degrees.)
  7. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat with cooking oil spray. While the broiler preheats, make the yogurt sauce.

To Make the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce:

  1. To the reserved teaspoon of spice mix, add the yogurt, 1 T olive oil, 2 T tahini, lemon zest, 1 T lemon juice, and 2 T fresh mint.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir and set aside.

To Cook the Chicken & To Serve:

  1. Transfer the chicken-onion mixture, along with the marinade, to the prepared baking sheet. Distribute in an even layer.
  2. Broil until the chicken is lightly charred on both sides, 18 to 20 minutes, flipping the pieces once about halfway through. (I also rotated the pan halfway through.)
  3. While the chicken is cooking, cook the rice. (I served the chicken over brown Basmati rice.) Cut the cucumbers and tomatoes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven.
  5. Place the rice in an even layer in a shallow serving dish. Top with chicken and onions; drizzle with pan drippings. Sprinkle with chopped mint.
  6. Serve with lemon wedges, warm flatbread, chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, and yogurt-tahini sauce.

Ottolenghi’s Deconstructed Baba Ghanouj

This is the final part of our amazing Middle Eastern feast that I would like to share with you. Even though baba ghanouj is typically an appetizer, we really could have eaten this dish as a complete meal! We gobbled it up with warm naan.  Our spread was complete with grilled chicken thighs, Tomato and Pomegranate Salad, Hummus, and Baked Rice. SO so SO good.

This recipe was adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi via The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I used 3 eggplants and charred them on a gas grill. I loved the use of fresh oregano as a garnish because my home-grown oregano has completely taken over my herb garden! 😉

  • 3 large eggplants, approximately 2-3 pounds
  • flaky sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 plum tomatoes, roughly grated
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • warm naan, for serving
  1. Char the eggplant. Prick surface of the eggplant in multiple places with a fork to release steam when cooking. To cook on a stove, place each eggplant directly over an open medium flame, and cook for 15 or 20 minutes, using tongs to turn the eggplant a number of times, until the skin is charred all over and the flesh is soft and smoky. To cook on a gas or charcoal grill, place the eggplants on the grill, and cook over medium-high heat, using tongs to turn the eggplant until the skin is charred all over and the flesh is completely soft and smoky.
  2. Remove the eggplants from the heat, and place on a rack to cool and drain, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel away the skin, leaving the stalks intact, and place them on a large plate.
  3. Using your fingers, coax each eggplant into a fan shape, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and drizzle with a tablespoon of tahini.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the grated tomato in a medium bowl with the garlic, oil, lemon juice and another pinch of salt. Spoon the mixture over the eggplants and tahini, leaving some of the eggplant visible, and then sprinkle with the oregano leaves and a final dusting of salt.
  5. Serve with warm naan.

One Year Ago:

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Baba Ganouj

IMG_4770

I make (and eat!) TONS of hummus. When having friends over for a Middle Eastern themed meal, I made this fabulous classic appetizer to serve alongside hummus. My husband and I could devour an entire bowl if we allowed ourselves! It reminded me that I need to make it more often- even though it takes much longer to prepare than hummus. This is my favorite recipe, adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. We served it with pita chips, flatbread, sugar snap peas and baby carrots for dipping.

For the “Base”:

  • olive oil or cooking spray
  • 1 medium (7-inch) eggplant
  • 3-4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sesame tahini
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper & cayenne, to taste

For the “Mix-In” Addition:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 cup finely minced onion
  • 10 oz mushrooms, minced
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray or lightly oil.
  2. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, and place face-down on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until very tender. Cool until comfortable enough to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the “mix-in”. Heat 1 T olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, mushrooms and salt and sauté 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Remove the mushroom mixture from the heat and stir in the fresh dill. Set aside.
  4. Scoop out the cooled eggplant pulp, and discard the skin. Place the pulp in a food processor, and add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt, and pepper. Puree until smooth.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the mushroom mixture. Cover tightly and chill.
  6. Before serving, the top can be drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with chopped parsley. Serve with crackers, pita, flatbread and/or crudités.

Hummus

Hummus

We usually have hummus around as a dinner alternative for my daughter.  When she objects to what is being served, she is always agreeable to have hummus with vegetables and flatbread.  We also serve it as an appetizer, and eat it on sandwiches with lettuce and shredded carrots. I always use the recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook – a gold standard. I make 2 modifications to this recipe- I add some of the bean liquid to make the hummus more creamy, and I warm the beans in their liquid in the microwave for 2 minutes before pureeing.  Melissa Clark, a New York Times food writer, suggested warming the beans to make the hummus more creamy- it really works.

  • 2 medium cloves of garlic
  • a handful of parsley or basil
  • 1 scallion, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas (warmed)
  • 3 T tahini
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cayenne, cumin, paprika, to taste
  1. Place garlic, parsley/basil, and scallion in a food processor or blender, and mince.
  2. Add chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, some of the bean liquid, and salt, and puree to a thick paste.
  3. Season to taste, if desired, with cayenne, paprika, and cumin (and correct the salt if necessary).  Transfer to a tightly lidded container and chill.

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