One of the greatest parts of food blogging is being able to connect with incredible artisans, makers and culinary creators from around the world. And if there’s one thing I’ve seen in this community – there are some seriously talented women out there shaping the way we eat, think, and feel about food! This year, I decided to launch a new series on the Journal to highlight some of the kitchen goddesses out there who inspire me each day with their ingenuity of ingredients and artful presentation of nourishing cuisine. The “Seasonal Recipe Share” series will give us a peek inside each bloggers home recipe box and the many ways they each connect with their health through seasonal eating and living.
This month I’m over the moon about our special guest, Christine Zakhour of Thyme & Toast! This girl not only happens to be a fabulous cook in the kitchen, but she’s also one of my dearest friends from college. Our kitchen days go way back to hosting dinner parties in our dorm rooms. Part Lebanese/part Syrian, she introduced me to the wonders of za’atar, labneh and other Middle Eastern dishes that I consider life staples now (like this tabbouleh recipe). Though we’re states apart now, I get to enjoy Christine’s culinary creations now through her new blog which takes a modern, plant-based approach to Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Welcome Christine and her roasted chickpea & kale chopped salad …
Thank you to my sweet friend, Claire, for inviting me to share a recipe on her beautiful website. Claire and I have known each other since our college days. We met in DC and immediately hit it off freshman year. We both had a passion for cooking and general health and wellness and some of my fondest memories from those days include our weekly trips to the farmers market and cooking together, which often meant getting creative in our tiny dorm and DC apartment kitchens.
Although fall is quickly approaching, I’m clinging on to every last sweet moment of summer. It’s always been my favorite season and warm weather is in my blood. Growing up, my parents would take me and my siblings to their home countries of Lebanon and Syria every summer. Fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables are plentiful there – whether it’s on the side of the road or in a small market, you’re likely to find the sweetest fruit and most flavorful vegetables of your life. Those summers are what taught me to appreciate seasonal produce. It’s truly impossible to match the flavor, vibrancy, and joy of eating in season. When in season, fruits and vegetables are as they’re meant to be – the right size, texture, flavor. Not to mention, buying in-season produce is more budget-friendly. Lastly, there’s the joy of visiting farmers markets and buying locally, from meeting the farmer who grew my vegetables to backwards planning meals based on whatever exciting produce is featured at the market.
While I can’t always find certain vegetables, spices, or dishes here that I grew up eating and loving in the Middle East, I do my best to create recipes that replicate flavors that feel familiar and stir fond memories of traditional foods found there. This kale salad is one of my modern takes on a traditional Middle Eastern meal: falafel. It has the familiar spices, vegetables, and crunch, with a couple additions and tweaks. The seasonal highlights of this recipe are radishes, cucumbers, green onions, and tomatoes (and kale!). They all come together in a salad with chickpeas with homemade falafel seasoning roasted until crispy, pita chips, mint and parsley, and a lemon tahini dressing. I make this salad often and alternate between using romaine and using kale – whichever I have on hand or am in the mood for.
FALAFEL-INSPIRED KALE SALAD
Roasted Chickpeas 1 1/2 cups chickpeas or 1 15.5-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried very well
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
optional: a pinch of allspice and pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. Create the spice mix by combining the cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, onion powder, allspice, and pepper. Add chickpeas to a baking sheet (without any spices or oil) and roast for 10 minutes on the middle rack. After 10 minutes, remove the pan and toss the chickpeas with olive oil and spice mix. Put the chickpeas back in the oven for 15-25 minutes or until browned and crispy, checking on them every 10 minutes to ensure they aren’t burning. Remove from oven and set aside.
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
warm water to thin (2-4 tablespoons)
To prepare the dressing, combine all ingredients, adding water until it reaches desired consistency and is pourable.
10 ounces (~5 cups) or one bunch kale, chopped
3 radishes, thinly sliced
2 persian cucumbers, halved length-wise and sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
Pita chips (store-bought or homemade)*
In a mixing bowl, massage kale with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Add desired amount of dressing and toss well. To serve, divide kale and toppings (chickpeas, cucumbers, radishes, tomato, and pita chips) among dishes, drizzle with more dressing, and sprinkle with mint and parsley.
Notes: To make homemade pita chips, slice pita into triangles and brush each side with olive oil. Bake in oven at 400F for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until crispy.