Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Israeli-Style Salad with Crispy Chickpeas


Salad and summer go hand in hand. When the sun is shining and temperatures soar, a crunchy, refreshing salad is wonderful, even for breakfast. This month for Tasting Jerusalem, we’ve been focusing on all the brilliant salads that are featured in Jerusalem. Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi share an abundance of creative, tempting recipes and it’s been such a treat to explore them.

A salad that caught my eye was the Spiced Chickpeas and Fresh Vegetable Salad. Diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, red pepper, radishes and herbs are served alongside a generous helping of well-spiced, fried chickpeas. I’ve had this recipe marked for months now and when I learned of July’s theme I couldn’t wait to make it.


The salad is similar to a traditional Israeli one, which typically includes tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley or cilantro and onions, and is a staple in our household. I decided to change the recipe up a bit and use some herbs I had on hand. In place of the customary parsley and cilantro, I chopped up fresh mint and lemon thyme for a pop of summer flavor. Inspired by another salad recipe in Jerusalem that I’ve enjoyed, I added kohlrabi in place of the radishes for more crunch. I also like to include diced pickles in my Israeli salad (something I learned from my dear friend, Iris) so I went ahead and chopped a few up. Speaking of chopping, when making a salad like this, it’s important to have a small, even dice for both the texture and look.


Rather than frying the chickpeas, I roasted them in the oven since this is one of my favorite snacks and I liked the idea of using them in a new way. Tossed with cardamom, cumin, sumac and a pinch of salt, the chickpeas emerged fragrant and toasty from the oven. If you like to nibble as I do, I’d recommend making extra chickpeas or you may not have any left for the salad!


I was very pleased! There’s a lot going on with the flavors and textures in this pretty salad. After drizzling olive oil and a squeeze of lemon over it, I sprinkled the chickpeas on like croutons. I was even able to use large tomatoes from our garden. (In July! I just have to pause here and say large, ripe tomatoes in July are a first ... we usually only get little Sungolds in late July and the bigger ones in August and September. Truly a glorious time.) And if you’re looking for some breakfast inspiration, this salad is divine served with a couple of hard boiled eggs and plain yogurt on the side.

Israeli-Style Salad with Crispy Chickpeas
Serves 4 generously
Adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook
By Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

1 cup cooked, drained chickpeas
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sumac
A pinch of flaky sea salt
1 English cucumber, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
2 large tomatoes, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
4 medium sized pickles, preferably a bit spicy, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
12 ounces (6 small) kohlrabi, peeled and cut into a 1/2 inch dice
1/2 of a red onion, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
10 sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves removed
1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Dry the cooked chickpeas well by rolling them between 2 kitchen towels. This will help them get crisper. On a small, rimmed baking sheet drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chickpeas and roll them around to coat. In a small bowl, combine the cardamom, cumin, sumac and a pinch of sea salt. Sprinkle this mixture over the chickpeas and toss them gently to coat. Roast the chickpeas until they are crispy, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a large serving bowl, combine all the veggies and herbs. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Just before serving, scatter the chickpeas on top.

32 comments:

  1. Oh you never cease to amaze and inspire me Hannah. What a wonderful spin on this salad. I am yearning for enough time at home to prepare anything - I am not ready for July to end - I have too many salads to make!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Beth! I'm not ready for July to end either...I think this Jerusalem salad theme will continue well into August. Too many good ones to try! And now I'm excited for the baharat spice mix theme. :)

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  2. You had me at "crispy chickpeas..." I saw this recipe in the book but didn't know what sumac is or where to get it. The only thing I know as sumac has the word "poison" in front of it. Can you give me a hint?

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    1. Hi Brooke! Sumac is a deep red spice with a tart, rather lemony flavor. It can be found at Whole Foods, Penzeys or perhaps Goodies Market (on Lake City Way). Since discovering it, I just love adding it to dishes for a bright pop of flavor and pretty color. I hope you enjoy it!

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  3. I love the idea of the roasted chickpeas for both flavor and texture! Thinking I oughta make some as bar snacks this weekend! And do you just use regular dill pickles?

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    1. Roasted chickpeas would make an excellent bar snack, Michelle! I usually use Israeli pickles (sold in cans in Mediterranean markets) which are a bit spicy, but dill pickles would be great, too. I like the briny pop of flavor they add.

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  4. This is my favorite flavor profile. I like how you roasted the chickpeas - I will try that.

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    1. Thanks, Lynda! I hope you enjoy the roasted chickpeas - definitely a favorite snack of mine. I hope you're having a terrific summer!

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  5. Israeli salad is one of my most favorite salads - I love the tweaks here, perfect summer meal! And, I can't believe you have ripe tomatoes already - that is amazing!

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    1. Isn't Israeli salad marvelous? It does make a lovely summer meal. I sometimes add feta, too. It was a very happy surprise to see red tomatoes! I just picked some Amish paste tomatoes and I'm hoping for a few more soon for canning - my new adventure this summer. :)

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  6. Looks gorgeous and the perfect summer salad. I've never roasted chickpeas; that will end soon, they look so good.

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    1. Thank you, Barb! I think you'll like the roasted chickpeas - such an quick, delicious snack. You can mix up the spices, too, to your taste. :)

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  7. This is beautiful Hannah! What a perfect summer salad and a great way to use our summer produce. I especially like your herb substitutions and the chickpeas! They look divine. I think I'll make those to keep on hand for a snack. Hugs to you my friend!

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    1. Thank you so much, Karista! I just love this season with all the fresh herbs exploding. And I think you'll like the roasted chickpeas - such a tasty snack. You can mix up the spices depending upon your mood, too. I hope all your packing is going well! xo

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  8. Sounds really good Hannah, adding pickles is such a wonderful idea and those crispy chick pea's . What a lovely salad, a perfect summer meal.

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    1. Thank you, Suzanne! I love the briny pop of flavor that the pickles add. I hope you're enjoying a wonderful summer!

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  9. Wow, what a great summer salad! This has got flavor, variety, nutrition - and makes such great use of fresh produce. I love the idea of this for breakfast, too. Really nice - thanks.

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    1. Thank you so much, John! When we were in Israel we ate lots of salads for breakfast and I loved it, especially during the summer. I hope you enjoy it!

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  10. This is beautiful. I love that it has texture and flavor. Great addition of pickles for a hint of sour. This is really a great way to celebrate the season. Gorgeous photography too. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Amanda, I appreciate your kind words! Lots of flavor and texture going on here - I just love summer salads. And the pickles do add a marvelous sour, briny taste. When my friend served them in her salad years ago I was sold and have done it ever since.

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  11. Wonderful salad which has tipped me over the edge :) ! Have meant to buy 'Jerusalme' for absolutely ages. . . but ANOTHER cookbook? Well, as soon as I click off this post, the order will be in! Thanks for the nudge!!!!

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    1. I'm happy to give a nudge, Eha! This really is a marvelous book. I know what you mean about another cookbook, but having cooked over 25 recipes from this one so far I can highly recommend it. I hope you enjoy it! And please come join our Tasting Jerusalem group - we'd love to have you. I'm happy you stopped by. :)

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  12. Oh, yum! I'm in such a lunch rut right now; this would be perfect for packing in lunches during the week! Roasted chickpeas are so delicious. I've never had sumac, but I have an (unopened!) jar of sumac-based Za'atar (there are different kinds, I guess...some aren't made with sumac) in my pantry that I can't wait to use.

    I am getting so eager for my tomatoes...my brandywine plants bloomed earlier this month, but then all the blossoms dropped! They're blooming again, and I am hovering over them to make sure they fruit this time. My Sungolds have been doing just fine, and there's many of them. Tomato time is my favorite time!

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    1. Thank you, Brianne! Tomato season is a beautiful time indeed. I hope your Brandywine plants are doing well. I just picked some Amish paste ones to can (my new summer venture) and am hoping for more soon.

      Roasting chickpeas with your za'atar would be divine! Sumac has a lovely tart, bright flavor. I definitely recommend trying it if you come across it.

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  13. Hannah, this salad looks absolutely beautiful, and I would happily eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or possibly even all three. Love the look of those spice roasted chickpeas - think I would definitely need to make a double batch :-)

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    1. Thank you so much, Sue! When we were in Israel we ate different salads for breakfast and I was inspired - such a delicious way to start the day. I hope you enjoy the roasted chickpeas and you can use different spices to suit your tastes.

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  14. How fabulous and fresh and perfect for summer! I adore fried chickpeas...have never tried roasting them but sounds easier and healthier, so I'll do that next time. YUM!

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    1. Thanks, Erina! Roasting chickpeas is indeed easier - just pop them in the oven and stir a couple of times. Such a tasty snack! I hope you're still basking in the Kitchen Circus glow. xo

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  15. Oh wow, Hannah! This looks sooooo good. I love crispy chickpeas and keep them around a lot as a snack. I love this salad with them. It's perfect for summer!

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    1. Thank you, Susan! I hope you're enjoying a marvelous summer. :)

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  16. I'm pretty sure I say this often, but I can't help it. I always love your ingredients shot! Make me want to try the recipe and love looking at fresh ingredients in cooking. Beautiful salad, Hannah!

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    1. Thank you so much, Nami! I'm loving all the beautiful, fresh ingredients that summer offers. What a glorious season! I hope you're enjoying a delicious summer. :)

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