I love making this salad when the days get a bit cooler but I still need some color and fresh produce to brighten my day! The spiced roasted chickpeas, zucchini, goats cheese, pomegranate and mint all combine for a middle eastern inspired salad that makes a wonderful and nutritious meal on its own or a perfect side to pretty much anything else you want to serve. You can throw it together really quickly and it keeps well in the fridge so you can make up extra to take along for lunch. Just store the greens separately and combine again when you are ready to serve.
This salad is a little tribute to diversity, freedom and the enriching experience of sharing with other cultures. It is so difficult to fathom what is continuing to happen in the world right now. As an immigrant myself (because I had the chance to have an education people call me an expat, but I find this distinction pointless) I am grateful every day for what I have learned from people with different cultures, backgrounds and stories to mine. At the end of the day we are all more similar than we are different. We share the same human condition. I hope that we can remember that and evolve our society forward in a positive direction, not send it backwards.
Food is a wonderful reminder of how much we have in common and how much we gain by sharing. The joy of a meal shared with loved ones is universal. The wonder of discovering flavours from other cultures nourishes us all. I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do. While you make it why not take the chance to reflect on all the ways your life is richer from the opportunity to share with others who are different to you.
Sending lots of love around the world in these turbulent times.
- 400g Zucchini
- 350g Jar Chickpeas
- 100g (approx. 2 handfuls) Baby Spinach Leaves (or any other greens)
- ½ Cup Pomegranate Seeds (about the amount from half a fruit)
- 50g Soft Goats Cheese or Feta
- 10 Fresh Mint Leaves
- Olive oil
- Herb salt
- Dried Garlic Powder
- Black Pepper
- (optional for when in season) 2 handfuls of Cherry or Small Heirloom Tomatoes
- Spice Mix:
- 1 teaspoon Zataar Mix (you can by this mix pre-prepared, it includes sumac, thyme, sesame seeds and salt in case you want to prepare it yourself!)
- ½ teaspoon Dried Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Powdered Coriander
- ¼ teaspoon Powdered Chili (add more or less to your taste)
- ½ teaspoon Herbed Salt
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Tahini
- 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice (approx. the juice of half a lemon)
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C with fan. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Prepare the zucchini – cut each lengthways and then chop into semicircle pieces, each around a half an inch thick. Place chopped zucchini on one of the lined oven trays. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with herb salt, dried garlic and cracked pepper and set aside.
- Prepare the chickpeas – in a medium mixing bowl prepare the spice mix by combining the spices listed. Open the jar of chickpeas, drain them and rinse them. Pat them dry with paper towel or pour them out onto a sheet of paper towel to remove the excess moisture. Pour the chickpeas on top of the spice mix. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the chickpeas then use a spoon to mix until the chickpeas are evenly coated in the spice mix. Pour out onto the second lined baking tray.
- Place the tray with the chickpeas and the tray with the zucchini in the oven. Roast for about 25 mins until the zucchini is starting to brown and the chickpeas are just starting to get crunchy. You may need to remove the chickpeas about 5 mins earlier than the zucchini.
- While the zucchini and chickpeas are cooking prepare the base of the salad. In a serving dish or salad bowl place the baby spinach. Halve or quarter the tomatoes and place them on top.
- Cut up the feta or soft goats cheese into small chunks.
- If using fresh pomegranate, remove the seeds. Learn how here: https://youtu.be/UoM1Qk0pvm4
- Cut the mint leaves into strips.
- Prepare the dressing – in a jar with a lid add all the listed ingredients. Place the lid on the jar and shake until well combined. Set aside and shake again just before dressing the salad.
- When the zucchini and chickpeas are ready remove from the oven. Layer the zucchini on top of the greens in the serving dish. Sprinkle the goats cheese or feta on top, followed by the chickpeas. Top with the pomegranate and mint leaves. If in season, you can also add some color be decorating with blue cornflowers, or other edible flowers.
- Top with the dressing just before serving.