This quick and easy salad was based on the idea that I could prepare a protein rich vegetarian salad packed with flavor and color. I also wanted to avoid a salad with any sort of liquid dressing but still get a good lemony flavor. I realized that I might be able to avoid adding fresh lemon juice or vinegar but get the acidic taste in the salad and keep it dry at the same time by using Za’atar. Za’atar is like magic. Za’atar is one of my favorite Middle Eastern spice blends that commonly contains sesame seeds, salt, sumac and dried herbs like oregano, thyme and marjoram. By sauteing the chickpeas and the mushrooms and then adding freshly cut scallions and gorgeous sweet red peppers, the salad was able to have delicious crispy crunch in every bite. This salad could be accompanied with pita bread or you could even toss in some crushed toasted pita chips.
za’atar chickpea salad
yield: 4-6 servings
1 tablespoon extra virigin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 cups of chickpeas, soaked overnight or 2 cans of chickpeas
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1 tablespoon Za’atar
1 cup chopped fresh scallions – both green and white parts
1 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/2 cup freshly chopped mint leaves
salt and pepper to season
1. In a skillet, heat up the olive oil on a high flame and saute the garlic for 30 seconds to release the flavors.
2. Rinse and drain and the chickpeas and add them along with the mushrooms and saute for about 6-7 minutes.
3.Toss in the Za’atar and take the skillet off the flame and keep aside to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, add the rest of the vegetables, followed by the cooled chickpeas and mushrooms. Garnish with the fresh mint and season with salt and pepper as necessary. Serve the salad at room temperature or chilled.