When I think of delicious Middle Eastern food, I think of the Israeli-born British chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Ottolenghi captured my heart and taste buds years ago with that gorgeous photo of roasted eggplant with buttermilk and pomegranate on the cover of Plenty, and now my kitchen shelves are lined with his cookbooks. That eggplant dish was the first recipe of his I made, and it was the first time I’d ever used za’atar spice.
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice made up of dried thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, sumac and salt. Deliciously nutty, it’s perfect sprinkled on roasted vegetables and meats or on yogurt or olive oil as a dip for pita.
Inspired by Ottolenghi and the upcoming holidays, I decided to make a Middle Eastern spiced quinoa salad, complete with eggplant, pomegranate and pistachios, topped with a lemony za’atar vinaigrette. This dish is vegan friendly and gluten-free to accommodate all your holiday guests. Looking for a creamy, salty component to round out the dish? Add some crumbled feta cheese on top for a vegetarian version.
Your family and friends will appreciate this flavorful, lightened-up holiday side dish. Packed with plant-based protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants like vitamin C, this salad is brimming with nutrition and flavor. Plus, it’s easy to make the day before to save you time and sanity on the actual holiday. Read more