Lentil and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Feta and Tahini

Another lovely tasty and healthy meatless salad. Enjoy!

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Scant 1 cup dried green lentils (Puy or Casteluccio, if you can find them) picked and rinsed over. (or buy the vacuum packed cooked lentils in the supermarket and skip this whole cooking stage)
2 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
2 fresh sage sprigs
2 tbsp olive oil

For the dressing and salad
2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 large garlic clove
Salt (Maldon or another flaky sea salt if you’ve got it)
2 tbsp well-stirred tahini paste
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
2 tbsp plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

1 and 3/4 cups drained garbanzo beans (chickpeas,from a 15-ounce can)
1/2 small preserved lemon, pith and flesh discarded, rind finely diced (optional)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
A handful of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1/4 cup Greek feta cheese
1 1/2 tbsp raw sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan until a shade or two darker

Make the lentils: Put the lentils, garlic, sage, and olive oil in a small pot, along with 2 cups cold water, and set it over medium heat. Let the water come to a simmer (not boiling), then turn the heat to low and cook the lentils in a very gentle simmer just until they are tender (about 25 to 30 mins and you might need some extra liquid near the end) Take the pan off the heat and let the lentils cool a bit before draining them. Pick out and discard the sage and garlic. You’ll have about 2 cups cooked lentils.

Make the dressing: Mix together the ground coriander and cumin in a small bowl. Mash the garlic clove to a paste with 1 tsp salt (use half as much Kosher salt, even less table salt) on a cutting board or in a mortar. In a small bowl for your dressing, combined the mashed garlic, tahini, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, 1 tsp of the ground coriander-and-cumin mixture and 2 tbsp water. Stir well, then taste. Add more lemon if desired.

Assemble the salad: Place onion slices in a medium bowl and break them up with your fingers. Sprinkle in two good pinches of salt, then two teaspoons of lemon juice, two remaining teaspoons of olive oil and the cilantro or parsley. Toss well, then crumble in the cheese and gently toss again.

Toss the lentils with the drained chickpeas, preserved lemon rind (if using), and 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (use half as much Kosher salt, even less table salt) in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the tahini dressing and toss it all together really well, then stir in the onion-feta mixture.

Arrange the salad in bowl or platter. Sprinkle the mixture with the sesame seeds and some of the remaining spices. Serve

Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crispy Garbanzo Beans and Salted pistachios

I just love non-meat dishes these days especially with the temperature so warm. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I do fantasize about being one.
This is another beauty of a recipe and simple to make.

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Garbanzo beans
1 3/4 cups cooked Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp well-stirred tahini
2 tbsp water, plus more if needed
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Roast chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the chickpeas with one tbsp olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated.
Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed.

Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning; don’t worry if it tastes a little sharp on the lemon, it will marry perfectly with the sweet grated carrots.

Assemble salad: Place the grated carrots in a large bowl and toss with the parsley. Mix in 2/3 of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas (you’ll have extra and if you’re like us, won’t regret it) and the pistachios and dig in.

Do ahead: Salad keeps well in the fridge for two days, however, I’d add the chickpeas and pistachios right before serving, so they don’t get soft

Middle Eastern Hummus

Middle Eastern Hummus

Everyone needs a good recipe for hummus and as soon as you make it, you’ll wonder why you spent so much money buying it!

1 cup of good quality chickpeas (soaked overnight in twice the water volume and a pinch of baking soda)
or, if time doesn’t allow to soak, use a good quality tin of cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
2 tsp roasted cumin seeds (roast in a frying pan until fragrant)
1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste with a little salt
4 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
About 6 fl oz of good olive oil
** You can also add some fresh chopped chili for more flavor

Place the soaked chickpeas in a large pot and fill with fresh water, cook for about 45 to 60 mins until they are tender. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid.
Place the chickpeas, cumin seeds, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of reserved cooking liquid in a food processor. Add about 3 fl oz of the olive oil and process, for a minute. Then add extra olive oil and cooking liquid to this mixture to get a smooth consistency.
Salt and pepper to taste

Sesame-Ginger and Cucumber Soba Noodles

Gorgeous!! Soba noodles tossed with scallions, cucumber and a light yet creamy sesame -ginger tahini sauce.

8 oz soba noodles (about 2 bundles)
1 large or 2 small English cucumbers
1 bunch scallions (green onions), chopped (about 3/4 cup, chopped)
1/3 cup tahini<
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp white miso
2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
A handful fresh cilantro, chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sesame seeds, (preferably black)
sea salt, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the soba noodles until al dente, according to the package directions. (Do not over cook them) Drain and rinse under cold water.
Using a chef’s knife or better yet, a julienne peeler, slice the cucumber into long skinny strips. Toss out the super-seedy inside strips. Then you can slice the remainder into 3 inch long strips or leave them long.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, rice vinegar, ginger, miso, soy sauce, sesame oil, cilantro and red pepper flakes. Once blended, whisk in water until you reach your desired consistency.
Toss the soba noodles in the sesame-ginger sauce. Toss in the cucumber strips, scallions, sesame seeds and extra cilantro if desired.
Season to taste with salt or more soy sauce.
This dish is best served promptly, as the salt will draw out the water from the cucumbers and dilute the flavors.

Warm Squash & Chickpea Salad with tahini sauce and cilantro.

This is a warm, filling, vegan salad. Lovely flavors and earthy.

Serves 4
2lbs butternut squash or other winter squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp olive oil
seal salt and black pepper
14 oz canned or home-cooked chickpeas, drained
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (soaked in cold water for 15 mins if you want to soften the bite)
4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt
3 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp tahini paste
2 tbsp water, to taste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat the oven to 425 F

Toss the squash with the garlic, allspice, olive oil, some salt and pepper.
Place on a baking tray, optionally lined with parchment, in the oven for 25 minutes or until soft.
Remove and allow to cool slightly.

While the squash is cooking, make the tahini sauce. Mix the crushed garlic with lemon juice and add the tahini.
Now thin with the water and olive oil and check for seasoning.
You should taste a balance between the nutty tahini and the sharp lemon.

To assemble  the salad;  Place the squash, chickpeas, red onion and cilantro in a mixing bowl.

Pour in the tahini sauce and remaining oil and toss carefully.
Season with salt and pepper


Carrot harissa hummus

Delicious and very different. Well worth making. Thank you to Aida Mollenkamp for this recipe.

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb carrots, roughly chopped and ends discarded
2 medium cloves garlic cloves, peeled
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained (chick peas)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp tahini or almond butter
3 to 4 tbsp harissa paste
4 to 5 large ice cubes
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp runny honey
Kosher salt and pepper

Heat the broth in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil.
Add the carrots and garlic, reduce to medium and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the stove and cool slightly.

Combine the carrots and 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid with the chick peas and garlic in a food processor fitted with a blade.
Process until the mixture is very smooth.

Add olive oil, tahini or almond butter and ice cubes and pulse until the mixture is very smooth.
* Regarding the Harissa paste, this amount makes a fairly spicy hummus, so you might want to start with 1 tbsp and taste it to make sure you can handle the heat.

Pulse in 3 tbsp of the Harissa, (or 1 tbsp to start with if you’re not sure of the spiciness) lemon juice and honey and season well with salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, honey or Harissa as desired.

Place in the refrigerator to let the hummus cool off before using, at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

* The hummus can be made up to 4 days ahead of time – store it refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.

Roasted butternut squash and ginger hummus

This is a really gorgeous hummus from Gordon Ramsey. Ras del hannout is well worth making and adds such an exotic flavor to the roasted butternut squash. With the fresh ginger and garlic added, it’s truly a winner.


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Serves 8 to 10

1 butternut squash, (about 1 3/4lbs to 2lbs), peeled, seeded and cubed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp tahini
1 15 oz can of chick peas (Garbanzo beans)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Warmed or griddled pitta bread or flat bread to serve

For the ras del hannout
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp paprika

First make the Ras del hannout spice blend.
Break the cinnamon stick into pieces. Place in a dry pan with the cloves and all the seeds and toast over medium heat for about 1 minutes, until aromatic and the seeds are popping. (shake the spices in the pan as you heat them to prevent burning)
Once heated, remove from the heat and add the paprika.
Place in a spice grinder, blender or pestle and mortar and grind until the mixture is a powder – sift it if necessary.
The spice blend will keep for up to three months if stored in an airtight container.

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Make the hummus. 
In a large bowl, mix the cubed squash, garlic cloves and ginger with 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp of the spice mix.
Season with salt and pepper and scatter in a single layer in a roasting tray.
Place in a preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes until tender all the way through.

Once the squash is soft, add the contents of the tray to a blender or processor, discarding the garlic skins first.
Add the tahini, chickpeas and a squeeze of lemon juice along with 2 tbsp olive oil.
Blend until smooth.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary – you might need more lemon juice.

Transfer the hummus to a bowl and sprinkle with a little spice mix (I also used some fresh cilantro in the picture).
Drizzle with olive oil and serve with warmed or griddled pitta bread