Za’atar Chickpea Salad

Whenever I looked outside this past week I felt like I was looking into a spring wonderland. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the clouds looked like they were painted into the sky. But wait…yes, it was snowing. Strangely, it hasn’t been bothering me. Maybe because spring is so obviously “in the air”, I can withstand a few more snow flurries. The end is within sight.
Rigby and I went on our first run of the season the other day. I should clarify, I have been running, but it’s the first one that I took Rigs on with me. I tied her leash around my waist and we just went for it. I didn’t think she’d be able to make it all five miles, silly me. I think I was hoping that she’d get tired after three so I would get a break. That’s why she’s the best running partner. She doesn’t give me a break.
Since everything is pointing to spring, I figured my food should too. This salad seems to be the essence of spring. It’s light and fresh. Colorful.
Za’atar (pronounced zah-tar) is a Middle Eastern spice mixture that is mostly thyme with oregano, marjoram, sesame seeds and some other spices. You can find it at most grocery stores, but I recommend buying it at a local Middle Eastern market. You’re more likely to get an authentic blend of the spices and a better price. It is traditionally blended with a little olive oil, to make a paste, and spread on a fresh pita. The pita is then toasted and cut into wedges. In this recipe I use it to flavor the chickpeas, and give the salad an unexpected boost.
This salad makes a great side dish for a sandwich or veggie burger.  It takes 30 minutes or less to whip together and has less than 10 ingredients.

Za'atar Roasted Chickpea Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1-15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons Za’atar spice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Toss the chickpeas with the Za’atar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, toss and bake for 8 more minutes.
3. While the chickpeas are in the oven, prepare the cucumber, tomato and lemon juice. Mix them in a medium bowl and set aside.
4. When the chickpeas are cooled, add them to the veggies and toss together.
5. Taste for seasoning, add more salt, pepper or lemon juice as needed.
Fresh parsley would be a great addition to add color and another blast of fresh flavor.

Laura Ryan