This fall I have had the pleasure to have Leah Kern as my dietetic intern. She loves story-telling about food—and she has quite an adventurous eating style. Her default meals have a Mediterranean flair. So, I asked her to create a seasonal Mediterranean-style recipe for you. (Check out her instagram page for food and stories @foodfor_thought_.) She created this awesome salad that I’ll be sure to be making often. Here’s her story about the delightful salad—and the recipe!
Salad should be fun. I have vivid memories of my mom making the same boring romaine salad with cherry tomatoes and thick cucumber slices with some variation of a store-bought dressing. It was a big deal when we eventually discovered craisins and started adding them to the mix. As far as variety, there was little. The occasional addition of croutons or the difference between ranch and Italian dressing was about as varied as it got. I love my mom and appreciate her trying to get us to eat our vegetables, but those dull salads just weren’t cutting it.
Dissatisfied, I ended up taking matters into my own hands. My mom was more than happy to have some help preparing meals, so I began cooking for my family. I attribute my now love for all things food and cooking in part to this initial frustration. Now that I am older and pursuing a career in nutrition, I experiment with all different kinds of salad ingredients and homemade dressings. I see the importance of making salad flavorful and interesting so people don’t end up dreading it like I did. I enjoy making my family unique salads with ingredients like nuts, grains, seeds, fruit, roasted veggies, and homemade dressings. My mom loves when I visit and take over the kitchen and I enjoy getting to show her my tricks. Our family has come a long way from those dreaded romaine salads!
I only first started cooking with sumac a few months ago when I moved to Brooklyn. One of my roommates, who grew up in Syria, unpacked a huge mason jar of this traditional Middle Eastern spice when he first moved into our apartment. He showed me how to make his favorite dressing which includes sumac, parsley, oil and vinegar. This unique spice has piqued my interest ever since and I was inspired to come up with my own salad centered around a sumac dressing.
This salad is simple and quick to throw together with the unique dressing as the star of the show. The creamy tahini sumac dressing will add not only a zesty richness to your salad, but also a wonderful pop of color! – Leah Kern
mediterranean salad with sumac tahini dressing
Yield: 1 serving
Serving size: 2 rounded cups
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened peppermint tea or water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sumac
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach or other greens, such as baby arugula or mesclun
- 1/3 cup canned drained chickpeas*
- 12-15 small fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds (arils)
- Add the tahini, mint tea, lemon juice, sumac, and salt to a jar or other container with a sealed top. Shake well until combined. Set aside.
- On a salad plate, arrange the spinach, chickpeas, and mint. Drizzle with the desired amount of sumac tahini dressing. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!
*Looking for a fun way to use the remaining chickpeas? Check out Jackie’s awesome roasted chickpea recipe here.