Hoooooooooly smokes, has this ever been a wild week – and it’s only Wednesday!
Firstly, thank you guys SO much for all of your amazing comments and emails in response to my news on Monday. I’m so grateful to have such supportive readers, and your notes totally made my day. Seriously, THE BEST = YOU.
You know that feeling during the first week of starting a new job, where you’re like, “why the heck am I so freaking tired!?!?” That is 100% my situation right now, but it’s tired in the best sort of way. I’ve come home every night, full of energy and thinking “today was the BEST!” But then, by the time 7:30/8pm-ish hits, all of the sudden I get this overwhelming sense of “I must go to bed, NOW”, and pass out within seconds of hitting the pillow. I wouldn’t change it for the world though, and this might sound a little deep and meta, but I feel like this is finally where I’m supposed to be.
So far this week has been filled with group sweat dates, walks to the beach, meeting some super talented new friends, learning, listening, asking questions, and setting goals. Basically, all the things I’m crazy about. They really do know the way to my heart!
Among many other wicked awesome things, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the process of exploring restaurants and cafés in my new work ‘hood – and there are TONS of amazing options! I’ve always been the type who brings my lunch to work, but I just might “accidentally forget” to pack it on Friday. 😉
Speaking of food… well actually, I always speak of food, but speaking of restaurant food, a little while ago I went to a newly-opened downtown Vancouver restaurant called Field & Social. They specialize in beautiful, seasonally-inspired salads using local ingredients, so it’s no surprise that the place became a fast fave in my books. But it’s not just me – every time I’ve been in for a visit, the place has been packed!
As someone who eats at least one enormous salad a day, I’m always excited to try ingredient combinations that other people come up with. So far, the salad that I most enjoyed at Field & Social is The Beets, which is a big toss of heirloom beets, organic chickpeas, green apple, orange, cucumber, and field greens. It comes with 2 dressings (harissa spiced goat yogurt, and a Seville orange vinaigrette), and it’s been presented slightly differently each time I’ve ordered it. Presentation aside, it’s been absolutely delicious on all occasions.
My visits to Field & Social often inspire me to think about how to add more creativity to my own salad game, and with so many types of citrus being available right now, I decided to try a somewhat fancypants sort of salad with blood oranges.
This Middle Eastern-inspired creation has a double dose of plant-based protein, thanks to lentils and crispy roasted chickpeas which I’m currently OB-SESSED with. I’ve been trying all sorts of flavours, and the ones in this recipe are spiced up with za’atar and paprika.
I first came across za’atar (Arabic for thyme, but so much more than that) when I lived in Bahrain. I learned that it’s a super aromatic spice blend made up of sesame seeds, oregano, marjoram, sumac, and a bit of sea salt. Za’atar is often sprinkled on Arabic breads and used to season meats, but in this case, it brings roasted chickpeas up to a new level. You’ll find it in the ethnic aisles of grocery stores, but if not, I’ve included a quick DIY recipe for it below.
As for dressing, I went with a savoury tahini-based one here because, well, tahini is a staple in most of my salad dressings and creates a lovely, creamy texture without dairy.
Once all the goods are combined, you’ll get something that looks like this:
… and the taste is absolutely delightful! Not only does this salad truly satisfy my appetite at lunch, but it also leaves me feeling energized and ready to take on the afternoon. (Pretty much the polar opposite of a sushi coma!) If you give it a shot, I’d love to know what you think.
Za’atar Roasted Chickpea Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Ingredients (2 servings)
For the roasted chickpeas and carrots:
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas, patted dry
- 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp za’atar
- 1 tsp paprika
For the dressing (you may have some leftover):
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 navel orange, peel and rind removed
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp water, to thin
For the rest:
- 4 cups chopped Swiss chard
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1/4 cup each fresh parsley and mint
- 1/2 cup cooked lentils
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- 2 small blood oranges, sliced into rounds with peel removed
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
Can’t find za’atar? Make your own!
- 2 tbsp each toasted sesame seeds and dried oregano
- 1 tbsp each dried marjoram and sumac
- ½ tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Toss the sliced carrots and chickpeas with the olive oil, za’atar and paprika, and scatter them on the lined baking sheet in a flat layer. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally for even cooking.
In a blender, puree all ingredients for the dressing and pour them into a jar or small container.
In a large bowl, combine the Swiss chard, cucumber, fresh herbs and onion. Pour roughly 1/4 cup of the dressing on top and toss to coat as evenly as possible.
When the chickpeas have finished roasting, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes. (They should crisp up a bit more in this time.)
Divide the salad mixture between two plates. Arrange the sliced blood oranges on top of the greens, followed by the chickpeas (and any remaining za’atar from your baking sheet.) Sprinkle with pine nuts, drizzle some of the remaining dressing over top if desired, and serve.
So tell me…
- How are you feeling so far this week? Excited? Happy? Tired? Anxious? A combination of emotions? Something else entirely?
- What kinds of meals do you find leave you feeling the most energized?