Kale, Chickpea, Pomegranate Salad

A lovely Middle-Eastern (sorta) inspired salad chock full of flavour and nutrients! Served with a tahini-lemon dressing, this salad is a great side to any number of Middle-Eastern stews or rice dishes. If you don’t like kale, feel free to use any other green you prefer!

If you’d like to make this salad a little more substantial for a light lunch or the like, I highly recommend adding in some Bulgur wheat or couscous! If you can’t have gluten, quinoa would also be a good option.

Serves 4-6
Prep time: ~15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large bunches of kale, leaves stripped off the stems and roughly chopped.
  • 1 bunch mint, finely chopped.
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped.
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed well.
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate.
  • 1 cucumber, peeled if desired, finely sliced.
  • 1/2 red onion, finely minced.
  • 1-2 pieces Arabic bread, cut into small squares.
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil.

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp tahini.
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed.
  • 1 tsp agave syrup.
  • salt.
  • pepper.

Cooking Instructions:

First, time to make some easy croutons! Preheat the oven as high as it will go. Toss the bread pieces with a tiny bit of olive oil, spread them out thinly on a baking sheet, and pop in the oven. Bake them for 5-10 minutes, giving them an occasional stir, until nice and crispy. Take them out of the oven and allow to cool completely.

Place the kale in a large bowl and massage it gently to help tenderize it. Add the rest of the salad ingredients and toss until well-mixed.

Mix the lemon juice with the tahini, garlic, agave syrup, salt, and pepper. Slowly add in the olive oil while mixing (preferably in a blender or with an immersion blender), until nicely emulsified.

Top the salad with the croutons, dress liberally (or have dressing on the side), and serve!

Curried Eggplant and Chickpeas

Not a traditional curry in the least, but it’s yummy! The chickpeas add a nice amount of protein to this dish. This is also quite a quick meal to make, so it’s good for a weekday!

Prep time: ~25 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed to remove excess starch.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, sliced, with the juice reserved.
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, cut into half moons.
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder.
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water.
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, shredded.
  • Hot sauce, to taste.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:
Place your rice in a rice cooker with the appropriate amount of water, a little bit of oil, and some salt, and turn it on.
If you don’t have a rice cooker, then place the rice in a pot with 1 1/2 cups water, a little bit of oil, and some salt, and bring to a boil.
Stir the rice once, then cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the water is absorbed, and then take the pot off the heat. Let it stand, covered, for about 5 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and fragrant.
Then stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, and curry powder. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes.
Next, add the stock/water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the chickpeas and hot sauce (if you’re using it), and cook until they’re warmed through.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the basil. Fluff the rice with a fork, and serve the vegetables on a bed of rice. Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Tagine

Tagines are wonderful. They’re a North African stew, named after the kind of pot you cook them in. I don’t own one, but my parents do, so here’s a picture of theirs:

Tagine dish

Very pretty, right?

If you don’t have a tagine pot, don’t run out and buy one unless you really want to. You can just as easily make this dish using a large pot!

This dish is traditionally served with couscous, but if you can’t eat gluten, use quinoa or buckwheat instead. If you don’t drink, use some vegetable stock and a splash of vinegar to imitate the effect the wine will have on the dish.

Prep time: ~70 minutes
Gluten-free (if serving without couscous)
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • ~350 g small potatoes, cut into chunks.
  • 1 bulb of fennel, trimmed, and sliced into chunks.
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled if desired, cut into chunks.
  • 1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), seeds removed and cut into chunks.
  • 1 large onion (red onion is best), cut into chunks.
  • 4 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly minced.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, sliced, with the juice reserved.
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins.
  • 1 cup red wine.
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 large cinnamon stick.
  • Slivered almonds to garnish (optional).

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400ºF (approx 200ºC). Place the potatoes, fennel, carrot, bell pepper, and onion in a large roasting tray (lined with foil if you want easy cleanup) with 3 tbsp of the olive oil, the cumin, coriander, and fennel. Season with salt and pepper, then toss everything well until the vegetables are thoroughly coated.

Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes, stirring twice to make sure they cook evenly, until the potatoes are cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the last 1 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, fry the garlic until fragrant, then add the tomatoes, raisins, chickpeas, wine, orange zest and juice, wine, and the cinnamon stick. Bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for about 20 minutes.

When the vegetables are done roasting, add them to the pot and stir well. Bring the tagine back to a simmer and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

While the tagine is simmering, it’s the perfect time to roast off some slivered almonds and prepare some couscous. Place a small frying pan on low heat and add your slivered almonds. Toast them, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning, until they’re a nice golden colour. For the couscous, your best bet is probably to follow the directions on the package. I do recommend adding a little salt and olive oil to the water for a little seasoning, though!

Serve the tagine on top of a bed of couscous (or couscous substitute), and sprinkle the slivered almonds on top. Enjoy!

Homemade Hummus

Incredibly simple and cheap to make, this recipe is also very customizable, if you don’t mind varying from the traditional! Some good additives are roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, avocado, pine nuts, and pesto.

Eat it with pita bread, or for a less traditional method, with carrot sticks or celery!

Prep time: ~5 minutes
Gluten-free
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus some to garnish.
  • 1 can cooked chickpeas, drained, with some of the water set aside and rinsed, with a few set aside to garnish.
  • 1 tbsp tahini paste.
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • juice of 1 lemon.
  • Salt, to taste.
  • a few sprigs of fresh parsley, to garnish.

Cooking Instructions:

Mix the lemon juice with the tahini in a small bowl, and stir well. This will prevent it from clumping up when you blend it. Next, Place all of your ingredients into a food processor, and blend until smooth. If you, like me, have a smaller food processor, add in about half the chickpeas, blend until smooth, and then add the rest. If it’s a little too dry or lumpy, add a bit of water from the chickpea can. Voila!

This is how Amr taught us to serve the hummus if you’re having guests over and want to look fancy: place the hummus in a rather flat bowl, and smooth out the surface. Then take a spoon and make a small, flat mound of hummus in the middle of the bowl. Make a small moat around that, and drizzle some olive oil over the moat. Place your parsley and a few chickpeas on top of the little mound, then place a few chickpeas haphazardly around the rest of the dish.