Chickpea Olive Salad with Za'atar and Cherry Tomatoes

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Chickpea Olive Salad with Za'atar and Cherry Tomatoes

With temperatures soaring at the end of May, a simple salad was just what I wanted for dinner. Of course, simple is very often the tastiest, especially when it's simple that you want and you're using great ingredients. I've been enjoying finding ways to use za'atar lately — a highly aromatic and uniquely delicious Middle Eastern blend of dried herbs, sesame seeds and salt, za'atar goes wonderfully well with tangy foods like tomatoes as well as with bread. So substitute bread for buttery soft chickpeas, toss in the cherry tomatoes and some olives for good measure and za'atar. There you have an easy and simply wonderful summer salad.

Pre-blended za'atar is much more commonly found in supermarkets now than before, as well as in Middle Eastern grocers, but it's also very easy to make at home using the fresh dried herbs you have on hand.

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (3 cups cooked or 2 14 oz cans)
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced or chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed
  • 4 tablespoons za'atar
  • small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak in several inches of water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until soft. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the chickpeas and toss until well combined.
  • Serve chilled or at room temperature.