Childhood Memories Salad

A salad that can fill you with a lifetime's worth of memories...and delicious Middle Eastern flavors.

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Growing up in Barcelona in a Jewish/Lebanese household, we were lucky to be exposed to an amazing fusion of cuisines that sparked our interest in food at a very young age.  We had the chance to enjoy an incredible array of herbs, spices, flavors and textures that we still remember and use to this day.

Almost every ingredient, flavor and recipe we use today has a memory attached to it. And that is something we treasure immensely, now that we live in a town on the east coast, so far away from home.

We went back to all those familiar and comforting flavors to create this salad. Each component has a story or an endearing memory behind it. The za’atar croutons, for example, remind us of the za’atar pita sandwiches our mom used to pack for us to take to school and how our friends used to chase us around the playground just to get a taste. 

The salad’s spiced chickpeas recall all the Moroccan spices that filled our friend’s homes with amazing smells. The Persian cucumbers and feta cheese were staples in our mom’s daily diet. And the tahini brings back images of our dad making hummus by hand every week on Shabbat. This salad is our way of sharing a little piece of us with you.  Something you will certainly enjoy if you’re feeling adventurous and ready to explore new flavors!

Ingredients: 
3 Persian cucumbers
3 kumato tomatoes, diced
9 medium radishes, diced
1.5 cups fresh chopped cilantro
6 0z sheep's milk feta cheese, crumbled
For the pita bread croutons:
3 pita pockets
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp za'atar
For the spiced chickpeas:
2 cans chickpeas (15 oz), drained
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
For the dressing:
1/2 cup and 2 tbsp tahini
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp luke warm water
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
Recipe Steps: 
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Slice each pita pocket along the edge, to make 2 halves. Place them on the baking sheet, drizzle 2 tsp of olive oil over each half and sprinkle with 1 tbs of za’atar. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
In the meantime, prepare the spiced chickpeas: in a small bowl, mix together cumin, sweet and hot paprika, turmeric, salt and black pepper.
Heat olive oil in a non stick skillet. Add drained chickpeas and spices and gently toss it all together, so the spices and oil coat the chickpeas. Cook at medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a non stick skillet. Add drained chickpeas and spices and gently toss it all together, so the spices and oil coat the chickpeas. Cook at medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
To prepare the dressing, whisk together tahini and lemon juice (mix will thicken). Slowly whisk in water and salt, until well incorporated. Add rice vinegar and maple syrup, mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble the salad, arrange cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes over a large serving dish. Top with cilantro, crumbled feta cheese and chickpeas. Using your hands, break the pita bread into bite size pieces over the salad. Pour dressing right before serving