I first discovered Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes through one of my favorite food blogs, Lottie + Doof. Tim (the guy who writes the blog) made a date, pita and spinach salad from Jerusalem, one of Ottolenghi’s first cookbooks, and I decided to copy him.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as they say. Sometimes it can also be the most delicious. You know you’ve met your recipe match when you can make it over and over again and not get sick of it. That’s what happened to me with this date salad.
But anyway, I digress. I loved Ottolenghi’s recipes so much that I decided to buy his vegetarian cookbook, Plenty. I thought I was a vegetarian for a couple years, and this cookbook provided me with plenty of inspiration.
I’m pretty sure that this cookbook could make a believer out of non-vegetarians; all you have to do is flip through the pages and look at the vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables, and you’ll be sold. I can almost taste the pomegranate seeds and eggplant on the front cover.
Some friends and I decided to have an Israeli-themed dinner the other night, so I decided to revisit Plenty. I wanted to do something simple because we were meeting up on a weeknight. I also wanted to make something that everyone could enjoy without substitutions. I knew I had struck gold when I saw this chickpea sauté.
The most annoying part of the recipe is chopping everything up. But there are ways to make it more enjoyable…I’ve found that blasting music helps. Especially this track.
Otherwise, everything comes together relatively quickly. Even though the recipe calls for serving with the Greek yogurt mixture, I found that adding some hummus to the top is a great substitution.
Israeli Chickpea Sauté (slightly adapted from Plenty)
3/4 lb (8 cups) Swiss chard (or kale in a pinch)
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch dice
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 1/2 cups freshly cooked chickpeas (or canned)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
Separate the chard/kale stalks from the leaves. Blanch the stalks in plenty of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Add the leaves and continue cooking for 2 minutes, then drain everything. Refresh under cold running water and squeeze dry, then chop roughly.
Heat up the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the carrots and caraway seeds and sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the chard and chickpeas and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Now add the garlic, herbs, lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cool down a little. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, mix together the yogurt, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Pile the vegetables on serving dishes and spoon the yogurt on top. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and drizzle over more olive oil.