Old School Middle Eastern Recipes with Some Modern Day Twists

Tag: tahini

Tahini Ranch Romaine Salad

Tahini Ranch Romaine Salad

Say hello to this tahini ranch dressing slathered over romaine salad! Not sure about anyone else here, but more recently in quarantine, I have been leaning into some fresh greens. It could be because of all those borek, comforting rice dishes and middle eastern cookies….but […]

Tahini Granola

Tahini Granola

This Tahini Granola is just so satisfying. I love having it on hand to top on yogurt or eat by itself. It has a mix of oats, almonds, tahini, apricots and cranberries, and it’s not overly sweet, which I really appreciate. The hint of nuttiness […]

Citrus Tahini Kale Salad

Citrus Tahini Kale Salad

With the holidays being over I am craving a kale salad in a major way. I mean we went from summer, to 2 seconds of fall, to a baked goods manifesto over the holidays, and now here we are. This salad is currently giving me life and is a right of passage to embracing the winter season. Mmmk?

The dressing has tahini blended with fresh citrus, standing up nicely to the leafy kale and bulger base. It also has pops of flavor from spiced pistachios and fresh mint. There you have it, your basic tabouleh/kale salad has been winterized.

Lets take a moment to talk about citrus. At this time of year, it is on point! There are so many varieties out there. I love cara cara oranges because of their slightly pinkish color and they have a little more sweetness and tang than traditional naval oranges. Blood oranges are stunning for their ruby color and notes of berry. And, tangerines, are delicious for their strong, tart flavor. One of my favorite ways to really elevate citrus is to supreme it! No I am not talking about the hip fashion line. Supreming is a technique where you are essentially removing the rind of the citrus and cutting into slices. It allows the beautiful bejeweled colors of the citrus to shine through.

How to supreme citrus:

1. First trim the end of the citrus. This allows you to see where the rind meets the flesh.

2. Next, gently wedge your knife between the rind and flesh and cut off the peel.

3. Once fully pealed, slice the citrus into pieces of desired width. Now you have bejeweled citrus!

If there is any bit of winter blues, hit this salad up. Its loaded with vitamin C, bright colors, and will fill you up from head to toe 😉

Citrus Tahini Kale Salad

This kale salad is a touch of brightness to the winter season! It has creamy tahini blended with fresh citrus and pops of flavor from spiced pistachios and fresh mint. It comes together quickly and is a stunning addition to your table.
Prep Time30 mins
Bulger Prep1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: dinner, lunch, Salad
Keyword: bulger, cirtus, kale, salad, tahini, winter salad

Ingredients

Citrus Tahini Dressing

  • ½ cup tahini
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • cup tangerine or any orange variety juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp water

Kale Salad

  • 8 cups chopped kale, any variety works
  • 4-5 of any citrus, I used cara cara and blood oranges in this picture, supreme cut*
  • red onion, few thin slices, (optional)
  • ½ lemon
  • 5-6 mint leaves, coarsely chopped or torn

Spiced Pistachios

  • ½ cup raw unsalted pistachios (if you have salted on hand, just reduce the salt)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • pinch of ground red pepper, (optional)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp honey

Bulger

  • 1 cup medium grain bulger
  • 1 cup water
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375F.

Bulger

  • Mix bulger, water, lemon juice and salt in a bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour or so, mixing occasionally. Once liquid is absorbed fluff with a fork. **

Citrus Tahini Dressing

  • Whisk together tahini, lemon juice, tangerine (or other citrus juice), garlic and water until combined.

Spiced Pistachios

  • Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Mix cumin, coriander, cardamom, salt and ground red pepper (if using) together in a small bowl. Place pistachios on baking sheet and drizzle honey on top and give a quick toss. Sprinkle spice mixture and give another quick toss. Bake for about 7 minutes, mixing pistachios midway. Once out of the oven, add a light sprinkle of salt and mix.
  • This makes a decent amount of spiced pistachios. You can decide to use all or save some for snaking later. Either way is delicious!

Kale Salad Assembly

  • Pour tahini dressing on to kale and toss for about a minute.
  • Add red onion (if using) and bulger to kale and toss to combine. Add juice of half a lemon.
  • Plate salad and scatter supremed citrus, spiced pistachios and torn mint.
  • This salad stores well for up to 2-3 days in your fridge. Enjoy!

Notes

*What is a supreme cut? Supreming is a technique where you are essentially removing the rind of the citrus and cutting into slices. It allows the beautiful bejeweled colors of the citrus to shine through. To do so, first trim the end of the citrus. This allows you to see where the rind meets the flesh. Next, gently wedge your knife between the rind and flesh and cut off the peel. Once fully pealed, slice the citrus into slices of desired width. Now you have bejeweled citrus!
** Bulger is softened by absorbing the liquid it rests in. I prefer this method for salads, rather than cooking, as it allows the grain to maintain more of a bite. After it has soaked for an hour, spoon into salad. If there is any additional liquid, leave it in the bowl. The bulger will continue to soften as it sits in the salad. 
Fall Hummus Bowl

Fall Hummus Bowl

Guys, this is GOOD. I suggest you make it soon. Caramelized roasted acorn squash is layered onto hummus and topped off with a cilantro cream sauce and roasted crispy red onions. Slather it on some toast, and you’ll forget avocado toast even existed. Ya, I […]

Apple Spiced Oat Cake with a Tahini Maple Crumble

Apple Spiced Oat Cake with a Tahini Maple Crumble

This cake is all the fall things. Granny Smith apple is shredded and folded into both ground oats and flour creating a delicious and tender apple cake. Not to mention, the nutty tahini and rich sweetness of the maple in the crumble is a perfect […]

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

It hard to come by a Middle Eastern mezze spread that does not include Baba Ganoush. This is a good thing because it truly is one of the best dips out there. The combination of grilled eggplant, tahini, garlic, and lemon create flavors that burst in your mouth and get you thinking “what the heck is in this dip?!”

The trick to making great Baba Ganoush is grilling the eggplant, providing its’ trademark smokey taste. It is also helpful to sieve the grilled eggplant through a mesh strainer to remove any additional liquid and concentrate the eggplant flavor.

For the number of times I have eaten Baba Ganoush, I have a newfound appreciation for it now that I make it myself. When I first started making Baba Ganoush I tried to roasting and broiling the eggplant in the oven rather than grilling it. While it still makes a tasty eggplant dip, it lacks that signature smokey flavor, and taste like a completely different dip.

I think back to all the times I had my Nana’s or Mom’s Baba Ganoush and am impressed that every time the dip was effortlessly spot on. Interestingly enough, I don’t recall ever seeing them grill the eggplant, and assumed they were able to create this flavor profile in the oven. WRONG. When I asked my mom recently she said, “of course we grilled the eggplant.” Well I guess the term “ignorance is bliss” does not apply here, and I am so happy to now be in the know!

Baba Ganoush

A smokey, silky, Middle Eastern eggplant dip with a punch of flavor.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: dip, eggplant, tahini, vegan
Servings: 12 people

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized eggplants
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3/4 tsp salt, more or less to taste
  • 3 medium lemons, juiced

Instructions

  • Coat each eggplant with olive oil to avoid sticking to grill.*
  • Puncture the skin of each eggplant a few times. Each puncture should be roughly 1". This will prevent it from bursting when on the grill.
  • Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  • Place eggplants on grill. Rotate about every 10 minutes until equally charred on all sides. This should take about 30 minutes.
  • Remove eggplant from grill and cover in foil for about 15 minuets to help concentrate the smokey flavor from the grill.
  • Open from foil and cut eggplants in half lengthwise. Allow to cool enough so that you can handle it with you hands.
  • Once cooled, scoop out flesh of eggplant with a spoon and place in a metal sieve. Make sure to remove any residual bits of skin from flesh. Press down on sieve to remove excess liquid and to further concentrate the eggplant flavor.
  • Place eggplant into mixing bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher.
  • Add tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt to eggplant and whisk with fork until smooth. Adjust salt to preferred taste.
  • Place in fridge to fully cool.
  • When ready to serve, decorate with olives, olive oil, parsley and/or paprika. Serve with pita bread, pita chips, crackers or vegetable crudités.

Notes

*Some people prefer to use an oven rather than the grill and use liquid smoke to create the smokey flavor. If you prefer to do that (although the grill is ideal!), roast the eggplant in a  400F degree oven for about 40 minutes. Follow steps 1-2 and then 6-11. Add a teaspoon or so of liquid smoke to the eggplant mixture when mixing. Adjust to taste. 
Hummus

Hummus

Growing up, hummus for us was like ketchup – always available in the fridge to compliment any meal. We owe this constant supply of hummus to our Nana, Badriya. Nana would deliver a fresh supply of hummus every couple of weeks always saying “This is […]