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Sweet potato, chickpea, and tahini salad

Winter is time for warm salads, a part of the dinner menu that is so underutilized. Warm salads are beautiful and use the produce of the season, tubers and roots, beets, turnips, parsnips, and sweet potatoes, as in this case. They are fried or roasted and served to warm you up on chilly nights.

This salad does just that. The ingredients came together beautifully, the spice-roasted sweet potatoes were crisp, the tangy chickpeas added texture, and the fresh greens a crunch, all mixed in with creamy feta and nuts. This is a complex salad but the mild tahini dressing pulls everything together beautifully. This salad disappeared fast with guests digging in for seconds till the bowl was empty.

Yasmin Khan lives in the UK and has been a human rights activist fighting for the displaced refugees from the Middle East. This is her third cookbook, I have to get the other 2 now, and explores the influences on the cuisine of Turkey, Cyprus and Greece from the Ottoman period to the influence of the refugees fleeing to those countries today. This is beyond a cookbook, this is a story of the people, their lives and their uncertain fates.


For the sweet potatoes:

2 lb sweet potatoes

Olive oil spray

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed lightly

1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbles

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the dressing:

4 tablespoon tahini

4 tablespoon water

Juice of 1/2-1 lime

For the chickpeas:

1/2 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight in 4 cups water

1 small bay leaf

5 black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic, sliced

5 cups water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 garlic clove, minced

Juice of 1/2 lime

For the remaining salad:

2 heads lettuce. gem of other

Parsley, roughly torn

Mint, roughly torn

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 teaspoon sumac

preheat the oven o 375° F.

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into wedges. Layer on a lined baking sheet. Spray with the olive oil and sprinkle on the fennel, thyme, salt and pepper. Bake for 40-45 minutes till the potatoes are soft and charred in spots. remove and set aside.

Rinse out the soaked chickpeas and add to a pot with the bay leaf, peppercorns, salt, garlic, and water. bring to a boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes till cooked through. Do not overcook the chickpeas, they should retain a good bite.

After the chickpeas are cooked, drain discarding the bay leaf. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds and garlic. Sautè for 30 seconds and add the chickpeas. cook till the chickpeas are warmed up. Take off the stove and toss with lime juice. Taste for salt and lime and adjust as needed. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, layer the greens on a wide bowl and top with the sweet potatoes. if you want to, you can roast them again for 3-5 minutes to get the potatoes to crisp up again. Arrange them on the leaves and scatter the warmed spiced chickpeas all over. Top with parsley and mint, pumpkin seeds, feta and sumac. Serve immediately.

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