This salad is inspired by the flavors of za’atar, a spice blend popular in Israel and Palestine. Sumac is a key ingredient, lending a rich, tangy flavor that melds with the more familiar thyme. You can increase the amount of sumac to your liking! Serves 4 as a side dish
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon dried, ground sumac
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste, if the beans are unsalted)
- 2 cups uncooked chickpeas, or 4 cups canned chickpeas (2 cans)
- 1 bunch arugula/spinach or wild greens such as lamb’s quarters or garlic mustard (you can increase the amount of greens to taste)
- 1/2 purple onion, finely chopped
Optional garnishes: 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese or toasted sunflower seeds
- To dry sumac that you’ve harvested yourself, gather whole stalks of sumac and then hang them individually upside-down.
- Once they’re dry, you can pluck off the berries individually and grind them in a coffee grinder, ideally one that you don’t also use for coffee…
- If you’re using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight (or for 8+ hours) in more than double their volume of water.
- Drain and rinse them, and then cover with more than enough water to cover the beans.
- Simmer them until they’re very tender, usually 1 hour to 1 ½ hours. At this point, remove them from heat and drain the chickpeas again. (You can save the cooking water for recipes that call for aqua faba, if you’re into that kind of thing.) Now they’re ready to go!
- In a small jar, mix the olive oil and vinegar with the sumac, thyme, salt, and pepper. Set it aside momentarily.
- Finely chop the purple onion and arugula/wild greens, and combine in a large mixing bowl with the cooked chickpeas, whether you’ve used canned or home-cooked.
- Add the dressing and mix thoroughly.
Note: This salad is delicious served warm or chilled.