This Israeli Power Salad with Za’atar Roasted Sweet Potatoes is a bright and flavorful dish packed with crunchy, colorful veggies for a filling and healthy one-bowl meal. Vegan and gluten-free.
In my recent introduction to Alchemy Grandview post, I explained what the last month has looked like with our newest restaurant opening. Spoiler alert: it’s a whole lotta CRAZY! I had a day off yesterday for the first time in quite a while and it was a delicate balance of sleeping in, savoring a lazy brunch, spending time outside, enjoying phone-free moments, and squeezing in time to catch up on blog work. I want to keep up with blogging but it’s super challenging when I’m spending so much time at the store and also need time to do normal people things like ya know, laundry. And sleep.
It’s been almost a month since I was in Israel, but I remember smelling the fresh spices from the stands of the Yehuda Market like it was yesterday. What I loved most about the food culture over there is that it centers around family, sharing, and overall bringing people together over a meal. No one orders their own food! Everything is family style. The culture surrounding food is very different than in America. I found it to be more celebratory, joyful, intentional, and slow. Never rushed. And unlike in America where locally sourced food and “farm to table” restaurants are a bonus, in Israel it’s a given. Produce is a lot more affordable in that part of the world and packaged foods are more expensive. Interesting, huh?
When you use high quality food sourced close to home, you’re not just supporting the growth of your own community, but you’re also consuming more delicious, nutrient-dense food. You don’t have to do much to locally grown food to make it taste good. Quality goes a long way.
One night on the trip we ate at a wonderful chef’s home on an organic farm and he was telling us about the waxy tomatoes he has to grow for longer shelf lives, the ones he sends to Whole Foods in the states during our winters. He said he feels badly that we eat those tomatoes while he eats beautiful heirloom tomatoes. In America, we eat in abundance. We have access to all foods at all times, even when they’re not in season. Most fruit and veggies are available year round here since they’re grown in other countries. If you were to ask for avocado in Israel, they’d laugh at you because DUH, they’re not in season. It’s not even an option.
It’s really fascinating to only eat local, seasonal, and often times organic food for a week straight. The most interesting thing is that at home, I get gassy and have stomach aches occasionally after eating. I always attributed it to eating too much fiber or having an unknown intolerance, but in Israel, I never once felt poor after eating a meal. And I ate a lot of fiber!
When I got home, all I wanted to do was eat fresh food. I’m grateful to have a weekly CSA where I get fresh local produce delivered each week. If you’re able, I can’t recommend a CSA enough. It exposes you to new produce and forces you to eat with the seasons. If that’s not an option, I encourage you to shop at local farmer’s markets! You’ll be amazed at how much longer the produce lasts in your fridge. Most grocery stores now have rotating local produce items as well, so seek out what’s in season.
I brought back the deepest green za’atar (a mix of hyssop, sumac, and sesame seeds) and lemony sumac from a stand at the Yehuda Market to use in anything and everything once I returned home. Just smelling it takes me back! If you don’t live near a Mediterranean market that sells za’atar for this recipe, I’d recommend buying it online. Just make sure it doesn’t contain wheat, as a lot of brands use wheat as a filler. When you’ve got the good stuff, it really takes salads and roasted veggies and salad to another level! As far as tahini goes, Soom is my favorite brand. The sesame seeds are harvested in Ethiopia, which makes for the highest quality tahini per the Israelis.
I made this incredible Israeli Power Salad with Za’atar Roasted Sweet Potatoes on repeat the week after getting home and it’s still one of the most satisfying and unique salads I’ve made to date. It’s tangy, salty, sweet, crunchy, nutty, and bright. It’s hearty and filling. It’s a meal in a bowl.
IT MAKES MY HEART SING! You deserve seventeen bowls. Enjoy it family style with those you love most!
- 1 large sweet potato, diced
- ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tbsp za'atar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heaping ½ cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
- 1 bunch chard, de-stemmed and sliced into ribbons (about 3 cups)
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (Brussels sprouts are also good!_
- 3 Persian or mini seedless cucumbers, diced (1½ cups)
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1-15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp za'atar, to taste
- ½ tsp sea salt, to taste
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F. Place sweet potatoes on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with za'atar and a good pinch of salt and pepper, tossing to combine.
- Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Place walnuts on a small baking sheet or piece of foil. Toast on the rack below sweet potatoes for 5-7 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Remove and set aside while sweet potatoes continue to cook.
- Meanwhile, chop all your veggies. Add chard, green onions, cabbage, cucumbers, parsley, walnuts, and chickpeas to a large mixing bowl, stirring to combine. Add tahini, lemon juice, za'atar, salt, and lots of pepper. Stir to combine and season to taste.
- Let sweet potatoes cool slightly before stirring into salad and serving. Leftovers keep well in an air-tight container in the fridge for a couple days. Great for packing lunches!