Monday, November 28, 2011

Iraqi Salad

Okay, we've enjoyed our indulgence. We've eaten turkey and stuffing and yams and mashed potatoes and gravy and green bean casserole and rolls and cornbread and pie and more pie and just one more sliver of pie. We're ready to burst!

The Thanksgiving leftovers should be gone by now. Today, we return to moderation and restraint. Today, we reaquaint ourselves with vegetables.

But who said that vegetables have to be boring? Why do salads have to be bland bowls of lettuce, carrots, and croutons?

To demonstrate that plain ol' vegetables can be transformed into something amazing, today I'm offering a gorgeous and flavorful salad featured in the beautiful cookbook Ma Baseema: Middle Eastern Cooking with Chaldean Flair. As I wrote in my recent post about Cardamom-Scented Shortbread Cookies, Chaldeans [kal-DEE-uns] are Iraqi Christians. They cherish their extended families, sharing large meals with multiple generations of loved ones, and they are noted for their hospitality.

And this Iraqi salad is highly representative of Chaldean cuisine, as it features many vegetables but gives them a unique twist. The familiar cucumbers and beets and onions are taken into a new realm of flavor with a simple but vibrant dressing, as well as the addition of a sprinkle of mint.

Rather than feeling deprived today as you recover from the holiday feast, try this salad and enjoy something that's nutritious but enticing.

Iraqi Salad
(slightly adapted from Edward Korkis' "Zalata d'Iraqia" featured in Ma Baseema)

1 large cucumber, seeded, cut into 1/2" dice
1 small red onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can shoestring beets, drained
3 large scallions, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 teaspoon dried mint (available at Middle Eastern markets; substitute parsley, if need be)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
juice of half lemon
2 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
1 ounce red wine vinegar

Combine all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Combine all dressing ingredients; mix well, then pour over salad. Stir to combine all the ingredients, then let the salad rest for 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8.


Unknown said...

I've had a salad very similar to this before... Love that the dressing is so simple, yet so fresh and packed with so much flavor!

Karen Harris said...

I love this dressing recipe. You are right I am ready to open the vegetable crisper again. This sounds like a welcomed change after all those mashed potatoes.

Anonymous said...

I love the ingredients that make this up. It is perfect for now when as you say, need lighter food.

Candace said...

This is my favorite kind of salad. It looks so fresh and healthy. It's absolutely perfect to lighten things up between the holidays.

Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

I purchased Ma Baseema about a month or so ago and I have to say it is one of my FAVORITE cookbooks that I own!

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