Sumac & Za’atar Cauliflower Tacos with Baba Ganoush, Chimichurri and Fried Leeks

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Since it’s taco Tuesday, here is another vegetarian taco recipe. Not your traditional taco recipe, but a mash up of Middle Eastern and South American flavors. Crunchy cauliflower which I pan-roasted with sumac and za’atar, creamy baba ganoush, zesty chimichurri and for extra flavor and texture fried leeks. A messy eat but well worth it.

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This recipe is for 12 small tacos.

Ingredients:

For the baba ganoush:

2 large eggplants

1/3 cup of tahini

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lime

¾ of a teaspoon of garlic powder

¾ of a teaspoon of paprika powder

¾ of a teaspoon of onion powder

Pinch of cumin

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt to taste

Pinch of cayenne

For the cauliflower:

½ a head of cauliflower

4 tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of lemon pepper

Pinch of salt

1 ½ tablespoons of sumac

1 ½ tablespoons of Za’atar

Pinch of black pepper

For the fried leeks:

1 leek

Vegetable oil, about 2 cups

Salt

For the chimichurri:

2 cups of flat leaf parsley, firmly packed and without hard stems

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped

1 tablespoons of dried oregano

½ cup of olive oil

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

Juice of 2 limes

1 teaspoon of salt

Pepper

Extras:

12 small tortillas

½ cup of pomegranate seeds

 

Start by making the baba ganoush, preheat your oven to 230C/446F and rub the skin of the eggplants with a bit of olive oil. Place them whole on a tray lined with parchment paper and roast them for 30 minutes.

Once they are roasted, slice them in half and spoon out the flesh. Place the tahini in the food processor and pulse for 1 minute. Then add the eggplant and the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until you have a smooth dip. Taste for salt and adjust the spices to your liking. Set it aside to cool.

To make the chimichurri, place all of the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until it is very fine. Set it aside.

To make the cauliflower, chop it into small chunks and place it in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon pepper, salt, sumac, Za’atar and black pepper. Mix it well.

Heat up a pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the seasoned cauliflower including any oil left in the bowl. Cook the cauliflower for about 7 minutes, stirring from time to time. Set it aside.

To make the fried leeks, thinly slice them the sizes of matchsticks (only the white and pale green parts). Then heat up the oil in a small pan over medium heat. Have a plate lined with paper towels ready. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced leeks in small batches. Cook until lightly golden and then place them on the prepared plate. Repeat until you are done.

To serve, warm up the tortillas in a pan. Add some baba ganoush to each tortilla, then the cauliflower and a drizzle of chimichurri. Finally add the fried leeks and pomegranate seeds.

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Butternut Squash, Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Sumac & Za’atar Roasted Cashew Crumbs and Shaved Asparagus (Vegan)

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A very easy and comforting soup with added crunch from the raw asparagus and cashew crumbs. Perfect for this cold weather.

On another note, I recently made a tutorial for the blue background that you see in these pictures. You can check it out by clicking here.

 

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the soup:

1 medium butternut squash, just chopped into pieces

4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into pieces

2 medium sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 white onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 litter of vegetable stock

½ teaspoon of celery salt

Pinch of paprika powder

Salt to taste

For the cashew crumbs:

1 cup of salted cashews, finely chopped into crumbs

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of paprika powder

1 tablespoon of sumac

1 teaspoon of Za’atar

Pinch of salt (optional)

For the asparagus:

8 asparagus

Salt

Pepper

 

Chop the butternut squash (leave the skin and seeds on, they will come off easier after being roasted) and carrot into chunks. Place the butternut squash, carrots and whole sweet potatoes in an oven tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil over the squash and carrot. Sprinkle with some salt and then roast them in the oven at 180C/350F until tender. This will take about ½ hour for the squash and carrots, and 1 hour for the sweet potato. So just check from time to time.

Once the vegetables are roasted, scoop out the seeds from the butternut squash and discard them. Then scoop out the flesh and set it aside. Peel the sweet potato.

In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil over medium heat. Then add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the butternut squah, carrots and sweet potatoes. Add the stock, celery salt and paprika powder. Let it simmer for 5 minutes and then blend it until smooth using an immersion blender. Taste it, and then add salt to taste.

To make the cashew crumbs, mix the chopped cashews with the spices and olive oil. Roast them for 15 minutes at 180C/350F. Stir the crumbs half way through.  Set it aside to cool.

When you are ready to serve, reheat the soup and start preparing the asparagus. Grab a potato peeler and start to shave the asparagus. Don’t worry if some break. Then season them with salt and pepper.

Serve the soup with the seasoned shaved asparagus and some of the cashew crumbs. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Gigli with Chorizo, Flower Sprouts & Sumac Roasted Chickpeas

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I saw these flower sprouts at my supermarket and I was very curious to try them so I just got them. If you have never seen or heard of them, they are a mix between Brussels sprouts and kale. They cook very quickly and are mild in taste. They add a nice texture to this slightly spicy pasta dish.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

200grs of gigli pasta or any other pasta that you prefer

60grs of chorizo, thinly sliced

1 medium shallot, chopped

1 clove of garlic

½ cup of tomato puree

½ cup of vegetable or chicken stock

Salt

Pepper

Cayenne

Pinch of sugar

For the Flower sprouts:

2 handfuls of flower sprouts

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of garlic powder

Salt

Pepper

For the sumac roasted chickpeas:

1/3 of a cup of canned chickpeas

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of sumac

Pinch of salt

Extra:

Grated Parmesan for serving

 

Preheat your oven to 180/350F.

Mix the chickpeas with the olive oil, salt and sumac. Spread them over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Roast them for 20 minutes.

Slice off the tough ends of the flower sprouts. Then slice them in half, trying to separate the leaves as much as you can. Pour the olive into a pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, saute the flower sprouts with some garlic powder, salt and pepper. This will only take 1 or 2 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl and set them aside.

Cook the chorizo in a large pan until slightly brown on both sides. Do not use any oil, as the chorizo will render enough of its own fat anyways. Once the chorizo is brown, transfer it to a small bowl. Keep the fat in the pan. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Then add the garlic and tomato puree. Cook for 1 minute and then add the stock, salt, pepper, cayenne and sugar. Let it reduce for about 6 minutes until it becomes a sauce. Taste for salt.

In the meanwhile, cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

Once the sauce is ready, add the chorizo, flower sprouts, chickpeas and pasta. Mix well. Serve with some grated Parmesan. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Purple Carrot & Golden Beet Tart with Tahini & Sumac

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I made this tart today for dinner and it hardly lasted till dinner. Since I cook everything early to be able to photograph it during daylight, it was hard to stop eating it. I love the sweetness of the carrots and beets combined with the citrusy sumac and creamy tahini. It’s a very easy tart to make for this holiday season.

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This recipe is enough for a 40x24cm tart.

Ingredients:

1 sheet of puff pastry (40x24cms)

4 medium purple carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise with a mandolin

1 very large golden beet, thinly sliced with a mandoline

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the tahini-sumac sauce:

¼ cup of tahini

1 tablespoon of sumac

Juice of ½ a lemon

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of onion powder

Chili flakes to taste

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

For the toppings:

80grs of feta, crumbled

¼ cup of chopped chives, dressed in a bit of olive oil, white vinegar, salt and pepper

¼ cup of toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds

Extra:

Egg wash

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Cook the thinly sliced carrots and beets in a large pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. I cooked them separately for about 5 minutes until tender but still firm, stirring often.

To make the tahini-sumac sauce, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Place the puff pastry on an oven sheet lined with parchment paper. Fold the edges, making a 1cm border and pinch to seal them. Using a fork, pinch the dough all over, except for the borders.

Spread the tahini-sumac sauce evenly over the pastry. Arrange the cooked carrot and beet slices all over the pastry. Make sure to spread them evenly, so there is a good ratio of carrot/beet on each slice later on.

Brush the edges of the puff pastry with the egg wash. Bake it for 35 minutes, till golden.

To serve, spread the crumble feta all over. Do the same for the toasted pine nuts, pomegranate and the dressed chives. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

Spicy Apple Chips

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When I was younger and still living with my parents I used to make apple chips more often. That had to do with the fact that they had two large ovens so I could make big batches in one go. Now with a small oven, It just takes longer so I don’t make them as often as I’d like. They are such a great snack. Recently I got a craving for a Mexican lollipop a friend of mine brought me back from Mexico some years ago. They were apple lollipops with a spicy citrus flavor similar to the flavor of Tajin seasoning powder. I used to have that powder in my pantry but I was out. So I added sumac for the citrus flavor and cayenne for heat. It’s a very addictive snack.This recipe makes a small batch.

Ingredients:

For the simple syrup:

2 cups of water

2 cups of sugar

For the chips:

2 apples, thinly sliced with a mandoline (I used one Granny Smith and one Royal Gala)

Cayenne

Sumac

 

Preheat the oven to 110C/230F. Line a baking tray or more with parchment paper.

To make the simple syrup, just place the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then transfer it to a bowl and let it cool down for 10 minutes.

Once the simple syrup has cooled down, place the apple slices in the syrup. Let them sit there for 1 minute. this will help make the apple chips very crispy. Then strain them and spread the slices over the prepared baking tray. Sprinkle with some cayenne and sumac. A little cayenne goes a long way here; you can be a bit more generous with the sumac.  Bake them for 1 ½ hours or until crispy.  I like to lift each chip from the parchment paper and move them about an hour into the baking, so they are less likely to break once you take them out and they are complete crispy. They are best when eaten right away, otherwise allow them to cool down and store them in an airtight container till the next day. They are so light and crispy, it’s hard not to finish them in one go.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Carrot Salad with Tahini-Sumac Dressing & Halloumi

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This is a stay at home weekend. The weather hasn’t been the nicest, so I’m taking advantage of that by catching up on posting recipes as well as testing new ones. I’ve been baking this morning so if everything goes well, there will be a sweet recipe here tomorrow.

For now a healthy salad recipe, this carrot salad has a bit of an unusual dressing but it accompanies it very well. The tahini makes the dressing really creamy and the sumac adds a nice tanginess to it.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

4 big carrots, shredded

½ bunch of coriander, chopped

1/3 cup of pistachios, chopped

1 pomegranate

225gr of halloumi

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Pepper

Salt

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons of tahini

1 teaspoon of sumac

Juice of 3 limes

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of ginger syrup

1 teaspoon of salt

Pepper

 

To make the dressing, just place all of the ingredients in a jar and cover with a lid. Shake until everything is combined. Set aside.

Slice the halloumi into 1cm thick slices, season with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a pan over medium heat. Fry the halloumi until golden on both sides. This will only take a few minutes. Set aside.

Place the shredded carrot, coriander, pistachios and pomegranate seeds in a large bowl. Add the dressing and mix well.  Serve with the pan-fried halloumi.

Buttermilk Roast Chicken with Sumac

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A while ago I was craving rotisserie chicken from Peru. It is one of those things you would often eat as a kid on a Sunday , when your parents didn’t feel like cooking. Either you would go out to eat it or have it delivered at home.  There is something about the combination of spices that they put on it that makes it so delicious.  Tender and juicy chicken with French fries and lots of chili sauce to dip them in, was the perfect Sunday meal. I even remember that while I lived in Maryland as a kid, my parents found a Peruvian rotisserie chicken place that was absolutely delicious. It tasted as good as back home.

I wanted to make something similar at home. I soaked the whole chicken overnight in buttermilk because it makes it more tender and juicier.  Then rub it with a lot of spices before roasting it in the oven. I added sumac to the rub because I love the lemony taste that it brings to the dish.

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This recipe is for a small 1 kilo chicken, perfect for a dinner for 2.

Ingredients:

1 kilo chicken

For the buttermilk marinade:

1 litter buttermilk

1 teaspoon of sumac

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

For the rub:

5 tablespoons of butter, softened

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

3 tablespoon of sumac

3 tablespoon of dried oregano

2 teaspoon of cumin

2 teaspoon of onion powder

2 teaspoon of garlic powder

Pinch of cayenne

Salt

 

The night before, whisk together all of the ingredients for the buttermilk marinade in a big bowl. Add the chicken and let it soak in the buttermilk mixture overnight in the fridge.

The next day, preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture. Discard of the liquid. Pat it dry with some paper towels.

Mix all of the ingredients for the rub in a bowl. Place about 1/3 of the rub in between the skin and the meat.  Place the other 3rd inside the cavity and then rub the remaining of the spices all over the skin of the chicken.

Place the chicken in an oven dish, breast side down. Roast for 40 minutes.

Then remove the chicken from the oven, turn the breast side up. Place it back in the oven and roast for an extra 10 minutes. Baste it with the juices every couple of minutes.  After the 10 minutes are up, check if the chicken is fully cooked. Insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and breast, if the juices that come out are clear and not pink, the chicken is cooked. Otherwise leave it in the oven for a few more minutes and check again.

Once the chicken is out of the oven, cover it with some foil and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Then cut it in half and serve with the side of your choice. I went for pan-roasted potatoes and asparagus.