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Chickpea Za’atar Salad

Morning 🙂

I’ve had a very lazy morning today, I am still in my PJs and sitting in bed writing this. Just sick of all the job applications and hearing nothing back from anyone – not even a no. Just no response. It’s a horrible habit society has got into of not even acknowledging emails and job enquiries. I know all about how it works after doing a stint in recruitment and I understand how difficult and simply impossible it would be to reply to everyone whose CV I looked through. But there is something quite inhumane about it and being now on the other end of the stick I’d even be happy with an automated reply saying ‘no’ just so I know and I can move on to bigger and better things.

My course starts in a week tomorrow. So 8 days. so thats just under 200 hours of potential preparation time and time to find myself a job.

Not that the pressure is on or anything. But in truth all I want to do is cook, eat and write. I feel like the education I am getting in the kitchen is much more valuable and worthwhile than a call centre job!!

Anyway… enough of my rant for today, last night I made a tasty tasty salad. It was infused with all sorts of middle eastern and Mediterranean flavours I haven’t used before. It was also really simple and took me about 20 minutes to throw it all together.

Unfortunately my brother decided he doesn’t like chickpeas and my mum was out stuck in the busy London traffic. So I had lots to eat and enjoy on my own!

A few hours before cooking soak your barley/wheat berries in water. Then when you come round to cooking them they take only about 30 minutes rather than the hour that they say in the recipe.

I also used tinned chickpeas to make my life easier.

Chickpea Za’atar Salad

Chickpea Za’atar Salad

I loved making the Za’atar spice and have loads of it left over ready to be used in some other exotic recipe I can find. It was so simple and a great combination of toasted sesame seeds, ground Sumac, ground cumin and dried thyme. delicious. and I can’t wait to use it again.

Za'atar spices

Za’atar spices

Anyway here is the recipe!

Also I would say it tastes better today than last night – the barley needs the extra time to soak up all the tasty flavours in the salad and today it tastes stronger. chomp chomp chomp.

P.s thank you to the Green Kitchen Stories again – I feel like I might need to go out and buy their recipe book as I am falling in love with all their ideas!

Chickpea Za’atar Salad
Serves 4

1 cup / 240 ml raw chickpeas / garbanzo beans
1 cup / 240 ml raw wheat berries, preferably freekeh (green wheat berries, buy in middle eastern store) or use kamut, spelt berries or barley
2 aubergines / eggplants
2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil or coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground sumac (buy in middle eastern store)
4 tomatoes
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice
2-3 tbsp Za’atar spice blend (recipe below)
1/2 cup (150 g) goat’s cheese, crumbled

Soaking and cooking chickpeas / wheat berries: Place chickpeas and wheat berries in two bowls, cover with twice as much water and let soak overnight. Rinse and drain, place in two cooking pots, cover with water twice the amount of chickpeas/berries, add a pinch of salt and pepper and cover. Bring to a boil, then remove the lid, lower the heat and let simmer for approximately 1 hour. Test to see if tender. It may vary in the cooking time. Drain and allow to cool.


Roasting the aubergine: Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. Cut the aubergine into 1/2-inch / 1 cm squares. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sumac and cumin seeds and toss with your hands so every aubergine are lightly coated in oil and spices. Bake in the oven for around 20 – 30 minutes or until golden and soft.

Making the salad: Mix cooked chickpeas, cooked wheat berries, roasted aubergine, tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice and Za’atar in a large serving bowl. Toss with your hands until well combined, sprinkle with goat’s cheese. Serve.


Za’atar Spice Blend

4 tbsp lightly toasted sesame seeds
4 tbsp ground sumac
2 tbsp dried thyme
1 pinch of sea salt
(1 tbsp ground cumin is a really nice addition, but optional)

Making the  Za’atar: Place sesame seeds on a skillet and gently toast on low heat while stirring. Remove from heat, allow to cool and mix with the rest of the spices. Place in an airtight glass jar. Keeps for months.