Mixed Vegetable Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

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Ingredients:

5 cups loosely packed green leaf lettuce, spinach or arugula, torn into bite-sized pieces

1 1/2 cups cherry or heirloom tomatoes, halved

1 cup finely diced cucumber, seeded

1 cup garbanzo beans, washed and drained

1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

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1 cup finely chopped mint leaves

1 cup grilled eggplant or zucchini, diced

1/2 cup diced or sliced white or red onion

1/4 cup Kalamata or black olives, halved

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, optional

2 roasted red or green bell pepper, diced

6 radishes, finely chopped

6 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped

1 large avocado, diced or sliced

2-3 white or whole-wheat pitas

Kosher or sea salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon sumac

Olive oil

Lemon wedges

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, optional, to garnish

Preparation:

Toast the pita bread until crisp but not browned. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan.  Tear pita bread into pieces, and place in the heated oil. Fry briefly until browned, tossing.  Season with salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of sumac.  Remove the pita chips from the heat and place on paper towels to drain.

Assemble the salad ingredients in a large bowl by layers of vegetables or toss together in a bowl.  Drizzle with Tahini Lemon Dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Top with the toasted pita chips and pine nuts, if desired, and serve with extra dressing and lemon wedges on the side.

*Homemade cooked falafels, diced chicken, beef or lamb kebobs, or diced leftover Armenian kufta may be added to this salad, as well as chopped baked or grilled chicken or turkey.

Serves 4-6.

Tahini Lemon Dressing

Ingredients:

1/2 cup tahini, or a little more

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed

1/4 cup water
2 scallions, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley

1/4 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt

Juice of 1 large lemon, more to taste

Pinch of cumin and sumac

Preparation:

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl for a few minutes until combined or place in a blender or food processor and blend thoroughly until very smooth. Check seasonings, adding more tahini, salt, olive oil or lemon juice for a smoother consistency.

Use dressing immediately or store (sealed) in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

*Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee newspaper, Sunset magazine, Cooking Light magazine, and at https://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/