Middle Eastern “Nachos” with Spiced Chickpeas

Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com

Anything goes with summer cooking. Well, let’s be honest anything goes with anytime cooking but in the summertime it’s easier to get away with simple, quick cooking because the ingredients need so little fussing. In fact the problem lies in the over fussing.

This is the sort of recipe that highlights the ease of summer by using some of its finest ingredients in a recipe that are like nachos and totally not. I like to play around with the whole nacho concept while my kids roll their eyes when they see their cheese chips covered in radish slices and pickled red onions. To them nachos are chips and melted cheese but until they start cooking dinner they get frilly cilantro, cucumber and chickpeas on their nachos.

Even I, the nacho impurest, am not sure I can call these nachos for their lack of an abundance of cheese. Perhaps it’s more like a dip that only requires one platter. Or, as my friend Sam just pointed out it’s almost reminiscent of the Middle Eastern dish, Fattoush. In lieu of pita we have delicious hearty and seedy Way Better Chips that while more nutritious than others satisfy that crisp, salty indulgence that we so love in a chip with a deeper punch of flavor as they use the best possible ingredients. Regardless of how we categorize them it’s a simple dish that I would call dinner or better yet serve to a crowd while we’re sipping on something cold and waiting for the grill to warm up.

Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com

If you’re one to plan ahead you can easily mix up the chickpeas a few days prior to enjoying but even without preplanning this entire recipe could be made in under ten minutes. Time me.

Use this recipe as a guide and add to it or take away however you see fit. If you like more spice throw in a bit more of the chile paste or stir in dry chile powder if you don’t have paste on hand. Perhaps your family is a bigger fan of piquant olives than mine? Then toss those on top too. And if cilantro isn’t a favorite herb (I do know this one tends to be rather divisive) than I’d use a mix of basil, parsley, mint, chives and even dill. The point here is that it is highly adaptable and such a great starting point for a no-fuss summer favorite.

Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com

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*This is post is proudly sponsored by Way Better Snacks who strives to make great tasting snacks that we can feel better about eating and feeding to our friends and family. Their secret is in the sprouting which not only boosts the flavor but makes their snacks better for us too. Find out more about their process and check out all the delicious flavors at gowaybetter.com

Middle Eastern “Nachos” with Spiced Chickpeas

Serves 4 to 6

 

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt

1/2 tablespoon chile paste (Sambal Oelek is what I use)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt

2 5.5 ounce bags of Way Better Snacks Chips (Blue Corn and Sweet Chili make a fine pair)

1/2 cucumber, roughly chopped

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup cilantro (a little mint is lovely in there too)

1/2 cup crumbled feta

 

In a bowl combine the chickpeas, yogurt, chile paste, cumin, coriander, and a pinch of salt. Stir it all together then taste and adjust the seasonings as you see fit.

Spread the chips onto a platter and top with the chickpea mixture. Sprinkle on the cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, and feta cheese. Serve right away.

 

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Watermelon Lime Bars

Watermelon Lime Bars

I can’t think of a way to start this post that doesn’t sound flippant or trivial and yet I can not begin to fill this place with food again until I’ve acknowledged the heartache and the pain that has flooded  our world due to the events last week. Sitting in the reality of those events, food and what I contribute to this world with the table as my medium felt too small, too easy.

I had intended to share this recipe last week but instead I shared the image below on Instagram and Facebook with the following text because that is what my heart needed to say.

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I’m suppose to be sharing a recipe today. Talking about our food and showing pretty pictures of it all. But today I just can’t. I’ll return to the food because it’s part of the beauty of life and I want to foster beauty and remind people that in spite of all the hate and ugliness in this world there is also always beauty. But today I can’t. Today I need to do more and not ignore what is happening in our world right now.

The boys are downstairs. There’s clapping, constant whistling cheers and joy. They are playing a video game. Upstairs I’m scraping off last night’s pasta from our plates, scrubbing red sauce off the stove, waiting for my coffee to bubble up and wondering what the hell do I say to my children about the devastation that has happened in the last few days.

Families have been broken. Friends have lost friends. Beds will be empty tonight where a warm body should lay. Children won’t get the snuggles they so desperately want. Two women are suddenly without their partners. A future they knew that included a teammate has been violently taken from them A dad was killed, his son weeps. My boys are downstairs getting riled up about a missed home run by some pixelated ball player.

I want to protect, to shield them from the gross realities of this world. I wonder if they are too young to know how broken this world is? I want them to stay that way. Wouldn’t it be nice for them if their hardest part of the day was that their brother didn’t give up his turn at the game when he was suppose to?

No.

I want to raise children who are sickened by a world who sees people as a color. I want our family to collectively stand for love and to be a loud, clear voice that advocates for that. How do I teach them to not see color, sexual orientation, religion, level of education, gender, age, etc. as a way to define, rate, and judge people when the world teaches them otherwise?

We can do better, we can do more. We get to show them how to love. We get to teach them to fight hate with love. That’s our job and some days it’s just really damn hard but NOTHING compared to what some people’s realities are today.

 

______

Watermelon Lime Bars

So today I return to food and while it still feels small it’s always where my heart turns when it doesn’t know what else to do. Friday, when sitting with all the emotions of hopelessness, complete heartache and that ripping feeling you get when you don’t know what to do and you fear you’re not doing enough, I started cooking. I made homemade pizza with ricotta and big spoonfuls of truffle cream I brought back from Italy. There was homemade pasta with chanterelles and cherry tomatoes, farro with zucchini, chicken stuffed with fennel, sausage and peaches and slices of sweet nectarines in a chilled, spiced red wine. We gathered around the table with family and our community. We laughed, told stories of our travels and with each bite, each toast, each laugh we began to fill the air with hope. It doesn’t take away with the scary realities of this world but it’s a reminder that even in the midst of darkness there also is beauty.

The recipe today is one that I’ve been keeping for years. It’s an adaptation from a recipe I discovered on Epicurious then throughout many cooking classes I taught, long hot summer days and now sharing it with Electrolux it became my own. It’s a stunning layered dessert with icy watermelon sorbet forming the base and a creamy, tart lime semifreddo capping it off. The name, appearance and taste impresses beyond the complexity of the recipe. The hardest part is waiting for the layers to set so plan accordingly.

Check out the recipe on the Electrolux site and while you’re there poke around at some of the other great recipes. Watermelon is delightful when used in savory recipes too – like this salad with avocados and jalapeños which makes a perfect partner with grilled chicken.  And Sara’s recipe for Watermelon salsa to serve with roasted halibut. 

Just a couple other things to note:

I recently did an interview and shared a few of my favorite recipes with a German Magazine. You can read that on their website, Zeit. If you do read it let me know if they’re making of fun of me because I can understand a word of German. Just kidding, I know they aren’t but seriously, it’s a bit strange to not know what is being said. I suppose I could use Google translator.

Also, I’m partnering with the Salish Lodge here in Washington to put on a super lovely and romantic Date Night. Find out more and book your tickets on their site. There’s not many available so book quickly!

And finally, be kind to yourselves and others today. Let’s fill our tables with good food to share with our people because even though it feels like a too simple task it’s one of the biggest and best things we can do.

Watermelon Lime Bars

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