Plump disks of roasted sweet potato, shreds of kale, popped golden turmeric chickpeas, all slathered in an easy and hugely nourishing za’atar hummus dressing. An easy vegan lunch, side dish or salad – the choice is yours.
Is this a salad, a side dish or lunch? I’m really not sure, perhaps because it is all three. And, if you are weird like me, it can be breakfast, too (note to self: slip on a poached egg next time). So, it is flexible.
It is also patient: have it warm with just-roasted sweet potatoes, or let it hang around in the kitchen while you prep other dishes, or do an errand. It will wait. Just don’t eat it straight from the fridge, or you will lose the balance of taste and texture that this easy recipe provides for very little effort. Yes, store it in the fridge if you like (sans chickpeas, please) but bring it to room temperature to enjoy the full flavour.
I’ve seen platters of this kind of dish at numerous Edinburgh cafes over the past few years. Frequently as great hulking sweet potato wedges subsumed under a weight of ubiquitous (but nonetheless delicious) pomegranate arils and a blanket of chopped herbs. Often with lentils or chickpeas; definitely with a yogurt dressing. Usually they are chilled within an inch of their lives – food hygiene regs. If of a mind to have a salady lunch this is what I often will choose, and never regret doing so – despite the unwanted chill. You can’t really go wrong from a nutritional perspective – loads of beta carotene, plant protein and fibre. And I love the contrast of savoury with a subtle touch of natural sweetness. Don’t you?
Today’s recipe is lighter than it first appears – feel good food, that does you good, without weighing you down. Kale, torn and then lightly massaged in the hand to soften those often stubborn fibres, is threaded amongst the bright, lightly roasted disks of sweet potato; and the whole thing is anointed with a three-ingredient dressing, pebble dashed with toasted seeds, and finally topped with oven-popped (yes, popped!), turmeric-coated chickpeas. We absolutely adore it. Lately, it has landed on the table at work and at home in various guises. Sometimes cumin-flecked black beans instead of chickpeas; sometimes with the extra healthy monounsaturated fat and creamy taste from buttery-ripe avocado; herbs are gathered and torn over the top if the mood strikes me. It is a hugely flexible recipe. More a template, I suppose.
green salad with nasturtiums and avocado, plus simple lemon vinaigrette
At work I will serve this with two other salads – lately my Greek take on the Italian panzanella, as well as a green salad flecked with nasturtiums from my garden. But if it is just me, and I’m not having to show off the versatility of a plant-heavy diet, just a plate of this, some leaves and I’m happy.
So, I guess it really is lunch.
Is there a recipe that you make that you can eat – reasonably – at any meal? And, do you hate over-chilled foods too? Ice cream excepted, of course 😉
Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale and Popped Chickpeas with Za'atar Hummus DressingServings: 4 with other dishes
Plump disks of roasted sweet potato, shreds of kale, popped golden turmeric chickpeas, all slathered in an easy and hugely nourishing za’atar hummus dressing. An easy vegan lunch, side dish or salad – the choice is yours. Keeps well for lunch boxes and picnics, too. xx
6 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided use (or 1 tbsp regular olive oil and 1 tbsp garlic olive oil – I like the one from Greybe Fine Olive Products)
- 150g cooked chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 60g or so young kale leaves, torn (amount is really up to you)
- 90-100g hummus (here’s my hummus recipe)
- 1/2 juicy lemon