Joanne Weir’s Spicy Fried Chickpeas & Herb Salad with Tzatziki
So many of us love the idea of whipping up a fabulous dinner during the week, but when it comes to putting the pan on the flame, we lose confidence. Do I have the skills to pull this off? Do I have the time? Award-winning cooking teacher, author, chef, and TV personality Joanne Wier says the answer is “yes”. It’s the subject of her latest book, Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence: Dinner Made Simple. Written as the companion cookbook to her new public television show, “Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence,” this book will inspires a “you can do it” spirit in the kitchen.
Spicy Fried Chickpeas & Herb Salad with Tzatziki
Think of this dinner as deconstructed falafel that requires just a fraction of the effort. First, chickpeas are fried in olive oil and tossed in a mixture of smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, creating a slightly crunchy exterior that hides a smooth, creamy interior. These spicy-hot chickpeas are then tossed with a vibrant salad of mixed greens, mint, and cilantro, stuffed inside a warm pita and drizzled with homemade tzatziki.
Save yourself a lot of time by using canned chickpeas. Just make sure they’re bone-dry when you drop them into the olive oil to avoid oil spatters.
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Combine the paprika, cumin, coriander, and cayenne in a medium-size bowl and set aside. Season with salt.
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat until it begins to ripple. Working in 2 batches, add the chickpeas to the frying pan and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crispy, 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chickpeas to paper towels to drain briefly. Place in the bowl with the spices and toss to coat.
3. Wrap the pita in foil and place in the oven until warm, 10 minutes.
4. Make the dressing by whisking together the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with salt. Toss the mint, cilantro, and salad greens together in a bowl with the dressing. Add the chickpeas.
5. Cut the pitas in half and open each pocket. Divide the salad between the pita pockets. Drizzle with the Tzatziki and serve immediately.
1. Place the cucumbers on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let drain for 10 minutes. Using paper towels, squeeze out the excess moisture (don’t worry about squishing the cucumber pieces).
2. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, mint, dill, and oil. Mix well. Add lemon juice to taste and season with salt.
At the Market-Cucumbers
You’ll see two or three kinds of cucumbers at the market: those that are waxed and the long skinny English cucumbers that are wrapped in plastic wrap. I prefer the English variety because they have fewer seeds, better flavor, and less water. The English variety costs more, but what you gain for the price is quality. Also, Persian cucumbers, a smaller variety, are excellent quality.
- Wine pairing: Riesling or Pinot Grigio
- For a starter, I love to serve baba ghanouj with cucumber slices.
- One of my favorite simple desserts is Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts.
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1?4 tsp. cayenne pepper
6 Tbs. olive oil
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted
6 medium pita breads, 6 inches in diameter
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1?2 tsp. lemon zest
25 fresh mint leaves, very
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, very coarsely chopped
6 cups mixed salad greens
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
2 cups whole milk Greek yogurt
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
3 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 3 tsp. freshly squeezed
to you by Amy Tobin
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