This Moroccan Chickpea Carrot Salad with Za’atar Croutons is chock full of shredded carrots, chickpeas and other veggies, pomegranate, feta and toasted pine nuts, but the kicker is the lemon and cumin dressing that brings this all together. Top with crunchy homemade Za’atar spiced croutons and dinner is served!
The clincher with this salad for me is this salad dressing. A simple one made from olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and ground cumin. Cumin is a spice that I use often and while probably known to many in Mexican cuisine, it is essential in Middle Eastern cooking. It works so well with the citrus in this salad dressing.
Lots of shredded carrots are used in this salad along with chickpeas, another Middle Eastern staple. Think hummus like my Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus or in soup like my Harira, a Lentil Tomato Soup. Whether you call them chickpeas or garbanzo beans, they are so good for you and they actually help detoxify sulfites (a preservative) from the body.
I wanted one of my salads-that-are-a-meal salads and this hits the mark. With bell peppers, arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, lots of feta cheese toasted pine nuts and pomegranate arils for that pop of freshness, you are sure to be filled with healthy, good for you ingredients. To top it all off I made some homemade croutons spiced with the exotic za’atar.
Typically Za’atar is a blend of ground sumac, roasted sesame seeds, marjoram, thyme and oregano. I usually add kosher salt to my mix as well. You can find my recipe for Classic Lebanese Za’atar Spice Mix here. Sumac is a dried red berry that has been ground and gives a very tart, citrus flavor to many dishes.
The croutons are easy to make. Simply cube up some day old bread, drizzle some olive oil on top and sprinkle a generous 2-3 tablespoons of the Za’atar spice blend over and toss to coat. In the oven they go at 250°F for a low 30 minute bake and you’re set.
With fresh herbs like cilantro, mint and parsley, salad greens, nuts, cheese and fruit and vegetables, this is sure to fill you up and put a smile on your face. Enjoy!
Moroccan Chickpea Carrot Salad with Za'atar Croutons
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 - 15.5 oz cans chickpeas drained and rinsed (garbanzo beans)
- 2 large carrots peeled and julienned
- 4 Persian cucumbers sliced, (See Note 1)
- 2 plum tomatoes diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1/4 cup each chopped fresh cilantro mint and parsley
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/2 cup pine nuts toasted
- 6 slices wheat or sourdough bread cubed
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp za’atar spice blend (See Note 2)
- Preheat oven to 250°F. In a bowl add the cubed bread and toss with oil and Za’atar spice blend. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt, black pepper and cayenne. Set aside.
- In a small fry pan, toast the pine nuts over medium heat until golden brown. Season with salt and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, carrot, cucumbers, tomatoes, red pepper, herbs, feta cheese, pomegranate and pine nuts.
- Pour lemon cumin dressing over chickpea salad and toss to mix thoroughly. Serve immediately topped with Za’atar spiced croutons.