© 2013 Green Kitchen Stories Zaatar_salad

Chickpea Za’atar Salad

Reading through your comments on our latest post and giveaway gave us serious goose bumps. We started this blog without any expectations that our recipes would ever be cooked outside our own kitchen. And all of a sudden they are in Japan, Austin, Hungary, Nova Scotia, Singapore, Seoul, San Diego, Brisbane, Hillerød and 787 other places. It is cool beyond words, this internet blog thing.

We are truly humbled by your massive response and encouragement. A huge congrats to our winner, Marie Boucomont from Paris! We are really sorry that we can’t give a blender to each and everyone of you. But we wanted to at least do something more, so we randomly picked 3 more names – Katherine Amelia from Sydney, Keilah from Nebraska, Candela from Argentina. You guys will get a signed copy of our book!

Given that so many of you listed your favorite GKS recipe, we of course had to count them all (pheeeeew). So, *drum roll* here is a list of your 15 most favored GKS recipes (starting from the top):

1. Raw Buckwheat Porridge De Luxe
2. Herb & Pistachio Falafel
3. Bean Chili with Walnut & Chocolate
4. Lemon & Coconut Bars
5. Yoga Pot
6. Immune Boosting Turmeric Lassi
7. Frozen Pink Cheesecake
8. Blueberry, Lemon & Almond Cake
9. World’s Greatest Vegetable Lasagna
10. Flower Power Cake
11. Banana & Blueberry Pancakes
12. Indian Lentil Soup
13. Hemp Protein Bars
14. Moroccan Quinoa Salad
15. Decadent Beet & Chocolate Cake


We’re curious how high today’s recipe would rank? It is not impossible that it actually might have made it on to the top 15. Even though it is one of our more messier creations, it is also a really wonderful mix of flavors and texture combinations.

Za’atar is an ancient middle eastern spice blend made from lightly toasted sesame seeds, sun dried herbs and ground sumac. If you haven’t heard of sumac before, we can definitely recommend trying it. Ground sumac comes from dried sumac berries and tastes like a groovy combination of tangy sour and fruity. Use it in marinades, dressings, za’atar spice blends or on oven roasted vegetables.


This salad is made with chickpeas, wheat berries, sumac grilled aubergine, juicy  tomatoes, parsley and goat’s cheese. Everything is drizzled with olive oil, lemon and this amazing za’atar blend. If you close your eyes, the scent of the lemon and za’atar will hopefully bring you to a busy Middle Eastern souq.
Another thing that we love about this salad is that you get to dig your hands into it when combining. Messy hands = The best salads, and you can quote us on that.


Chickpea Za’atar Salad
Serves 4

1 cup / 240 ml raw chickpeas / garbanzo beans
1 cup / 240 ml raw wheat berries, preferably freekeh (green wheat berries, buy in middle eastern store) or use kamut, spelt berries or barley
2 aubergines / eggplants
2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil or coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground sumac (buy in middle eastern store)
4 tomatoes
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice
2-3 tbsp Za’atar spice blend (recipe below)
1/2 cup (150 g) goat’s cheese, crumbled

Soaking and cooking chickpeas / wheat berries: Place chickpeas and wheat berries in two bowls, cover with twice as much water and let soak overnight. Rinse and drain, place in two cooking pots, cover with water twice the amount of chickpeas/berries, add a pinch of salt and pepper and cover. Bring to a boil, then remove the lid, lower the heat and let simmer for approximately 1 hour. Test to see if tender. It may vary in the cooking time. Drain and allow to cool.

Roasting the aubergine: Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. Cut the aubergine into 1/2-inch / 1 cm squares. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sumac and cumin seeds and toss with your hands so every aubergine are lightly coated in oil and spices. Bake in the oven for around 20 – 30 minutes or until golden and soft.

Making the salad: Mix cooked chickpeas, cooked wheat berries, roasted aubergine, tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice and Za’atar in a large serving bowl. Toss with your hands until well combined, sprinkle with goat’s cheese. Serve.


Za’atar Spice Blend

4 tbsp lightly toasted sesame seeds
4 tbsp ground sumac
2 tbsp dried thyme
1 pinch of sea salt
(1 tbsp ground cumin is a really nice addition, but optional)

Making the  Za’atar: Place sesame seeds on a skillet and gently toast on low heat while stirring. Remove from heat, allow to cool and mix with the rest of the spices. Place in an airtight glass jar. Keeps for months.

PS. We just found out that Luise made it onto Babble’s Top 100 Mom Food Blog list. She is actually #3 on the list! Discover more blogs and see the full list here.


  1. Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 11:00 | #

    Beautiful recipe guys! I have some Thyme drying and my Sumac is ready to become even more delicious. I love getting my hands in there. With a particularly good salad i will always eat with my hands- a much more sensual experience.

  2. Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 12:36 | #

    So excited to see this recipe! I bought a bag of sumac on a trip to Istanbul and my Mum just brought me back freekeh from a trip to Jordan (I always buy foody souvenirs when I go away :)). I haven’t used the freekeh yet but this will be the first dish I make with it.

  3. Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 13:57 | #

    It is no wonder, with such a blog, that you have so many international readers! Can’t wait for summer to try this recipe! Thank you again and again for sharing your passion with us.

  4. Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 14:23 | #

    Wow this salad looks amazing!

  5. emily
    Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 15:10 | #

    Bummer, I was so hoping to win.
    Oh well, at least I got an exciting new salad recipe to try.
    Looks amazing!

  6. sally alexandrine
    Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 15:22 | #

    Love every ingredient and it sounds so easy to make. can’t wait to try it out.
    also i agree with what you said “Messy hands = The best salads” i always mix my salad with me hands :)

  7. Sini
    Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 15:27 | #

    Oh this recipe sound amazing! I can already imagine it’s taste. I discovered the wonderful world of za’atar this winter and think that it’s a great spice blend especially with roasted veggies. Hopefully I can make this salad soon.

    Have a sunny Easter and greetings from Finland,

  8. Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 15:40 | #

    Oh geeeeeeez I’m lervin’ this.

  9. Yvonne Mathieu
    Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 15:59 | #

    This looks wonderful, but I am allergic to eggplant. What would you suggest as a substitute?

    • Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 17:53 | #

      Hi Yvonne, If you are not allergic to Zucchini, that would be a good thing to replace it with. Or some roasted carrots, that would probably taste really nice as well.

  10. Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 17:16 | #

    What a wonderful recipe! I’ve pinned it already and can’t wait to give it a try. It’s such a great combination of flavors!

  11. Simmi johnson
    Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 18:31 | #

    Ilove your beet root burgers, I always have too many beet root from the garden and welcome all uses of this delicious veg!

  12. Candela
    Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 19:29 | #

    I’m so happy!! =) and this salad looks wonderful… Thank you Luise, Elsa & David !

  13. Ana Alvarez
    Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 20:32 | #

    Hi guys, I bought the book already and it is just great¡ I would like to prepare every single recipe. Many thanks¡

  14. Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 23:10 | #

    Looks so good! I love the middle eastern kitchen

  15. Posted 27 Mar ’13 at 23:15 | #

    Huge fan of sumac and za’atar and this looks a fab recipe to showcase both. I like to put smoked salt in my za’atar – unusual but v nice. And congratulations on your many successes. Well deserved. You’ve had terrific coverage here in the UK – especially the spread in the Times newspaper Saturday magazine. I felt quite smug that I already knew about you and your wonderful, inventive recipes. Not often I feel ‘in the know’ about anything ;D Best wishes, Kellie

  16. Posted 28 Mar ’13 at 01:22 | #

    This looks so good – like all your recipes! One of my top favorite spices is zatar – I especially love the sumac in it. This will be a great salad to try – can’t wait!

  17. Bell
    Posted 28 Mar ’13 at 04:08 | #

    mmm cant wait to order some sumac and other spices!!! i had a odd question for your… answer if you please: do you guys drink coconut water? what is your take on the substance? do you think its healthy? anyway thanks for the recipe!

    • Bell
      Posted 28 Mar ’13 at 04:10 | #


  18. Patsy
    Posted 28 Mar ’13 at 06:06 | #

    My recipe book arrived a few days ago. Congratulations. It is beautiful and I can’t wait to make everything. :)

  19. Posted 28 Mar ’13 at 08:34 | #

    Yum, love the flavour combo and colours. This is perfect for the autumn harvest down in the southern hemisphere. Thanks

  20. Nerida
    Posted 28 Mar ’13 at 13:53 | #

    Just made this (with quinoa as I’m coeliac). I live on the south coast of Western Australia and we’re now in Autumn so the warm earthy flavours were so perfect for the rainy windy night we’re having. Thank you so much.

  21. Posted 28 Mar ’13 at 16:31 | #

    There is so much awesomeness in that bowl! Yum!

  22. Trine
    Posted 28 Mar ’13 at 21:58 | #

    Looks sooo tasty!

  23. Posted 29 Mar ’13 at 02:02 | #

    This sounds really good, I’m going to have to pick up some dried sumac for za’atar! I used to live in the Eastern part of the US where sumac grows wild and I’ve had tea made from sumac berries, it’s lemony and bright red and delicious!

  24. Posted 29 Mar ’13 at 13:52 | #

    Beautifully delicious!

  25. Julie_Dubai
    Posted 30 Mar ’13 at 11:35 | #

    Just made this – didn’t have wheat berries so i just used bulgur. It was Fab!!! :) I’ve been dying to eat some eggplant but hubby is intolerant… So since he was away this week-end, i decided to make it just for me. I will be making more of this in the future for sure!! Thank you!

  26. Manu
    Posted 30 Mar ’13 at 13:36 | #

    Today I finally tried the Buckwheat Porridge, now that it is the winner ;-)
    And I feel like in heaven! This is so great! I missed Bircher Muesli so much since I am gluten intolerant but the Porridge is is wonderful and as good as Bircher Muesli. Shame on me for waiting so long.
    Porridge for breakfast, Porridge with raspberries and bee pollen for lunch, let’s see if I am able to eat anything else for dinner today :)
    Thank you so much for your creative recipes!
    Love from Germany

  27. Posted 31 Mar ’13 at 17:00 | #

    Well, this salad looks marvelous to me! Beautiful and delicious, no doubt. I’ve yet to try za’atar, but I think I should change that soon.

  28. Katherine
    Posted 2 Apr ’13 at 21:15 | #

    Thank you for this salad – I made it tonight and it was perfect. It was the first recipe I have cooked from your blog and it did not disappoint, even without za’atar or sumac.

  29. Val
    Posted 6 Apr ’13 at 00:35 | #

    I just made this salad and it’s delicious. I am moving to Beirut next month. I am so happy I will eat MiddleEastern food.

  30. Posted 6 Apr ’13 at 06:59 | #

    Having just been to the Middle East, I’ve fallen in love with this style of cooking. So looking forward to trying this recipe!

  31. Eva
    Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 09:02 | #

    Hello! I found your site through your segment on “The Menu” on Monocle 24! I am loving all the recipes and the design of your blog!

    I have a question. I currently live in Japan and I am not sure where I can buy sumac. Does anyone know an online shop that would sell it?

    Many many many thanks!

    – Eva :)

  32. Ms Knickerbocker
    Posted 17 Apr ’13 at 05:55 | #

    thanks for this recipe! I made it last night and have had the leftovers for lunch today. Really nice. I skipped the goat’s cheese and drizzled tahini over the top and it worked really well too.

  33. Posted 18 Apr ’13 at 15:30 | #

    I fell in love with this recipe the minute you posted it, and I finally got to make it last night. It’s super easy. I used “no salt added” canned chickpeas to simplify my life a little, and feta because I can never seem to find a good crumbly goat cheese. Anyways, LOVED this recipe! And I can’t wait to see/read more from you. Thanks :)
    P.S. Here’s a pic of it: http://instagram.com/p/YOZLIlQD0t/

  34. Shree
    Posted 19 Apr ’13 at 23:42 | #

    Both me n my husband love Tatar n we use this on many salad dressings and marinates. Its amazing n a pita with some good olive oil n toast this in the over for a few minutes and a yummy snack with tea or even wine. Zatar is perfect for marinating veggies and love it sprinkled on many savory dishes. This is a fantastic recipe and can’t wait to try it. It has all our favorite ingredients.

  35. Posted 8 May ’13 at 14:29 | #

    Hi David, Louise and Elsa!
    I’m so please to have found this recipe, I just watched this lovely video (http://www.culeenary.com/?p=448) about how to make Zaatar, and now I have an inhumane quantity and was running out of ideas. Do you think the barley could be substituted for bulgur or something similar?

  36. Eryn Hales
    Posted 12 May ’13 at 21:26 | #

    Beautiful dish. I received so many compliments on its freshness and heartiness. Only changes I made was adding more lemon rind, lemon juice and salt to give it more pizzaz. I could have eaten the whole tray of roasted eggplant all by myself!

  37. Posted 27 May ’13 at 11:04 | #

    Delicious salad. I purchased sumac a while ago, and have been looking for recipes to use it is, thanks for this one.

  38. Emily
    Posted 28 May ’13 at 19:46 | #

    I made this and LOVED it. It definitely wasn’t a crowd pleaser though. But that’s ok because I enjoyed it all week long.

  39. Posted 10 Jun ’13 at 15:39 | #

    This salad is amazing! I made a version of it last week. I didn’t have any wheatberries so I just used more chickpeas. It’s so delicious! I had to make this one in a big hurry (leaving town the next day, blah, blah, blah, you know how it goes), so unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures. Alas, I cannot blog it. I just may make it again though, and then I will definitely get pics for blogging it. :)
    Thanks for posting it!

  40. Posted 10 Jun ’13 at 23:25 | #

    I just made this salad for dinner and was pleased with the results. I used farro as the grain. I have a fair-trade Palestinian za’atar blend (from Zatoun) which I really like and I used that instead of making my own. I used 1 tablespoon za’atar instead of two, and threw in a bit of minced garlic and sea salt as well. It was very nice; the eggplant was delicious this way!

  41. Posted 25 Jun ’13 at 00:32 | #

    I tried the recipe today, and I have to say I Absolutely loved it. Despite the modification I mad into it. Great summer recipe. Check out my modified version.http://namastetoahimsa.blogspot.ca/2013/06/blog-post.html

  42. Posted 9 Jul ’13 at 08:36 | #

    You guys inspired me to take it easy on my balcony with this recipe, and use the rest of my zaatar!
    Gave you a shout out, thanks again!

  43. Posted 2 Aug ’13 at 03:53 | #

    Just discovered this recipe and can’t wait to try it out. I grew up in the middle east and Za’atar has always been my absolute favourite. I use it in salads, on cream cheese, with bread, bagels, pita, etc.
    The best thing though is plain labna with za’atar and olive oil, wiped with a freshly made warm taboon bread. Heaven!

  44. Marie
    Posted 24 Sep ’13 at 17:00 | #

    Just had this for dinner and it was amazing! I used quinoa and pumpkin seed oil and added some fresh mint leaves. Thank you for this recipe!

  45. Hager
    Posted 6 Nov ’13 at 19:44 | #

    I just finished making this salad and its AMAZING!!! Love the flavors and how they compliment each other. Honestly a meal on its own…thank you for posting and sharing. This salad will be for sure made more often!!!

  46. Zuzana
    Posted 13 Mar ’14 at 13:52 | #

    Just made it today for light spring lunch. It was really lovely- especially when eaten with warm roasted aubergine. Thank you for a lovely recipe. All the best to David, Luise and Elsa.

  47. Julie
    Posted 3 Jun ’14 at 20:04 | #

    This is a great and versatile recipe. I substituted farro for the wheat berries and it’s delicious. I posted a picture of it on Facebook and my friends all ask for the recipe. I’ve been sending them here.

  48. Posted 15 Jul ’14 at 20:44 | #

    Hi! I mentioned this post on my blog as a recipe source.

    Thanks for many inspiring posts!

  49. Crystal
    Posted 12 Oct ’15 at 04:52 | #

    Just made this recipe, turned out pretty good! I wasn’t able to find sumac at my grocery so I just made it without it. If I find some this week I will sprinkle it in to the leftovers. Also, I didn’t read closely enough- this calls for one cup of DRIED chickpeas. I was substituting canned. Looking back, two cans should have been used to substitute for dried.

  50. Posted 26 Dec ’16 at 03:38 | #

    Summer days means salad days! So this salad will come in handy! Thank you!


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