Za'atar Pita Salad
Warm Za'atar Pita Salad
2 small pita breads, torn into bite-sized pieces
6 ounces of chopped chicken thigh (substitution suggestions below if you'd like to make it meatless)
1/2 small onion, sliced
A small handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of arugula, washed and chopped
Optional, crumbled feta or shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large skillet over medium heat toast the torn pita for a few minutes, stirring the pieces around. Add a bit of olive oil, cook for a few more minutes, then a few big pinches of za'atar and stir well to coat. Remove to a large bowl.
Add a bit more olive oil and turn the heat up a bit, add the chicken pieces and a few pinches of salt and cook until browned in places and nearly cooked through.
Add the onions and continue to sauté briefly, just to tone down their bite a bit. Optionally cook the cherry tomatoes a bit as well, it depends on if you prefer cooked or raw tomatoes.
Add the greens and cook, stirring, just until they wilt slightly.
Transfer everything to the bowl with your toasted pita. Squeeze over some lemon juice and drizzle over some olive oil. Sprinkle with a few more big pinches of za'atar, and optionally the cheese, and give it all a good toss.
Variations and Ideas:
• Want to go in a completely different direction but still have a warm salad? Toast flatbreads as above but use a neutral oil and season with Yagenbori. Fry thin slices of kabocha pumpkin, daikon radish, lemon, and cabbage. Season with more Yagenbori, rice wine vinegar, mirin, and shoyu, and toss to combine.
• Instead of arugula you can easily use chopped spinach, baby kale, chard, etc, just make sure it's cooked to your liking. I find this salad also happily accepts carrots, tofu, and/or beets, so can easily be made vegan or vegetarian as you prefer. For beets make sure they are cooked first as they will not soften in time in the pan. Carrots can be cut into thin coins and will still have a bit of crunch. For tofu I like to treat it a bit like the pita, with an initial dry-fry then an addition of olive oil and a roll in za'atar.
• I love this as a cold salad in the summer also. Fry the pita as above, and then combine with chopped cucumber, tomato, watermelon, feta, onion, and fresh mint. Great with za'atar, or try out Shabazi or D'vora for other taste sensations.
• Try chopping bread into smaller pieces, then combining with cooked chickpeas that you've patted dry and small pieces of shredded kale. This could be the start of a fun salad, but I like to toss with olive oil, flaky salt, and za'atar and roast at 400°F until crispy for a fun snack mix.
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