Middle Eastern

Iraqi Salad

a simple salad with roasted beets and earthy chickpeas with a bright dressing of fresh lemon juice and smooth olive oil

Iraqi cuisines hold such a special place in my heart. Throughout my childhood and into my adult life Iraq has been plagued with war, occupation, and conflict which has overshadowed a lot of its richly beautiful culture. For me it was cuisines like this one that allowed me to connect to my roots and see a joyous part of Iraq’s culture alive and well. It’s also important to show ethnic foods that are healthy, nutrient-dense, and delicious and I hope that this recipe marks all three for you!

We’ll highlight chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, in this recipe with some of its health benefits. Chickpeas belong to the legume family and like other legumes, they are a great source of fiber and plant-based protein, with a wholesome 15 g of protein in one cup. Fiber lowers glucose levels for those with type 1 diabetes, and improves blood sugar, lipid, and insulin levels for those with type 2 diabetes. Fiber also aids in the improvement of heart and digestive system health, as well as increases the feeling of fullness to keep you satisfied for longer periods of time.

Chickpeas can be purchased dried or canned. Dried chickpeas should be soaked, preferably overnight for about 8-10 hours for optimal results. Canned chickpeas should be thoroughly rinsed and drained to remove excess sodium in the liquid of canned foods.

Iraqi Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup chickpeas
1 cup beets, roasted and diced
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 cup Persian cucumbers, diced
2 stalks scallions, sliced thinly
¼ cup feta cheese crumbles *optional*

Dressing:
1 tbsp sumac
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 small lemon

Salt to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine chickpeas, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, and feta crumbles in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine dressing ingredients, including sumac, olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix together well and pour dressing over salad ingredients.
  3. Add salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!

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