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Recipe Collection

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Prep time: 25-30 mins

Cook time: 15-25 mins

Yield: 10-12 servings, as a side

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In Israel, the breakfast spread is glorious: dozens of fresh salads, salty cheeses, creamy tahini and thick yogurt. The participants on my trip stared at my plates piled high with crunchy veggies at 7 am each day: How can you eat vegetables so early in the morning? This recipe combines typical Israeli flavors and commemorates my moment of glory as a Birthright staff member, which happened the morning of our last day of the trip. I complimented a participant on the number of veggies on his plate, and he replied, “You know I started eating vegetables in the morning because you told me to.” Wow! I’m not sure I’ve ever had such a positive influence on a young person’s life. Salads in the morning are where it’s at.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beets
  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 6 medium dates
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons za’atar*
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

  • To roast beets and walnuts, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap beets in foil, place them on a pan or small cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 15 to 25 minutes until soft. Spread out walnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 7 to 10 minutes until brown and fragrant. Watch carefully so they don’t get too well done. Allow to cool. You can roast the beets and walnuts the day before. Keep the beets in the refrigerator and the roasted walnuts in an airtight container until you make the salad. You can also opt to leave both raw for a crunchier, earthier dish.
  • Chop raw carrots, roasted beets, walnuts and dates into ¼-inch chunks—you can do this in a food processor for ease, but make sure that you don’t pulverize too much—and mix. In a separate bowl, mix tahini, olive oil, water, lemon zest, lemon juice and sesame seeds into a paste. Combine all ingredients and add za’atar and salt to taste. Eat as a crunchy, healthy breakfast salad on its own, topped with plain yogurt or use as an accompaniment in sandwiches and pitas.
  • * Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend usually containing hyssop, salt and sesame seeds and sometimes thyme, oregano and/or sumac. It can be found at kosher and ethnic markets in the DC area and is delicious sprinkled over plain yogurt, cheese and pita or mixed into salads, meat dishes and roasted vegetables.

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