Shades of Green Salad (Kale, Roasted Zucchini, and Green Pea Salad with Creamy Za’atar Dressing) is a great way to nourish your body with fresh vibrant vegetables.
When spring starts to roll around my body somehow knows and starts craving the color green like it’s going out of style. That’s what served as the inspiration for this salad.
Other than the creamy dressing, I tried to go for all things green in this recipe. The only ingredient that is questionable is the sunflower seeds, but I think it’s fair to say that even they have a greenish hue.
One of my favorite types of salad is a combo of hot and cold, usually roasted or sautéed veggies on a bed of greens. Here I quick-roasted zucchini, but keeping with the green them, asparagus or green beans would also be perfect. With the addition of avocado for healthy fat and sunflower seeds for protein, this makes a great lunch in itself (serves 2 as a light meal), or side dish along with anything you want to grill up (serves 4 as a side salad).
The dressing here is something really special. It’s rich and creamy like ranch, but seasoned with a Middle Eastern spice mix called za’atar. There are regional variations of this mix in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine (and possibly other areas). The spice mix is zesty, and a common addition to breakfast. You tear off a bite-sized piece of bread from a large flatbread, soak it in good-quality olive oil, and then dip it in za’atar. When the bread is fresh and hot, this is perfection. When I lived in Kuwait a couple years ago, a friend brought back a big bag of za’atar from Palestine for me, which is what I used here, and looks to be the most similar to this kind of za’atar on Amazon.
The biggest difference I noticed between this version of za’atar from Palestine and the Jordanian version that I’m more familiar with is that the Jordanian recipe includes (much more) sumac, which adds a bright, tangy flavor. This version is a bit more herbaceous, with oregano, thyme, and sesame as the predominant flavors. To me, green za’atar gives makes this dressing similar to a Green Goddess dressing, but with even more flavor.
What do you start craving when spring hits?
Other ways to use za’atar:
- Za’atar and Mint Butter Bean Salad (Vegan) from An Edible Mosaic
- Roasted Roma Tomatoes with Feta and Za’atar from Things I Made Today
- Za’atar Pomegranate Cheese Ball from Chez Us
- Braised Broccoli Rabe with Chickpeas, Za’atar, and Tahini Drizzle (Gluten-Free) from An Edible Mosaic
- Avocado oil spray
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 5 cups chopped kale
- 2 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
- 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted sunflower seeds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons mayo
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon za’atar (such as Canaan Za’atar)
- 1 small-medium clove garlic, crushed
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Spray the bottom of a small baking sheet with avocado oil. Spread the zucchini out onto the sheet and give it a quick spray with oil. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper and toss to coat. Roast until softened and starting to brown in spots, about 12 minutes. Cool.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, honey, and a pinch of salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Add the kale and toss well to coat. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Whisk together all ingredients for the creamy dressing and refrigerate until serving.
- To assemble the salad, spread the kale out on a large serving platter. Arrange the zucchini, scallion, peas, avocado, and sunflower seeds on top. Serve along with the creamy dressing to drizzle on top.
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