Tuesday, August 7, 2012

roast kumara, chickpea and feta salad with spiced lemon dressing

roast kumara, chickpea + feta salad w/ spiced lemon dressing

There was a knock at the door early yesterday morning. I was in the middle of getting dressed so took a little while to get to the front door, all the while hoping it wasn't one of those annoying door-to-door sales people that have a knack for ridiculous timing. I opened the door to see my friend Nat getting back into her car 'sorry can't stop, enjoy' she yelled (or something along those lines) as she took off on her way to school, I'm guessing. All I could do was yell thanks and wave frantically through the fly-screen. What a lovely way to start the day (and so much better than if it had been one of those pesky sales people!).

There on the doorstep she'd left a little bag of freshly picked vegetables from her mothers garden. It contained a bunch of deep red rhubarb that will most probably end up stewed with apples and eaten for breakfast, a few kumara (aka sweet potato), long red chillies, some beautiful baby beets and a bunch of flat leaf parsley. Yum.

early morning gifts early morning gifts

I immediately knew I wanted to make some form of salad from all those hand-picked goodies, especially the flat leaf parsley which I love to eat just like a salad green. I tend to soak and cook my own chickpeas from dried, but on this occasion instead of finding a jar of chickpeas in the pantry, all that stared out at me was the jar. Tinned it would have to be. 
Along with the chickpeas, I finely diced and roasted the kumara until golden and crispy around the edges, threw in a whole load of that parsley, a little crumbling of salty feta and drizzled the lot with a punchy spiced lemon dressing.

kumara kumara aka sweet potato

I couldn't leave today without mentioning the Olympics could I? I love, love, love them. The telly has never been on so much in this house and I'm super excited to see NZ doing as well as they are. I'll also be keeping my eye out to catch an old friend paddling in the C1 heats on Friday. Many moons ago when we were both teenagers we represented NZ at the Waka Ama/Outrigger world championships. We had always hoped that Waka Ama would become a recognised sport at the Olympics, but sadly it hasn't yet. Never mind, he's found a way around it by transferring over to K1 (in Beijing) and C1 this time round in London. I can't tell you how proud I am of him and wish him all the best.

What are your favourite events to watch? Me, I love the rowing, gymnastics, basketball, track + field and swimming.  

roast kumara, chickpea + feta salad w/ spiced lemon dressing roast kumara, chickpea + feta salad w/ spiced lemon dressing

roast kumara, chickpea and feta salad with spiced lemon dressing
I usually like to cook my own chickpeas from dried, but when I'm short on time or have forgotten to soak them overnight I turn to tinned chickpeas which I always have in the pantry. Just make sure you drain them well, rinse under cold running water and then drain again before using.
serves 2-4

  • 1 large kumara (sweet potato), diced into 1cm cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas/400g tin, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

spiced lemon dressing
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 long Thai red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • juice of 1 large lemon (approx 1/2 cup juice)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 200C/390F. Place diced kumara (sweet potato) on a oven tray, drizzle over olive oil, sprinkle with salt and black pepper and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning a few times during cooking until tender and golden. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

To make the spiced lemon dressing, lightly toast fennel and coriander seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle/coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder. Tip into a medium bowl, add black pepper, thyme, honey, chilli and lemon juice. Whisk to combine. Continue to whisk as you drizzle in the olive oil. Season to taste with sea salt.

To serve salad, combine roast kumara (sweet potato), chickpeas, parsley, red onion and feta in a large bowl. Drizzle over as much dressing as you like and serve. Store any leftover dressing in a screw-top jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.


  1. Lucky you to have such a friend. THis sald is so lovely. The sort of thing I love to eat..a nice lemon dressing too with chilli and fennel and coriander

  2. Absolutely love this! Using flat parsley as a salad leaf should be done more often, so tasty. Oh, and I wish I had such lovely deliveries at my door too :)

  3. That's so nice! This looks super delicious, especially with the kumara. I've only started making more salad dressing, this one sounds so fresh and full of flavour :)

  4. Ahh this looks so yummy!! Absolutely gorgeous! And your friend is a star :)

  5. I think I need these colors in my body, today! I love the flat parsley, too.
    Wonderful antioxidants to keep our hearts healthy.

    Hello beta-carotene. Hello chlorophyll. Howdy chickpeas! A rainbow: spiced, roasted . . ah!

  6. Sounds delicious. Gotta try it as I love sweet taters aka kumara. :)

  7. The kids think we have lost our minds,the tv is on alot right now.The kids are loving the watersports.They were quite dissapointed when their mom could'nt do 3 flips off the diving board at the pool yesterday!!

    1. Haha, your comments always put a smile on my face Jacquie :-) xx

  8. What a sweet friend to leave such a treat! She knew the veggies would be enjoyed quite well by you, as evidenced by this lovely salad.

    We are glued to gymnastics, basketball, swimming, track & field...oh heck, our TV is on all the time, too! So much fun.

    1. Our kids usually watch very little telly, so it's going to be hard to wean our kids of it once the Olympics is over! Ekk.

  9. Oh Em, yum! I need to get back into cheese making I miss feta.
    Adding this salad to the to do list.

    1. I love feta and am so glad it's the one cheese we seem okay to eat.

  10. Gymnastics and diving for me but I seem to miss most of it with the job and the blogging. It all passes so fast.
    That's a delicious looking salad. What a great friend you have.

  11. How lovely to get a hand picked selection of veggies delivered to you! Love salads with pulses, I have a lentil one on its way too.

  12. Beautiful, inventive and simply good recipe!

  13. What an awesome surprise indeed! Great selection of goodies, and great recipe too, yummo!
    Glad to see the kiwis doing so well, its certainly addictive watching :)

  14. i love swee tpotato, and chickpeas, so i'm keen to try this. it looks wonderfully fresh and light. the dressing also sounds wonderful, full of kick - i shall definitely be trying this! thank you for the inspiration (and recipe)

  15. Emma, what a great friend you have. I cannot think of a better gift than home grown food!

    And about the olympics... we are hooked too. I especially love track and field, and diving. Wow. So much good stuff to see!

    And your salad looks absolutely delish - of course;)

  16. Hm, kumara, I wouldn't have known. What a great friend and gift! :)

  17. I loved this salad from the very first glimpse of the photo....just love all the flavours. Oh & I love the new look site too.....looks fantastic Emma :)

  18. Thanks for the kumara, chickpea and feta salad recipe. This looks like a great lunch idea to keep things light.

  19. We've just tried this AWESOME salad! Looooove it! Grettings from far away Germany :*

  20. Hello again! I just made this for a potluck tonight and was a hit. This was delicious!! I doubled the batch for some lunches this week. I love the dressing - so yummy. Thanks again for sharing your lovely recipes with us. Whenever I don't know what to make for a potluck or for dinner I get inspiration from your beautiful photos :-)


Thanks so much for stopping by, arohanui xx Emm

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