the taste space

Roasted Eggplant, Red Pepper and Green Bean Pomegranate Salad

Posted in Salads by Janet M on August 28, 2010

This is my third dish in a string of salads with pomegranate molasses. No bulgur here, so my brain didn’t do the auto-compare with The Best Salad Ever.

Just like the Pomegranate Tabbouleh Salad, this one was adapted from Closet Cooking when Kevin went on his pomegranate kick!

This is a salad filled with green beans, roasted eggplant and roasted red peppers.  I liked the Spanish paprika, cinnamon and cumin with the roasted eggplant, so there was a savoury twist I wasn’t expecting. I may remove the cumin next time, though.  The green beans added a nice crunch, and a lovely colour to boot. I also enjoyed the creaminess from the feta, but it is completely optional. The mild pomegranate dressing worked well to not overshadow the savoury flavours in the salad.  I preferred this salad to the tabbouleh, despite it being less of a complete meal. Serve it with some crusty bread or wrap it in a pita as a portable lunch.

This is my submission to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring mint, to Jayasri for this month’s Cooking with Seeds featuring pomegranate seeds and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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Pomegranate Tabbouleh Salad

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by Janet M on August 26, 2010

It is hard to compete with perfection.

I made a delightful bulgur salad with pomegranate, almonds, oven charred tomatoes and chickpeas earlier this month and was looking to expand my horizons with a new twist on the bulgur and pomegranate flavours. When I spotted a pomegranate tabbouleh salad at Closet Cooking, I knew what I wanted to try next. It seemed perfect for the summer with fresh crisp cucumber, fresh local tomatoes, soft feta and keeping my salad staples like toasted almonds. The pomegranate flavour came from the vinaigrette with pomegranate molasses and pomegranate seeds.

And while it seemed like a reasonable salad, it just didn’t compare. I was left thinking, This is ok, but not the best salad everThe best salad ever will forever torment me as its counterparts will fall short. My memory will probably hype up the salad even further in its absence – oh my!

But instead of commiserating for all of the rest of the salads, why not rejoice in figuring out what made for such a terrific salad?  And this is what I have been thinking about…

As a main course salad, I like a lot of substance within the salad. More stuff than bulgur or leaves. Both salads had that, but the winning salad also had more sustenance with chickpeas. Both vinaigrettes had pomegranate molasses, but the winning salad had a more pronounced tartness from the pomegranate molasses since I mistakenly read the recipe without diluting the molasses. So perhaps the mind-blowing pomegranate flavour was missing. The winning salad also had Aleppo chili flakes which brings anything from ordinary to extraordinary, and this tabbouleh had none. Not that I think tabbouleh warrants chili flakes, but the mantra of balancing sweet, sour, spicy and bitter is making more and more sense. It has been a winning combo for my recent dishes, including the winning salad.

To be fair to the tabbouleh, it was enjoyed by others. But they had not yet tasted the winning salad ever. ;) For me, there were too many similarities between the salads for me not to do the comparison and feel like it came out short. Perhaps I will have to modify the tabbouleh with these changes in mind when I score another deal on pomegranates.


This is my submission to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring mint, to PJ for this month’s Healing Foods featuring tomatoes, to Jayasri for this month’s Cooking with Seeds featuring pomegranate seeds and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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Orzo Salad with Pan-Fried Chickpeas, Dill, and Lemon

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads, Sides by Janet M on July 17, 2010

I love the summer because all of a sudden fresh produce abounds, overflowing with flavour. It is a perfect time for salads, using fresh herbs, and enjoying simple dishes that showcase summer fare.  I originally spotted this tasty salad at Eat Me, Delicious who adapted it from Cooking Light (August 2002). I am weary of plain chickpeas, and I remembered my really delicious warm chickpea and artichoke salad and figured I would incorporate pan-fried chickpeas with this dish to up it a notch. I was not disappointed.

This is a delicious orzo salad brimming with fresh dill and spring onions, a slight lemony tang and this is coupled with creamy, nutty roasted chickpeas. The orzo has a delicious slippery texture that complements the chickpeas well.  The next time I make it, I would consider replacing the orzo with something else though. Perhaps wild rice? Or a grain like quinoa? The possibilities are endless for summer salads!


This is my submission to Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice for Magazine Mondays, this week’s Weekend Wellness,, this month’s Side Dish Showdown, to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by me this week!

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Greek Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Cheese Dip (Htipiti)

Posted in Appetizers, Sides by Janet M on June 16, 2010


Greece, Italy and Turkey are coastal neighbours so it is quite fitting that across the street from Marche Istanbul is Grande Cheese, a cheese and Italian food “factory outlet”. You know your heart is in your belly when you go to a factory outlet strip and you gravitate to the cheese, spice and tea stores. Anyways, I digress. I promised myself that if I were to buy anything perishable, it would be feta cheese. But Grande Cheese has not 1, but 5 different kinds of feta (I think it was 5, I lost count to be honest)! Egad, I had no idea there were so many different kinds of feta. The lovely woman at the deli counter helped to enlighten me by telling me a bit about each one and letting me sample them. I ended up coming home with a creamy, less salty than Greek, Macedonian feta cheese. Delicious!

Now, think of all your favourite flavours and meld them into one smashing dip. That’s what the Greeks did when they made htipiti . Feta cheese, check. Roasted red pepper, yup. Sun-dried tomatoes, absolutely. Garlic, lemon, yes yes yes!  I just don’t cheer for green onions by themselves, but they added a bit of zing to this dish. Whip these all together in your food processor and you have one amazing dip. Serve it with chopped pitas, veggies, or with a spoon! Pairing it with something neutral works best because this dip is like a party on your tongue! :D


This recipe was adapted from Closet Cooking and is my submission to this month’s Regional Recipes featuring Greece, hosted by Joanne at Eats Well With Others, and to Priya hosting this month’s Healing Foods featuring onions.

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