Za’atar Quinoa

by Khushboo on May 8, 2013

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of the best aspects about blogging is being able to connect with like-minded individuals.  The comments (both on & off the blog) I received for my post on Monday about changing up my workouts only confirmed that fact – so thank you :)!

Since I covered one F on Monday (i.e. fitness), let’s move on to another, and perhaps better, F: Food.  Would you call my bluff if I told you the best Lebanese I ate was not in Beirut?  Would you doubly call my bluff if I told you that it was in fact in Nigeria?  Although I haven’t been back in 5 years, I still crave some of the restaurants there.  One in particular is Al Basha i.e. the best of the best where Lebanese food is concerned.

Al basha

Source

Especially as it was located right behind our house, eating there or ordering take-out was a bi-weekly occurrence.  I want to say it was a family favorite but I think it’s a favorite of anyone who has stepped foot in Lagos.  Don’t even get me started on their meat arayes, shish taouk, potato hara…oh the list goes on!

I’m yet to find some decent Lebanese food in Mumbai.  Until I do, adding za’atar powder to almost anything helps somewhat satisfy my never-ending craving for Lebanese.

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My mom picked some up during her last trip to Dubai and I’m pretty sure it’s available in the World Cuisine section of supermarkets.  If not, a quick Google search says that it’s a combination of sumac, white sesame seeds, and fresh herbs.

Lunch on Monday was Za’atar Quinoa, which tasted like a cross between tabbouleh & za’atar bread.  I have no doubt that my attempt at recreating Lebanese food is as laughable as me adding salsa (bottled I might add) to a dish and calling it Mexican ;).  Either way Meatless Mondays hasn’t tasted this good in a long time:

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I had no plans to blog about this lunch, but it tasted too yum not to share.  Hope that explains the less-than-stellar picture ;)!

Za’atar QuinoaServes 2

  • 2/3 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup red peppers sliced
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 7-8 tablespoons cooked chickpeas
  • 4 tablespoons chopped mint (fresh)
  • 2 tablespoon za’atar powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3-4 tablespoons crumbled feta
  • Flaked almonds

Method

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and keep aside.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and sauté zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers.  When the vegetables become tender and the mushrooms start to release water, remove from skillet and keep aside.
  3. Reheat the pan and lightly fry onions.  Once they become translucent, add in the quinoa, veggies, and chickpeas.  Mix in the mint, zaa’tar powder, olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
  4. Once heated through, divide the mix onto 2 plates, and top with feta & almonds.

 *Can be eaten hot or cold*

  •  What’s your favorite Lebanese dish?
  •  What cuisine/meal takes you back to your childhood?

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Sophia May 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I love connecting with you Kushboo! You are so friendly and warm I love blogs that really allow you to get to know someone a bit 🙂 I love Lebanese food! I’ve been a hummus, tabouli and pita eater since I was one! My mama loves it and my parents have been taking me to middle-eastern restaurants since I was born- so it Definetley reminds me of my childhood! I also have been having sushi and sashimi since I was that age too- my papa supplied the fish for some of the only sushi and sashimi places in Genoa at that time- hence we got special deals once a week- heaven! I also of course just love a bowl of simple napolitana pasta with Parmesan cheese- lots of Parmesan- that is childhood Definetley! So much more- but I shall end my novel (sorry) Ciao and hugs Sophia

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 11:55 am

Ah you always leave the nicest comments, Sophia…thank you :)! Simple napolitana pasta with parmesan is one of my all-time favorite meals…so simple yet so comforting :)!

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Nix May 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm

I would switch back to the dark side for Al Basha’s chicken shawarmas.

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 11:55 am

When shall we go?

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles May 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Definitely agree with you about blogging and the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals…definitely the best part!
I’ve actually never had Labenese food…sounds like I might be missing out!

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 11:56 am

Ohh you need to try it out ASAP- any Lebanese restaurants around where you live?

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. May 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Blogging <3 Definitely one of the highlights of my life. The people I've had the pleasure of meeting (you included, missy!!) have been such a big blessing in my life that I can't even express it. And so has the opportunity to be introduced to so many new foods! I have to admit that I don't think I've ever tried Lebanese food, but and type of Polish food really takes me back to my childhood. My parents came to Canada a few years before I was born, but they raised me in the traditional Polish way, so those dishes always take me back 🙂

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 11:57 am

The feeling is very much mutual :)! I’ve actually never tried Polish food but will definitely look out for some when I’m in London…the chances of finding some in Mumbai is almost negative!

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Parita @ myinnershakti May 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I have yet to try Lebanese food. I hear there are quite a few good restaurants in Miami, so we will be checking those out ASAP! And traditional Gujarati food always takes me back in time. 6/7 days of the week that’s what we ate for dinner. 🙂

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 11:57 am

Please do check it out asap, especially as there are SO many vegetarian options 🙂 !

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dixya@food, pleasure, and health May 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm

I have not tried traditional Lebanese food but anything that has Mediterranean flair – me likey..tabbouleh salad and shawarma is always delightful.

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 11:57 am

I could live off shawarma and tabbouleh 🙂

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Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl May 8, 2013 at 10:55 pm

I cannot wait to try this! All of the flavors sound SO delicious! Plus, I love anything with chickpeas! 😉

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 11:58 am

Hope you enjoy it 🙂

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Tara @ Sweat like a Pig May 9, 2013 at 1:15 am

Oh man, I love Lebanese food. There was this restaurant near us in Sydney that charged $40 per person and just kept bringing you food until you told them to stop – quite the dangerous business proposition when you’re feeding two bodybuilders!

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 11:58 am

If you’re paying 40 bucks a head, I hope you guys did justice ;)! You should check out Maroush in London…they’re all over the city!

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Allie May 9, 2013 at 2:15 am

Umm, I consider myself quite the foodie…but I have to shamefully admit I don’t think I’ve ever had lebanese before! I had Persian kabobs and rice recently–Is that similar?

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 11:59 am

If I’m not mistaken, Persian and Lebanese are very similar- any Lebanese restaurants in Nashville?

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Allie May 10, 2013 at 12:32 am

Seems like there are several “Middle Eastern,” a few Persian, and a few Turkish (according to Urbanspoon), but nothing specifically Lebanese.

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Sara @ Nourish and Flourish May 9, 2013 at 5:10 am

I adore Lebanese food! It’s not just the complex flavors that excite me, but the way it’s typically served: mezze-style. Call me non-commital, but I love sampling different dishes during my meal! This is why I typically gravitate towards tapas or mezze restaurants–I get to eat off of 8-10 plates in one sitting. 😀 Some of my favorite Lebanese foods include shish touk, hummus (all varieties), baba ghanouj, falafel, and labneh…although, come to think of it, I don’t know that I’ve ever tried a Lebanese dish I *didn’t* like! That’s a perfectly good reason to try making this quinoa. 😀

Foods that remind me of my childhood…gosh, there are so many! I grew up in California, where the Mexican influence is strong, so I ate lots of quesadillas, tacos, and enchiladas. I also have fond memories of my mom’s casseroles–macaroni and cheese, chicken marimba (pasta with cheese, chicken, spinach), and lasagna.

Happy Wednesday, girl! <3 xoxoxo

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Haha I definitely feel you on the non-commital issues…it’s nice to be able to try a number of different dishes than just 1! Hummus is a favorite of mine too…but of course that goes without saying it ;)! Love the sound of Chicken Marimba!

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Meghan @ After the Ivy League May 9, 2013 at 5:43 am

Such an interesting recipe! I’ve never eaten Lebanese food before, where do you find za’atar powder? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before!

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I’m sure it would be in the “World Cuisine” or “Speciality” section of some of the bigger supermarkets? Hope you’re able to find some :)!

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Brittany May 9, 2013 at 6:09 am

I’m almost ashamed to admit I don’t think I have ever really eaten Lebanese food!! I NEED to change that! This quinoa dish looks amazing! Your worldly experience/travels help make for some delicious looking meals!

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 12:01 pm

You defo need to change it asap- Lebanese food is SO vegan friendly 🙂

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honeywhatscooking May 9, 2013 at 8:10 am

haha.. Nigeria. I left Nigeria when I was just 9, and all I remember was going to this one Chinese place and Federal Palace Hotel and Ikoi Hotel. That’s it. We didn’t down out much. We did have help at home though and I remember eating a LOT of fried foods. 🙂 If I ever go back, I’ll be sure to check this place out.

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Haha good ol’ days of Eko Hotel! Do you have plans to ever visit?

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P May 9, 2013 at 9:07 am

My friend’s family makes the BEST stuffed grape leave rolls…and hummus. I need to ask her if she can some for me, along with this dish 😉

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I need friends like yours 😉

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Sunnie@ModernGirlNutrition May 9, 2013 at 9:48 am

Mmmm looks amazing! I don’t know if it’s Lebanese, but I love baklava!

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Khushboo May 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Funny enough, I’m still yet to try baklava!

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Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets May 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

This sounds fabulous. I don’t have a favorite Lebanese food, but I just tried Tabouli not too long ago. I’ve only recently in the last year or so started broadening my food horizons, and there are so many amazing cuisines out there with a focus on veggies, including this one. Thanks for sharing.

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Khushboo May 12, 2013 at 10:41 am

From the cuisines you’ve tried over the past year, what’s been your favorite?

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Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets May 13, 2013 at 4:09 am

Ethiopian or Indian. So many vegetarian options and such good flavors.

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Khushboo May 14, 2013 at 9:45 am

I keep hearing yum things about Ethiopian food- would love to try some soon!

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Alexis @ Hummusapien May 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm

I absolutely love za’atar! fabulous idea to add it to quinoa. My favorite lebanese dish is hummus, obviously 🙂 I love grape leaves, too!

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Khushboo May 14, 2013 at 10:07 am

Love grape leaves too..always order it when they’re on the menu 🙂

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Ameena May 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

This looks delicious..I really love Lebanese food. My favorite Lebanese restaurants are in Paris! Can’t wait to go back and had some Fattoush salad.

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Khushboo May 15, 2013 at 9:13 am

I would never think to have Lebanese in Paris but I will definitely keep it in mind next time I’m there 🙂

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