Friday, July 12, 2013

Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds

After seeing several of my blogger friends rave over Ottolenghi's Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds at I Heart Cooking Clubs, I knew I had to put this salad treat on my "to-make" list. Could the combination of baby spinach, red onion, dates and pita and almonds dusted with sumac and chile really be THAT delicious? 

Turns out, the answer to that question is ...YES!  

Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds 
Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi 
(Serves 4)

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3-1/2 oz pitted Medjool dates, quartered lengthwise
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used 1 Tbsp non-dairy spread)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 small pitas, roughly torn into 1-1/2 inch pieces (I used garlic naan)
1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped (I used sliced almonds)
2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp chile flakes
5 oz baby spinach
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put the vinegar, onion, and dates in a small bowl.  Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands.  Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain any residual vinegar and discard.

Meanwhile, heat the butter and half the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat.  Add the pita and almonds and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring all the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown.  Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, chile flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Set aside to cool.

When you're ready to serve, toss the spinach leaves with the pita mix in a larger mixing bowl.  Add the dates and red onion, the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt.  Taste for seasoning an serve immediately.  

Notes/Results: Another excellent Ottolenghi salad--the man does know his flavor combinations. This one is an excellent mix of tangy and sweet with a little kick from the chile flakes. I was worried that the red onion might overpower, but it mellows sitting in the white wine vinegar with the dates. The sumac/chile-toasted bread and almonds are addicting on their own. I used garlic nan I had on hand rather than pita, so not quite as crunchy, but I liked the crisp/soft texture of the toasted garlic nan. I did add the bread and nuts to the top of salad at the last minute rather than mixing it all together to retain that crispness. A very tasty salad that I will happily make again.  

This week's IHCC theme is Fruitfull!--recipes with fresh, frozen or dried fruit.
You can check out what everyone made by following the links on the post.


  1. This is definitely my favorite Ottolenghi recipe to date!! So glad you liked it!

  2. Pam Armstrong GreerJuly 13, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Must try this!

  3. I adore this salad, crunch, sweet, sharp it is just so delicious! I can see this making an encore appearance sometime very soon!

  4. Joyce, kitchen flavoursJuly 14, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    This has been on my list of to try! Looks like I got to make that soon, it looks delicious. Ramadhan month is here and I can see lots of dates selling everywhere! Great choice, Deb!

  5. I'm so glad you made this one! Funny how this salad, with it's interesting combination of ingredients, is getting so much play at IHCC. I have to admit it really got my attention the first time I flipped through my copy of Jerusalem! My fave components were the dates and the bread/almond mixture. Although I will say I was pleasantly surprised how mild the red onion was once it soaked in the vinegar. It certainly is a tasty salad. Love your version with the naan bread.

  6. I've had this one bookmarked since Joanne posted about it.... Totally making it now. I hope I still have sumac. ;)

  7. This is my favourite spinach salad. I'm not a fan of raw onions and I was amazed at what a soak in vinegar did to them (it also did wonderful things to the dates).

  8. Couscous & ConsciousnessJuly 17, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    This has definitely been one of my absolute Ottolenghi faves - glad you enjoyed it too. The toasted bread and almonds really are very addictive aren't they?! :-)

  9. Very nice, thanks for sharing.

    @ sewa mobil


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