Recipe Difficulty: Easy
Roasted Potatoes with Hummus & Za'atar Recipe Notes
This dish kind of came about by accident, just using what I had on hand. I love the results.
Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Za'atar. A Middle Eastern spice blend where sesame seeds are combined with the tart citrusy flavour of Sumac, dried herbs & salt. After trying the potatoes alone with za'atar, I decided to make a quick batch of hummus to join the plate. Good call. Crispy potatoes, creamy garlicky hummus garnished with a generous sprinkling of Za'atar & if you like, fresh chopped parsley. There is a lot of brightness happening, I definitely see this as a side dish to accompany other things. Maybe to serve along with other middle eastern inspired dips or appetizers for a snacky situation, or beside a main dish of some sort with a salad.
Tips For The Best Roasted Potatoes
Cooking Your Potatoes Before Roasting
Don't skip cooking potatoes in salted water before you roast them. It requires a bit of planning because they need to cool before tossing with oil and popping them in the oven, but the results are so much better than simply roasting raw potatoes. (Though admittedly, I do that sometimes when I just don't gaf and need food.) Boiling them first allows the surface of the potatoes to break down a bit, creating a starchy surface. All the roughed up bits give you more area to crisp up.
What Kind of Potatoes Should I Use?
Choose a starchy potato with a lower level of waxiness. These potatoes are dryer and fluffier and are ideal candidates for roasting. A waxy potato has a lower starch content and more moisture, and are better for boiling. Russets or Yukon Gold potatoes area good choice for roasting, though there are undoubtedly hundreds of varieties out there that would be suitable, but probably not widely available. I'm certainly not a potato expert.
Should I start My Potatoes in Cold or Boiling Water?
It has been ingrained in me since Culinary School to start potatoes in COLD water. Dropping potatoes into boiling water results in the potatoes cooking on the outside & breaking down before the inside has fully cooked through. Well, I did a bit of research. I found an article on Serious Eats that says when cooking potatoes for roasting, start them in boiling water. I have to say it makes 100% sense. I have yet to try it as I write this, but I will. When roasting potatoes, as I explained above, the starchy outside bits are what give you the desired extra crispiness, so you actually WANT the outside to be broken down and rough. Why didn't I think of that! The more you know.
Oil & Oven Temperature
You want a hot oven between 425F -450F to encourage browning. I keep an eye on my potatoes when cooking them. I don't flip them until the first side is golden. When it comes to choosing an oil, I was always taught to use one with a higher smoke point for roasting, so a vegetable oil. I prefer using extra virgin olive oil, however. I think it's the better for you choice and I haven't had any issues using it for roasting. If I was deep frying potatoes, I would definitely gravitate towards canola or sunflower oil.
Recipe Roasted Potatoes
What is Za'atar?
The origin of Za'atar is believed to have originated in the Middle East and has been used for centuries in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It is a staple in the cuisines of countries such as Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon. The blend of herbs and spices varies depending on the region, but the traditional mix includes dried thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt. The use of Za'atar as a condiment and seasoning is deeply ingrained in Middle Eastern culture. It's often used as a seasoning for meats, vegetables, and bread. If you don't want to make it, you can always buy a premade blend.
I made a big batch because it's a fun thing to have on hand for quick snacking or garnish. This really makes a lot (about 2 1/4 cups) so you might want to halve the recipe if you don't want that much hanging around in your pantry. I sprinkle it on my hummus all the time so I like having it.
Hummus is something I make almost weekly. If you want extra creamy hummus, just rub the chickpeas between your fingers before pureeing them. The skins will pop off, giving you a creamier texture. I don't always do this, but it is nice to have the option. When I do go for it, I don't worry about getting EVERY single chickpea skin. I just keep doing it until it seems like I got most of them. I tend to chop my garlic just to ensure it gets easily distributed, but again, sometimes I just chuck it all in.
How to Assemble the Dish
Recipe Difficulty: Easy
After being away on holiday for over 2 weeks in Switzerland, I feel like I normally do after a long vacation. A bit depleted, a bit jet lagged & ready to be embrace a healthier routine. I did my best over Christmas not to over do it too much...but it`s inevitable (especially without access to a gym when I'm staying with my brother) that I'm not going to feel at the top of my game by the time I am home. It's all worth it though. It was great to connect with my family over a lot of great food and ohhhhh...the cocktails...there were ugh...lets say a few.
I wasn't sure how the vegan thing was going to play out, but most restaurants had something I could order, and a few times my expectations were exceeded (doesn't happen often). Richard and his girlfriend Phoebe went out of their way more than once with meals so that I could enjoy too. I didn't expect it, but it was really nice. Sometimes vegan food sucks, but what I'm constantly being reminded of (and I think in turn other people learn by trying something I'm having like my niece did during the visit), is that oh, that's vegan? and it's delicious? Yeah...that's what I'm saying! Anyway the whole point of this pre recipe rant is that I need to nourish my body ASAP. OK so it IS January, and it's a storm day on PEI, so while yes I want healthy, I also want my meal to be warm & comforting. This recipe definitely does the trick.
Beyond Meat Sausages
I created this meal using beyond meat sausages. I think most people have probably heard of this product by now. Beyond meat sausages are one of the most convincing meat alternative products I've tried. They really are spiced like a real meat sausage, and the texture is on point too. I really can't wait to see what the next 10 years bring in terms of vegan product development. I know one thing, it's going to get better and better.
This Beyond Sausage, Kale & White Bean Stew is :
Serves: Approximately 6 people
Recipe Difficulty: Extra Easy
Frozen Green Pea Soup
My sister in law Pheobe made this for me when I was visiting my family in Switzerland. It was my first time traveling abroad as a vegan, and visiting family as a vegan. I was pleasantly surprised how kind and accommodating everyone was. She went out of her way to buy me vegan products and make this soup amongst other things.
This recipe reminds me so much of a Laura Calder recipe I used to make. I think that one was just peas and cream pureed into a delicious simple soup. Phoebe made this version for the whole family which was really thoughtful as I'm the only vegan at the table. She picked up vegan butter and vegan creme fraiche.
In Canada vegan butter is easy to find but I'm not sure a similar product to the creme fraiche that's available here in Switzerland is easy to find. The brand here is called Dr. Oetker and it's one of the adelicious dairy alternative product. It was super thick, rich, creamy & slightly tangy. The rest of the family garnished their soup with parmesan cheese. I went with fresh mint and olive oil. I think a dollop of vegan pesto would be lovely too. Crusty bread for dipping is a must.
This vegan pea soup is:
- full of sweet pea flavour
- easy af
Hey! I'm Trisha