Herb Salad on a Tahini Base

30 June 2023 Dairy Free Gluten Free Vegetarian Friendly
Last month I ticked a major bucket list item and taught my first class alongside a woman I truly admire on US soil. It was such an honour to demonstrate a favourite collection of recipes with Rachel Simons, owner of Seed + Mill, who has not only become an incredible friend but is also a mentor, inspirational entrepreneur and all around fabulous woman whose tahini, halva and sesame products have earned a cult following.

Here’s the recipe for the herb salad that Rachel taught at our class at the Chelsea Market Makers Studio in New York City in May and I make on repeat. It screams of summer and is the ultimate example of a side stealing the show.  This herb salad on a tahini base was inspired by a dish we ate separately within a couple of weeks of each other at Ha’Basta in Tel Aviv, both fell completely in love and called each other to wax lyrical about the clean, fresh, zingy flavours. We immediately came home to recreate it in our own kitchens.

The original salad was served on a labeneh schmear, but Rachel made it on a tahini base and demonstrated possibly the best hack ever using pickle juice (there’s a reel on how to make it on my instagram). But feel free to serve it on any tahini or yoghurt sauce of your choice.

The only ‘trick’ to getting this salad absolutely perfect is using the freshest, greenest herbs you can find. It’s an easy dish to prep before you entertain by having all the ingredients pre-chopped and ready to dress and assemble at the last minute.

For the Salad

  • 1 shallot, finely sliced 
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil  
  • 1 tsp sumac 
  • 1 bunch of dill 
  • 1 bunch of coriander 
  • 1 bunch mint 
  • 1 bunch parsley 
  • 2-3 stalks celery, leaves included if you have a leafy stalk
  • 1 bunch of pea shoots (if you can find them in season) 
  • 3oz (100g) marcona almonds (or smokey or lemony roasted ones)
  • ½ c pomegranate seeds 

For the Tahini Pickle Magic

  • 3/4 cup pickle juice
  • 3/4 cup tahini paste

Start by making the Tahini Pickle Magic (this will keep in the fridge for 5 days so you can make it well in advance)

This is basically the best use of the liquid left in the bottom of the pickle jar (AKA liquid gold) and makes the smoothest umami tahini sauce I have ever tasted.  You can basically use any type of pickling liquor you might have lying around including olives, capers, jalapeño, or a mixture if you don’t have enough of one. I prefer to make this in cups as its really a ratio situation more than anything else, using equal parts of tahini and leftover pickle juice.  I have a suggested amount of each, but feel free to make it with whatever you have to hand.  Enjoy this unctious tahini bliss as a dip, thin for a dressing, or schemer on your plate as the base for your herb salad.

When you are ready, make the salad:

Place the thinly sliced shallot in a large bowl with the lime juice & zest to marinade for a few minutes (preferably about 30 mins) while you make the rest of the salad.

If you haven’t already, make the tahini pickle magic: Pour the tahini into the pickle jar with the leftover liquid.  Shake for about 30 seconds or until its complete emulsified.  Add the olive oil and sumac to the marinading lime & shallots and season with salt.

Roughly chop all of the herbs and pea shoots (including stalks) and place in the mixing bowl with the dressing.  

Crush or roughly chop the almonds in a mortar and pestle if you have one and add them along with the pomegranate seeds to the herb mixture and toss to combine. 

To serve, spread the tahini sauce over the base of a serving platter, creating a wide edge of the sauce around the plate and a shallow well in the middle. Place all of the herb mixture in the centre of the platter and finish off with a few reserved almonds and pomegranate seeds.

Have you made this dish?

Let me know what you think, share your efforts and any tweaks you made to the recipe on Instagram, don’t forget to tag #BuildingFeasts or email me on info@buildingfeasts.com