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Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds

Last night I had the pleasure of going to my neighbor’s house for a wonderful cooking lesson/ dinner party. She had two cookbooks, Jersusalem and Plenty, and made recipes from both. I was especially taken with the spinach salad, and wanted to eat about three more helpings of it, but unfortunately there were 9 other people at the table and so I refrained.

When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to make for lunch today, I realized that I had pretty much all the ingredients on hand to make this salad myself, and so that’s what I did. The recipe is posted online by the New York Times, but I made a few changes, so I’m posting my version below. The original recipe calls for onions to be added with the dates, but my husband is allergic and so we are an onion-free household (unfortunately for me!). The onions are delicious with the recipe though, so I do recommend adding them if you can. I also didn’t have sumac so I replaced it with paprika, which has a similar earthy flavor.

The original recipe is surely superior, but this one is a little healthier and much easier.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 dates, preferably Medjool, pitted and chopped finely

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 flour tortillas, roughly torn into 1 1/2 -inch pieces (pita works too obviously, but this is what I had on hand. Naan would also work, or any other kind of flatbread)

1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 teaspoon chile flakes

5 cups baby spinach leaves

1 can chickpeas, drained

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

PREPARATION

Mix vinegar and dates in a small bowl and leave to marinate while you make the rest of the salad.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add tortillas, almonds, salt, pepper, paprika, and chile flakes, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring all the time, until the tortillas start to crisp up and brown.

Drain the can of chickpeas and put in a large salad bowl with 2 tbsp lemon and 1 tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash slightly and mix well, to get the oil and lemon thoroughly combined. Add the spinach, tortilla/almond mixture, and dates and toss. Drizzle the remaining lemon and olive oil and toss again, adding more salt and pepper if desired.