Saturday, September 21, 2013

Baby Spinach Salad with Cranberries and Almonds : IHCC September Potluck

"September Potluck", is this week's theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where we are a given a choice to select from any of our previous featured chefs recipes or the current chef, Yotam Ottolenghi. Since we have only two more weeks to go before we are starting with a new featured chef, I've decided to make one Ottolenghi's salad which I have bookmarked to try for ages.

A simple salad which takes just minutes to prepare. I have replaced the regular spinach with my own homegrown Malabar Spinach (Chan Choy) from my container garden, picked the young tender leaves, and this is actually the first time I'm using them in a salad, and I love it! I would usually wait for the leaves to grow bigger and used them for simple soups and stir-fries. Now that I have found a new of using the small, young tender leaves in a pasta dish (Chicken Florentine Pasta) and in this salad, am planning to grow more of these veggies!

Crispy tortillas and almonds.
These are so good, I could eat this alone as a snack! The tortilla are so crispy and yummy with the toasted almonds, seasoned with sumac, red pepper flakes and salt.

The other substitutes that I've made was to use tortilla wraps instead of pita, since I have some leftover wraps in my fridge. The original recipe uses dates, and I have replaced it with dried cranberries instead, my preferred choice. Tortilla wraps are roughly torn to pieces. A little butter and olive oil is heated and the torn pieces of tortilla wraps are added in together with the coarsely chopped almonds. These are cooked, stirring for about 5-6 minutes until the tortilla are crispy and the almonds toasted. Remove from heat and stir in the sumac, red pepper flakes and some salt to taste. Set aside to cool.

Dried cranberries, sliced onions are mixed with some white wine vinegar and a pinch of salt, and left to marinate for 20 minutes. Drain before tossing into the salad.

Just before serving, toss the tortilla and almonds mixture together with the spinach leaves. Add the cranberries and onion mixture, some olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt. Toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.

This salad is so delicious! All the ingredients blends so well together. Crispy delicious tortilla seasoned from the sumac spices, nutty crunchy almonds, crispy onions, sweet dried cranberries which has softened slightly from soaking with the white wine vinegar, fresh green Spinach, a hint of sourness from the lemon juice, and the wonderful spicy taste from the flaked chilies and of course Sumac, a beautiful spice which I'm just learning to use. I just can't seem to stop eating this salad, before I know it, the whole plate is clean! Haha! I will definitely make this again. Yum!

Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds
(adapted from "Jerusalem", Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3-1/2 oz pitted Medjol dates, quartered lengthwise (replaced with a generous handful of dried cranberries)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small pitas, roughly torn in 1-1/2 in pieces (I replaced with tortilla wraps)
1/2 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
5 oz baby spinach (homegrown Malabar Spinach)
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put the vinegar, onion and dates in a small bowl, add a pinch of salt and toss mixing well. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes then drain and discard any of the residual vinegar, set aside. While this is marinating, heat the butter and half of the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning until the pita is golden brown and the almonds are toasted. Remove from the heat and add the sumac, red pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp of salt, tossing and set aside to cool. When you are ready to serve, toss the spinach and pita/almond mixture together in a large bowl. Add the dates, red onion, the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and another pinch of salt. Toss again and taste for seasoning. Serve immediately.

This post is linked to I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), for the theme of this week "September Potluck". We are starting with a new featured chef, Donna Hay, starting from October. For more details about joining in, please click here.

I'm also sharing this post with :


  1. Delicious and colorful looking spinach salad.

  2. Joyce, I love how green your spinach leaves look which is totally different from what we find in the supermarkets these days. This salad is very refreshing with the textural tastes from the tortillas and almonds, not to mention the sweetness of the dates as well. I've never heard of sumac before and thanks to you, now I know what it is. Nice job!

  3. That's it! For Xmas, you are bringing this salad over! I insist!

  4. I love spinach and love your salad more

  5. This is one of the best salads I've seen in a long time. Love the greens, crunch and sweetness too! Thanks for the recipe, Joyce!

  6. Your homegrown spinach looks beautiful! I really like that you chose to use dried cranberries in this salad. I think cranberries are just as delicious as the dates, plus they are a lot easier to source (it is very hard to find dates here where I live). This salad is a stunner. I absolutely loved it!

  7. Hi Joyce , I'm making this salad tomorrow to go with my dinner , thanks for sharing , have a great weekend :).

  8. A wonderful salad with fabulous flavours - I LOVE Yotam Ottolenghi recipes!!
    Mary x

  9. Joyce, I am very convinced that this salad is good! It looks beautiful and your description of it made me very hungry (especially for the crispies)!

  10. I haven't tried before the salad with spinach, it looks delicious!

  11. ivy sew http://simplybeautifulhealthyliving.blogspot.comSunday, September 22, 2013

    Yummy and healthy :)

  12. What a beautiful salad and with home grown spinach too! I like the changes you made to it; cranberries and almonds with spinach sound delicious.

  13. This looks like a great salad and real healthy too. I love that you used the Spinach from your garden. I just love visiting your special garden! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week!
    Miz Helen

  14. This makes for a beautiful salad. Love the way you adapted to a style that suits you.


  15. This was such a delicious salad and I love the changes you made--the cranberries and the tortilla chips instead of the pita. Yum! Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays too! ;-)

  16. Beautiful salad! Your little tender spinach leaves are just perfect for this dish! Kudos!

  17. I love this salad, Joyce - it has been one of my favourite Ottolenghi dishes - so much so, I've made it several times now. That was a great idea swapping the cranberries in for the dates - definitely a sub I would make if I was making this salad for a crowd as dates can be hellishly expensive here. I agree that the toasted bread and almonds with the seasoning would make a great snack on its own.

  18. I love how you have made this salad your own choice. I have blended cranberries and spinach together in salads before and have never been disappointed. I'm sure your salad is delicious! I'm so glad you will be adding more ingredients to your potted garden. I have plans for veggies in the Spring too!

    Thank you so much for sharing...

  19. now i know the young chan choy can also be used as salad...i usually boil them in soups with salted egg.
    I wonder how sumac tastes like..i've seem them selling in tesco but didnt get them cos i dont know what to do with them really..

  20. I love the cranberries in this salad, I think I will try it soon

  21. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you enjoy your new Red Plate and have a great week!
    Miz Helen