This Chopped Salad with Sesame Dressing comes from the cookbook, An Edible Mosaic, Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair, a beautiful labor of love by Faith Gorsky. Make this refreshing salad once and you’ll find yourself craving it often.
My favorite cookbooks take me out of my comfort zone and help me discover delicious flavors and helpful techniques that I wouldn’t come up with on my own. That is why I love An Edible Mosaic, Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair. The author, Faith Gorsky, writes a food blog by the same name (sans the tagline).
It’s more than a cookbook, it’s a love story. And not just romantic love, but of connecting to a culture and a new family despite entirely different backgrounds.
Lorraine Elliott, another of my favorite food bloggers, writes in the book’s foreword, “It’s passion for learning and passion for culture that makes one want to learn more about its cuisine…Practically speaking, I appreciate the way that she approaches Middle Eastern cuisine. Like those of us that don’t come from the culture but appreciate it, no question is too silly or basic and she explains the basics to us much like a good friend would.” I agree completely.
Born and raised in upstate New York, Faith fell in love with and married Michael, who was born in Kuwait and raised in Syria. As you can imagine, their cultures, language and the foods they grew up with were wildly different.
They were married in the Middle East and spent the first 6 months of their marriage there. In that six months, she not only fell in love with the “exotic and wonderful” flavors of Middle Eastern Cuisine, but learned to create the dishes herself as she forged a friendship with her mother-in-law despite their language barrier.
Vivid photography, careful directions and captivating flavor combinations bring me back to this book again and again. And every recipe that I’ve tried has exceeded my expectations.
Today, I’m sharing her Chopped Salad with Sesame Dressing with a couple of slight adjustments – swapping in shallot for onion and a basic garden cucumber for the English (or Persian) variety. It’s a perfect example of why I love this cookbook, because I wouldn’t have imagined that a mixture of tahini, lemon juice, water and salt could make a creamy and luscious salad dressing. Nor would I have guessed that you could add an entire bunch of minced parsley to a salad and not overpower it.
I’ve shared just the tiniest bit of Faith’s story, and her beautiful cookbook is filled with 80 recipes that you should try from salads, breads and vegetables to beans, meats, desserts and drinks. If I’ve piqued your interest, I encourage you to read the book yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Chopped Salad with Sesame Dressing
I've modified it slightly, swapping in shallot for onion and a basic garden cucumber for the English or Persian Variety.
- 1/3 cup tahini no added salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large garden cucumber peeled and diced, or English or Persian variety cucumbers (no need to peel)
- 1 large shallot minced
- 4 medium plum tomatoes diced
- 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley minced
- 4 sprigs fresh mint minced
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- In a salad bowl whisk together the tahini and lemon juice until smooth. Slowly add water, whisking constantly until smooth. Whisk in salt.
- Add all ingredients except for olive oil (cucumber through mint) and toss gently to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.
- When ready to serve, gently toss once more then drizzle with olive oil and, if desired, divide among 4 bowls. Serve.