Grilled fattoush salad with grilled peppers and zucchini, tossed with tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, and chickpeas dressed in buttermilk-yogurt dressing.
I attended The Yoga Expo this past weekend in Santa Clara. It’s a big yoga and meditation day traveling around the country, with a stop scheduled for Vancouver, BC as well. There are also exhibitors for everything from crystals to homeopathy and juices in a pill form. If you decide to go to one of them, and I do recommend it, here’s my take on the day.
What I liked:
There was a wide variety of options for yoga, meditation, and chanting, many of which I’d never heard of – and I’ve done yoga and meditation for decades.
It was a great opportunity to try something completely new with little risk. If I didn’t like a particular class, I could assumably roll up my mat and go to another class next door, or down the hall.
The price is right. For $35, you can fit in 6 sessions during the day, if you skip lunch. That’s hard to beat.
Each session lasted 50 minutes, with a 20 minute break between sessions. If you bring your own lunch, you can snack in-between sessions. The 20-minute breaks provide ample time for using restrooms, figuring out what class you want to try next, or grabbing some water.
The staff was very responsive to cooling down rooms when they became uncomfortably warm.
The teachers are very experienced, and all had flyers on their classes, workshops, and retreats. There was a great deal of interest in these materials at the end of each session.
What I didn’t like:
There were no descriptions provided for the classes other than the class title. This made it difficult to determine which sessions I wanted to try. For example, one was titled: Nervous System Overhaul. Several of us thought it meant the class would be focused on calming the mind and body. It turns out it was Kundalini Yoga. For the uninitiated, this is a very fast and challenging form of yoga involving, among other things, breathing techniques that will completely exhaust your abs. This assumes, of course, that you have any strength remaining at that point of the practice. Which I did not.
What I learned:
I need to get in better shape, and I need to lose a little more weight. This is where the Grilled Fattoush Salad comes in.
Just as panzanella is Italy’s bread salad, fattoush is a bread salad originating in the Palestine-Lebanon area of the world. It’s typically made with toasted or stale pita bread torn in pieces, and tossed with tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and often some greens. I twisted it around a bit, grilling up baby bell peppers, thick slabs of zucchini that I later cut into cubes, and big rounds of na’an in place of the pita. And because I have a love affair with chickpeas, I sautéed a couple handfuls of the beans with a healthy sprinkle of spices. It all came together beautifully for a perfect summer vegetarian dinner.
Grilled Fattoush Salad | #ProgressiveEats
- 10 baby bell peppers stemmed and halved - (you'll have 1 cup peppers when grilled)
- 4 zucchini cut along their lengths into 1/2-inch slabs - you'll have 3 cups when cubed after grilling
- 2 large rounds of na'an bread or make your own
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 English cucumber diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup halved tomatoes
- 1/3 cup halved green and kalamata olives
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint packed
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley packed
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic or Gourmet Gardens Garlic Paste
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Oil the grate on your grill, and fire up the grill on high. Close the lid and heat for about 5 minutes, until grate is very hot. Lightly baste the peppers, zucchini, and na'an bread with about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Grilling in batches, arrange the vegetables on the grill over direct heat and grill for 4 - 5 minutes per side. The peppers should be limp, and the zucchini softened. Slice each pepper half in half again, across their lengths. Dice the zucchini into 3/4-inch cubes.
- Grill the na'an until slightly crisped, about 3 - 4 minutes per side. Tear into medium-sized shards.
- Heat up the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet and add the chickpeas, salt, and cumin. Sauté until crispy, about 7 minutes.
- Combine the grilled vegetables, bread, chickpeas, and all of the remaining Fattoush ingredients in a large bowl, and lightly toss. Mix the the Buttermilk Dressing (below) just before serving.
- Mix together all of the ingredients in a small bowl, except the olive oil.
- Gradually whisk in the olive oil.