Do you ever feel overwhelmed about cooking dinner?
I know I do sometimes.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that meals need to be complicated or follow a detailed recipe.
But they don’t! Weeknight dinners are best when they are easy, off the cuff, and use fresh wholesome ingredients.
I’ve recently been obsessed with serving things on a bed of spinach.
It’s so easy, refreshing, and quick!
Toss some spinach in a simple olive oil & vinegar dressing, and then top it with your favorite protein.
You can take this in so many different directions- asian with tofu & sesame oil, mediterranean with fish topped with feta, olives, & basil, Indian with curried chickpeas & paneer, & on and on!
This version is middle-eastern inspired, with sumac & tahini.
Sumac is a delicious middle eastern spice. It made by grinding the dried berries of the sumac bush into a course powder. It has a delicious tangy lemon flavor, and a vibrant red color. Just smelling it makes my mouth water! It’s a great way to add a vinegary tart flavor to dishes using a spice, rather than a liquid like lemon juice or vinegar.
Tahini is another awesome middle eastern treat. It’s similar to peanut butter, except it is made by grinding sesame seeds. It has a nutty rich flavor that pairs perfectly with the sumac.
You might not be able to find sumac at your local grocery store, but it can be purchased online or found in middle eastern grocery stores. Tahini is typically available in the ethnic section of grocery stores, but if you still can’t find it, you can also purchase it online.
Try making this delicious & simple meal this week.
It’s super satisfying, yet leaves you feeling light & nourished, rather than bogged down & over loaded by your meal.
This is a classic recipe to always keep in your back pocket & riff on forever.
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 medium shallot, minced
- 1/4 cup warm water, plus more as needed
- Freshly ground salt & pepper to taste
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (~6 oz each)
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground sumac (use lemon zest as a substitute if you need to)
- 1-2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
- 16 oz raw baby spinach
- Drizzle of apple cider vinegar
In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, shallot, & 1/4 cup warm water. Add more water as needed to get the sauce to have the thickness of creamy salad dressing. Season with a few twists of freshly ground salt & black pepper. Set aside.
Line a large cutting board with plastic wrap. Place one chicken breast on the board, cover with another sheet of plastic wrap, and use a meat mallet to pound the chicken into a cutlet that has a uniform thickness of roughly 1/2 inch. (If you don't have a meat mallet, you can use the bottom of a heavy frying pan to pound the chicken). Set the pounded chicken cutlet aside on a plate and repeat for the remaining 3 chicken breasts.
Crack the egg into a medium bowl, and whisk together with the Dijon mustard and sumac. Spread the panko on a large plate.
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then, one at a time, dip them in the egg mixture to coat. One at a time, press each chicken breast onto the plate of panko to coat well on both sides. Use your hands as needed to press the panko onto the chicken to create a uniform coating.
Next, drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. You want the oil to evenly cover the pan, and provide a slight pool for the chicken to pan-fry in. Warm over medium-high heat.
When the oil is shimmering, place two of the breaded chicken cutlets in the warm skillet and cook for about 4 minutes per side, until crispy & golden. Remove from the pan & set aside. Add another splash of oil to the pan and repeat the process for the other two chicken cutlets.
Add the baby spinach to a large salad bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Toss with your hands until evenly coated with dressing.
Place 1/4 of the spinach onto each serving plate. Top each with a chicken cutlet and drizzle with 1/4 of the tahini sauce. Season with additional black pepper & enjoy!