This sheet pan za’atar salmon dinner was what made me–belatedly–realize why sheet pan dinners are everywhere these days. It’s an amazingly easy way to make a delicious dinner: Once you set everything up in a sheet pan, it’s largely hands-free. Even the setup doesn’t take all that much effort. Chop, season, arrange, and you’re more or less ready to go. Woot! (To keep the salmon juices from seeping into the veggies, I did use a piece of aluminum foil to keep them separate. Oh, so much work! :P) Since sheet pan dinners can be made pretty low fat, I think they are a great technique for DASH diet followers.
For this sheet pan za’atar salmon dinner, I’m using two spice mixes to push the flavors in the Middle Eastern and North African direction: Za’atar and ras el hanout. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix with a complex, savory, green and slightly floral flavor profile. What’s in it can vary depending on who made the mix, but mine has thyme, oregano, sumac and sesame seeds. I used za’atar for the salmon.
Ras el hanout, on the other hand, is from North Africa. It’s a pretty versatile “curry” powder, though it usually seems to be not spicy. I tend to detect cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, clove, ginger and other warm, sweetly aromatic spices in this mix; to me, it smells somewhere between an apple pie and a curry. Which is probably why it goes well with roasted vegetables, as in this recipe. To add another dimension or two, I added maple syrup and dried currants for a touch of sweetness and tang to the earthy root vegetables.
Adding a dollop of garlic-spiked Greek yogurt or a cucumber-studded tzaziki sauce on the side might add a refreshing coolness to the otherwise all-warm dish. (I should have thought of that when I made this sheet pan dinner!)
Also! These sweet, aromatic, curry-roasted carrots and rutabaga made a great salad topping a couple of days later. I made a quick garlic lime tahini dressing for that salad, and it was a darn good salad with a lot of contrasting flavors. I’ll post the recipe for the salad in a day or two.