Oh boy, this leftover salad was delicious! With so many flavors going on, it’s a feast of a salad. Let’s see: A savory sautéed chicken breast. A sweet and aromatic roasted rutabaga and carrots with currants, maple syrup and ras el hanout (a mild, fragrant North African curry powder). A reliable bed of lettuce, baby kale, grape tomatoes and scallion. Then everything gets a coat of bright, earthy, garlicky lime garlic tahini dressing. The combination was 100% spot-on and satisfying.
I made the salad using the curry-spiced rutabaga and carrots that I already had roasted, but you can of course start from roasting the root vegetables. Recipe for roasting is right here. You can save time by using pre-sauteed (or even better, pre-grilled) chicken breast as well. Then it’ll be a matter of assembling everything–perfect for a weeknight DASH diet dinner.
DASH diet considerations: This curry roasted root vegetable salad with lime garlic tahini dressing is an all-A student of the DASH diet realm. It packs about 4 servings of different vegetables (full of fiber and potassium); tahini helps it go light on oil while providing an incredibly earthy depth to the dressing; and simply cooked chicken breast provides lean protein.
The wide range of flavors, from bright, earthy tahini dressing to sweetly aromatic curry roasted vegetables, as well as the different textures really jazzes up the salad without a lot of sodium or oil. Give it a try! We skipped grains, but a pita would go perfectly with this Middle Eastern-inspired salad.
DASH diet servings:
4 vegetables & fruits
2 meats & fish
½ fat & oil
¼ nuts & beans
In a saute pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil on medium high and add the chicken breast. Saute until the chicken is cooked through, about 7-8 minutes, flipping once to brown both sides. Set aside in a wam place.
While the chicken breast cooks, make the dressing. Mix the tahini, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and grated garlic in a bowl large enough to toss the lettuce and kale comfortably. Add water, 1 tsp at a time, to thin the dressing to a pourable consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
To the bowl of the dressing, add the lettuce, baby kale, grape tomatoes and scallion. Toss to coat evenly.
Slice the chicken breast into strips.
Place the lettuce-kale mixture in two plates or bowls. Top with the roasted rutabaga and carrots, as well as the chicken breast strips.
Sprinkle some za’atar on top, if you like, before serving.
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.
Sheet Pan Za'atar Salmon Dinner with Curried Carrots, Rutabaga & Dried Currants
DASH Diet considerations: Roasting is one of the low-fat ways of cooking meats and vegetables, and that holds true for the sheet pan za’atar salmon dinner. It’s a good balance between 2 servings of fish and 2-3 servings of fiber-rich root vegetables. You can serve the za’atar salmon and curried root veggies with a whole wheat pita, with dill rice or by itself, if you are already above or close to the DASH diet grain goal.