This is such a simple but totally lovely—and seriously satisfying—salad. Start by combining only a few elements that play very well together: fresh romaine, mild and hearty chickpeas, vegetal and crisp celery, plus sweet and crisp apple. Meanwhile, chop a small pita loaf and toss the chunks with za'atar and and olive oil, then throw them under the broiler until crispy.
Finally, there's the dressing. It comes together in a snap with an immersion blender, and contains a whole lot of flavor: tahini, lemon, Dijon-style mustard, garlic, and parsley (or chives). It's a fabulous dressing for this salad, with its emphasis on fresh ingredients. (You may want to use the dressing regularly on your other green or grain salads, but keep in mind that it's both acidic and salty, so avoid adding particularly salty or pickled ingredients to your salads before testing it out all together.)
Autumn Fattoush-Inspired Salad with Tahini-Dijon-Herb Dressing
serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
For the salad:
2 romaine hearts
1 15-oz can chickpeas
2 medium stalks celery
1 medium sweet apple, such as Honeycrisp
For the pita croutons:
2 small pita loaves (scant 6-inch-diameter), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp za'atar
pinch fine sea or kosher salt
For the dressing:
1/4 cup tahini
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP water
1 TBSP Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup tightly packed parsley leaves [see variation note, below]
Chop romaine hearts into thin strips. Add to serving bowl. Drain and rinse chickpeas in a fine sieve. Set aside to let drain thoroughly. Meanwhile, chop celery thinly and cut apple into 1/2-inch dice. Add to serving bowl.
Heat oven broiler. Toss pita cubes with olive oil. Sprinkle za'atar and salt over top, then toss again. Thoroughly toast cubes on second rack from the broiler until crisp, watching very carefully to avoid burning.
Use an immersion blender to puree all dressing ingredients in a wide-mouth pint jar until smooth. Add chickpeas and crisped pita to serving bowl. Add dressing and toss salad until thoroughly combined. Serve at once.
[Variation: as desired, substitute all or part of the parsley with roughly chopped fresh chives.]