Ladies who lunch (and blog about it): Chickpea Sauté with Greek Yogurt Sauce


Apologies for the crickets around here lately; I’ve been busy with some other stuff that’s left cooking (not to mention blogging about cooking) a little low on my priority list. Actually, that’s only half the reason. The other cause of my cooking hiatus is the sweltering, mind-numbing, near the dehabilitating heat that’s settled over London in the last few weeks.

I am not a girl who deals well with high temperatures. Give me a snowstorm over a heat wave any day. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll happily take some 30+ degrees weather when lying on a beach somewhere, with nothing more taxing to do than flip the pages of the latest Kate Atkinson novel. But faced with the task of going to work, exercising, turning on the oven or – worst of all – going on the London underground in anything more than tepid weather, and I’m a mess.

Some occasions, however, are worth the effort. The other day my sister and I met up with the lovely, talented and very cool Dana of Dana Treat for lunch. On the last leg of a whirlwind 40th birthday trip, Dana and her husband Randy had taken in Cannes and Paris before Eurostar-ing it to London, where they once lived. Hilary and I had been looking forward to meeting one of our “internet heroes” for weeks, though in some ways we already felt like old friends.


We chose Ottolenghi, the celebrated Middle Eastern-inspired deli in north London, for this auspicious event. It was a resounding success; the restaurant was (mercifully) air-conditioned, and the food delicious. Though not strictly vegetarian, Ottolenghi is famous for their salads, so Dana and I were in veggie heaven. The company wasn’t bad either; Hil and I picked Dana’s brains on everything from making macarons (tricky, but fun) to motherhood (the same, though on a grander scale). The three of us talked blogging, photography, careers, and travel for over two hours before forcing ourselves to venture back into the London heat.

Today, it seems as though that heat has finally broken. Inspired by our lunch, I reached for my brand-new copy of Plenty, the Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook which Dana and I both have. Though I want to make nearly everything in this gorgeous book, I settled on a simple sauté of chickpeas, carrots, and spinach to ease me back into the cooking zone.

Time will tell whether it worked, of course. I can say that this was the second most delicious lunch I’ve had this week, even if I did have to eat it all alone.


Chickpea Sauté with Greek Yogurt Sauce

adapted from Plenty by Yottam Ottolenghi

serves 3

For the sauté: 

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 250g freshly cooked chickpeas (or 1 x 400g can drained)
  • 100g baby spinach, rinsed
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped coriander
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the sauce:

  • 100g Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped parsley
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  1. First, make the sauce. Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl, salt, and pepper to taste, and set aside.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat add the cumin seeds. Toast for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and beginning to colour. Add the olive oil and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes. The carrots should begin to become tender and get some colour.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes or so until soft and translucent. Add the chickpeas and cook for 2-3 minutes until hot through. Add the spinach, herbs and lemon juice and cook for just enough time for the spinach to wilt. Remove from heat, season to taste and serve with the yogurt sauce on the side.
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