Roasted potato, mung bean, tomato and feta salad in Indian spice and za’atar

24 Feb

Roasted potato, mung bean, tomato and feta salad in Indian spice and za’atar

Where is your chip?

I like to tell myself that I have learned and earned more cultured stripes over the years and that through a progression of a London education, being reasonably well-travelled and having worked in a multi-cultural environment with stimulating and bright folk, I am now more ‘worldly’.  I eat biscotti and macaroons, not just digestives and there is artichoke on my salad today with panko breadcrumbs.  My bread had apple and pecan on it and my muffin has a spiced and poached pear in it; there are certainly no sprinkles on top.  Maybe though, just perhaps, the omelette and chips are just etched into my makeup and frankly, I like that.

I have spent much of the last couple of month’s solo parenting, as you may know if you read my posts regularly.  Needs must, so this is the way it is and part of it comes with privileges which I am grateful for and a measure of it comes with sacrifices, which I accept.  It is no holiday though.

When I’m on my own I do find myself in a state of heightened sensitivity and maybe that’s the exhaustion, with some element of loneliness paired with the desire to feel reassured.  I am more grateful, in a philosophical way, for those who visit to keep me company in the quiet of the evenings or call to ask how I am doing.  I am touched into silence for the flowers of encouragement and the cakes of companionship that come to me when the stillness does.  I smile when people let me rant knowing that I sound ludicrous at times because, being maddened by a case of dying ladybirds on my landing isn’t really that terminal.  And then I recognised, quite proudly, that the iron chip that weighed on my shoulder when people didn’t ask, show support, or care was well removed. I had successfully removed that draining energy and walked on.  I had grown and I didn’t even know it.

Roasted potato, mung bean, tomato and feta salad in Indian spice and za’atar

Though there is one thing, when I need a bit of comfort there is nothing like a spud with a crispy exterior and sweet fluffy interior. I told you that the egg and chips hadn’t left me and I am very glad for it too because they cajole me into my natural rhythm and there are times in life when I need that.  Nowadays though, there are no baked beans but instead I have created a filling, spicy, sense rousing salad using mung beans, salty feta and sweet tomatoes.  I had used za’atar spices and a mild Indian tempering to give zingy, spiced and herby flavour to this salad. It works so well as a salad on its own or in a wrap or with some bread.

Ingredients to serve 4

120g mung beans

700g of roasting potatoes like King Edwards, peeled and cut into two inch cubes

225g baby plum tomatoes, halved or quartered

2 tbsp. Za’atar spice

½ tsp. turmeric

2 green chillies, cut and slit

175g feta cheese, cubed

One small red onion, finely diced

30g coriander, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp. cumin seeds

4-5 curry leaves

2 tbsp. sesame oil

Half a lemon

Salt to taste



  1. Boil the potatoes for 7-10 minutes before draining them and then allow them to cool. Coat them lightly in olive oil and then roast them in the oven at 200degrees until they are golden brown.
  2. In the meantime wash and boil the mung beans for approximately 20-25 minutes until they are tender and toss them once they are drained to remove as many of the loose skins as possible.
  3. In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese and mung beans before making the tempering.
  4. In a non-stick pan, heat the sesame oil and add the cumin seeds, garlic, chillies, turmeric and curry leaves. Allow the seeds to sizzle and then after a minute turn the heat off.
  5. Pour the tempering into the salad and then mix it well. Squeeze in the lemon juice, sprinkle in the coriander and toss the salad well.
  6. When the potatoes are roasted, combine them with the other salad ingredients too and then sprinkle in the za’atar spice mix and toss the salad well again before serving warm.


21 Responses to “Roasted potato, mung bean, tomato and feta salad in Indian spice and za’atar”

  1. Katie @ Whole Nourishment February 24, 2014 at 9:56 am #

    Mung beans, feta, and za’atar! Yes, please! Can’t imagine how difficult solo parenting is, but hoping for a brighter week ahead!

    • Deena Kakaya February 24, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Thanks so much Katie! Yes the husband is in the country this week so there’s an improvement. He doesn’t usually like mung beans but this salad went down well! It’s quite lively. Cx

  2. Poppy February 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    I love Za’atar and this looks like a beautiful way to use it Deena xo

    • Deena Kakaya February 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

      Thank you Poppy, it was fun to eat a bowl of comfort, spice, variety, colour, spice, nutrition, zing…xx

      • Poppy February 24, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

        I’ll bet 😀 x

  3. Elaine @ foodbod February 24, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    What a wonderful collection of flavours 🙂 another one to try Deena x

    • Deena Kakaya February 24, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      Thanks Elaine, it definitely hit the spot x

  4. EA-The Spicy RD February 24, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    Spuds as comfort food? Oh, yes! Wish we could enjoy this delicious dish together! And feta cheese goes well with everything 🙂

    • Deena Kakaya February 24, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

      Hello my lovely spicy friend, how are you? I wish we could enjoy this one together too xx

  5. George@CulinaryTravels February 25, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    Perfect comfort food. What a lovely blend of flavours.

    • Deena Kakaya February 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

      Thanks George, exactly that; comforting, varied and spiced! Magic x

  6. February 26, 2014 at 3:57 am #

    Great use for mung beans! I love them in dessert soups, too!

  7. Joanne February 26, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    I’m sure it’s super hard to manage so much on your own, but the fact that you can do it must give you some strength and confidence! Love this beautiful meal!

    • Deena Kakaya February 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

      Hi Joanne, you are totally right I do feel confident and actually I have grown stronger as a person without even realising it. The ‘salad’ is a meal in one scoop, I like that too;) x

  8. Tina @ The Spicy Pear February 28, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    I love za’atar on everything and this salad looks delicious! I’m also loving the sounds of your muffins with spiced poached pear – I should brand that 😉 Your posts are always beautifully written and I enjoy reading them. Hope you’re feeling better now x

    • Deena Kakaya February 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

      Thanks so much for the lovely comment Tina, I’m so glad that you are enjoying reading my posts, as I am yours xx

  9. Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) March 2, 2014 at 3:55 am #

    What an awesome idea for a fusion dish! This sounds delicious.

    • Deena Kakaya March 2, 2014 at 8:31 am #

      Thanks so much Allison, this one is very lively! X

  10. Camilla @FabFood4All March 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    I have to try this dish, my family would love it:-)

    • Deena Kakaya March 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

      I really hope that you all enjoy it Camilla xx

Let me know what you think about this recipe

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