The Tahini Dressing On This Ottolenghi-Inspired Salad Has A Secret

August 26, 2017

Recipes can bring you back to a place you dream of, from childhood to a far-flung locale. We partnered with Hellmann's Canada to share a simple, inspired dish from food and prop stylist Miranda Keyes—one that harkens back to her time in London. (Psst: It's simple enough for weeknight family dinners, pretty enough for Saturday night without the kids.)

A lot of people laugh when I tell them I grew up a very picky eater. As a little kid, I didn’t like to eat dinner (yes, I was impartial to an entire meal group), and instead happily subsisted on bread rolls and puffed rice cereal. I somehow ended up working as a food stylist, where each day is filled with a random assortment of recipes and ingredients. I now can’t think of anything I don’t like to eat.

Ready to get all dressed up. Photo by James Ransom

My days are filled with endless amounts of grocery shopping, recipe testing, studio sets, TV stations, dishes and food, always lots and lots of food (and dishes). One of the great things about a job in food is you can cook just about anywhere! I was lucky enough to find myself working in London for a few years before making my way back to Toronto.

When I lived in London, I would often pass by Yotam Ottolenghi’s shops. Actually, I couldn’t walk by without gluing my face to the window to gape at the brightly-colored food and desserts piled high in the windows. There were endless salads all shining with different colors and spices, as well as heaps of meringues and other sweet treats. I often didn’t walk by and leave empty handed. This salad is inspired by one I ate at his restaurant, and it is filled with Middle Eastern inspired spices, fresh herbs, and a creamy dressing.

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What I really love about this dish is its ease and versatility. I can roast all the vegetables in advance and toss everything together when I’m ready to serve. Everything can easily be prepped the day before. Or I can take all the ingredients with me to a potluck, picnic, or up to the cottage. I always like to serve it on a large platter, family style, so everyone can dig in when they’re ready. Plus, you can swap vegetables in and out of this dish depending on what’s in season. Try different types of squash or potatoes in place of butternut squash or broccoli, fennel, or eggplant instead of cauliflower. And whatever fresh herbs you might have in your garden—parsley, chives, or dill—would work well in this dish.

I like to make a double batch of the dressing and leave half in the fridge to use during the week. It’s perfect for greens but also works drizzled on grilled meats and fish. If you have leftovers, cook up some ground beef or lamb and mix it in for a heartier dish. Or if you want to keep the dish vegetarian, mix in some cooked lentils, brown rice, or quinoa to bulk it up as a main dish. Even the pickiest of eaters can find a way to love it! Watch the video below and I'll walk you through each step:

We partnered with Hellmann's Canada to share videos and simple, accessible recipes from friends who hail from, or have strong connections to, our neighbor to the north. See all of Hellmann's organic line here.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Cynthia Bellini
    Cynthia Bellini
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  • JNoelle
Freelance food stylist & recipe developer


Cynthia B. May 23, 2019
I have written books on natural health since 1990. This recipe looks inviting and nourishing. I'll try it out and share with my family outing this weekend.
Cynthia olsen author
George H. August 27, 2017
What is the secret?

("We" partnered with Hellmann's Canada?)
JNoelle September 17, 2017
I wondered the same thing!