I am fairly obsessed with za'atar. I dust it over pita (with olive oil), eggs cooked any style, chicken or vegetables, in tomato sauce, or over my bagels and cream cheese (or goat cheese). This recipe makes for a flavorful, substancial side dish, although I've eaten it for lunch and was satisfied--tahini, lemon, roasted garlic, za’atar, and labneh are natural and winsome allies. It is lovely served hot, the sweet potatoes crisp against the cooling balm of labneh, but delicious at room temperature as well. —Cristina Sciarra
1 pound sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cracks fresh black pepper
1 clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon za’atar
1/3 cup labneh
In This Recipe
Heat the oven to 375F.
Peel the sweet potatoes. You can cut them into matchsticks, as I did, although it’s not necessary. This dish will be just as tasty if you dice the sweet potatoes instead.
In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potato pieces with the garlic clove, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Move everything to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and the baking sheet into the oven. After 15 minutes, remove the garlic clove and set it aside. Cook the sweet potatoes another 20-25 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they are roasty and shrunken.
Meanwhile, remove the garlic clove from it’s thin shell, and add it to a small bowl. Use the back of a spoon to smoosh the garlic clove into a paste. Now add the lemon zest, the lemon juice, and the tahini. Add a small crack of pepper, and set the bowl aside.
Move the sweet potatoes to a large plate. Drizzle on: the garlic dressing, and then the za’atar, and then the labneh. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.