If winter is synonymous with heavy casseroles and warm stews, summer is associated with light meals and salads. But where salads have got a bad wrap over the years with plates adorned with nothing but lettuce leaves, devoid of all flavour but the aroma of a citrus dressing if you’re lucky, it turns out a careful consideration of ingredients and flavours can actually transform an otherwise simple dish into a summer staple.
But don’t take our word for it, trust the chef behind such recipes: Tom Walton. Most chefs might not be known for their daily fitness routines, but Tom is something of an exception. As well as being a star cook with a penchant for flavourful cooking that draws on countless influences from his own travels and lived experience, Tom is also a fitness enthusiast. With the kind of perpetually ripped body you’d expect of an athlete or seasoned yogi, Tom’s passion for health and wellness has come to inspire his own recipes which are always grounded in fresh flavours and balanced meals that will energise you to get active and prioritise your health.
With summer on the horizon, Tom shares with us a salad that everyone should have in their repertoire. “Growing up my neighbour was Lebanese – she introduced me to Middle Eastern style cooking, and then later in life I got inspired to make more Eastern Mediterranean flavours when travelling through Turkey, with all the fresh and smokey flavours that play a role in so much of my cooking today, including this Ezme salad,” says Tom.
“I wanted to create something that makes the most of these flavours, as well as the juicy and flavoursome tomatoes that the summer months offer! It’s great for sharing when you’re entertaining friends during the holidays and, best of all, it requires no cooling. It is pure deliciousness that also happens to be healthy, so you can enjoy it all summer long.”
The ezme is Turkish-inspired and works perfectly served with the creamy hummus and some pita bread, but Tom also suggests that for those looking to make it a full meal, you can add some fish or grilled meat too. And when it comes to summer dining, it’s only natural that you want to spend less time indoors slaving away over a hot stove or kitchen table and more outdoors, socialising with friends and enjoying the fruits of your labour. Thankfully, this recipe makes for light work. Should you have a Vitamix Ascent blender on hand, you can chop the ezme ingredients in seconds and create a delicious, juicy salad.
Ezme, hummus, yoghurt and flatbreads
1 small red onion
1 large red capsicum
2 vine ripened tomatoes
1 clove garlic
Handful each flat leaf parsley and dill
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1/4 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup kalamata olives, torn
Few sprigs dill
1 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup tahini
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup water
Juice 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp za’atar
Roughly chop the onion, capsicum, tomato, garlic, and herbs and place into the jug of the Vitamix ascent blender. Blend the ingredients on speed 1 or 2 for 10 seconds then scrape down the sides using the wand and continue to blend for another 10 seconds.
Add the olive oil, pomegranate molasses, cumin and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon this into a bowl, clean the blender jug, then add the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, water, and lemon to the jug with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Blend to a smooth, creamy texture, using a little more tahini to thicken or water to thin, if needed.
To serve, spoon the hummus onto a serving plate and make an indent in the middle. Spoon in the yogurt and then drizzle with the pomegranate molasses, olive oil and za’atar.
Spoon the ezme onto another plate and top with the olives and dill and serve the dishes with warm flatbreads to dip through.
For more recipes from Tom and inspiration for using the Vitamix A3500i blender, check out his Instagram where he shares delicious and highly nutritious recipes that are easy to make from home.