Lemony Sumac Chicken and Chickpea Salad with Dates, Feta and Baby Spinach

, from Issue #95. February, 2021
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Lemony Sumac Chicken and Chickpea Salad with Dates, Feta and Baby Spinach

This bright and festive salad is like a party on a plate. Perfect for a long lunch, hot night or to serve at a barbecue - in fact, keep this in your repertoire for pretty much anything!

Serves: 4-6


6 boneless, skin-off chicken thighs
sea salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons sumac (see Cook’s note)
3 tablespoons olive oil
400-gram tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium pita flatbreads, ripped into large pieces

To assemble
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 small telegraph cucumber, sliced
½ cup parsley leaves
1 red onion, very thinly sliced, tossed with 2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 fresh dates, pitted, quartered lengthways
150 grams soft marinated feta
½ cup pomegranate arils
Citrus olive oil for drizzling


Season the chicken and sprinkle with sumac. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.

Cook the chicken for 8 minutes over a medium heat, or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely and rest for a few minutes. Don’t wash the pan. Add the chickpeas to the pan and cook until golden, stirring frequently. Take care as they can spit. Stir in the lemon juice and let it bubble up then scrape into a bowl. Wash the pan and add 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil. Cook the bread in batches until deeply golden in patches and crisp. Place on kitchen towels and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil and bread.

To assemble: Slice the chicken. Layer up the spinach, chickpeas, cucumber and parsley on a platter. Top with the chicken, drained red onions, dates, spoonfuls of the cheese and the pomegranate arils. Spoon over the chicken resting juices and a generous drizzle of the citrus olive oil.

Cook’s note: The sumac bush produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder and have a tangy lemony flavour. I used Lot Eight Citrus Olive Oil; along with sumac, this is available from Farro and good food stores.