The Passover Haggadah tells the story of the Israelites who endured hundreds of years of slavery in Egypt until God freed them. Then, according to the Biblical story, the Israelites spent forty years wandering in the desert before they finally entered the Promised Land. During this time, God provided them a heavenly food, that rained down from the skies, in the form of quail (meat) and manna - which is described as white moist grains that covered the ground and had a sweet honey-like taste.
The Bible includes many descriptions of foods ingredients such as grains, honey, and fruits. We also know that our ancestors foraged for grass and plants' roots. As for dishes, there are fewer details. Almost everything was consumed in its natural state, except for meat and bread.
The Biblical salad recipe I share here is based on these details. It includes cooked lentils, chard zucchini, and bitter greens, and it’s topped with an interpretation of the mysterious substance "manna", made with tahini, date syrup, and native spices. It’s a great plant-based protein dish addition to the Passover night feast (and beyond), that will transform everyone around the table thousands of years back in time.
Serves 6-8 (if served as a side dish)
1 cup brown/green lentils, washed and drained
3 cups of water
3 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups of mixed greens, torn into 2"- 4" pieces. For authenticity - use parsley (only the leaves), dandelion, green crest, and sorrel, or substitute with arugula, baby spinach, and microgreens.
For the "manna" dressing:
4 Tablespoons tahini paste
6 Tablespoons date syrup (or other natural liquid molasses)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons sumac
1 teaspoon dried za'atar
In a large bowl, toss the sliced zucchinis with about 3 Tablespoons olive oil, then arrange it in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Roast under the broiler until zucchinis are chared, for about 15 mins.
Cook lentils in a medium pot filled with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on low until tender, 20-25 minutes. ( Small lentils will cook faster, check after 15 minutes). Drain, and cool.
Combine the date syrup, olive oil, sumac, and za'atar in a small bowl and whisk together.
In a serving bowl, combine the cooked lentils, charred zucchini, greens and herbs, and drizzle the tahini paste on top.
Add the sweet spiced dressing and toss until evenly combined.