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Baby spinach salad with dates & almonds

Salad Picnic
Serves 4
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Pitas are allotted the shortest of shelf lives in Jerusalem. Ideally, you’d eat them within a couple of hours of baking. Crunchy pita croutons make good use of leftover pita. We use them for soups and scatter them over salads and other mezzes. They will keep for at least a week in an airtight container. Serve this salad as a starter; its sharp freshness really whets the appetite.


1 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
100g pitted medjool dates, quartered lengthways
30g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small pitas, about 100g, roughly torn into 4cm pieces
75g whole unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
2 tsp sumac
½ tsp chilli flakes
150g baby spinach leaves, washed
2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Put the vinegar, onion and dates in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain any residual vinegar and discard.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter and half the olive oil in a medium frying pan. Add the pita and almonds and cook them on a medium heat for 4–6 minutes, stirring all the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, chilli and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Set aside to cool.
  3. When you are ready to serve, toss the spinach leaves with the pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates and red onion, remaining olive oil, lemon juice and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately