Savory Yogurt Bowl + London

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We love yogurt in our family*. The unsweetened, thick, creamy and tangy kind.

We enjoy yogurt for breakfast (with fruit) and sometimes dessert (with dates + chocolate + nuts). We top our soups with yogurt, we add it to smoothies and ice pops and we also dress our salads with it (Isac likes to dress himself with it as well). Yogurt works remarkably well both with sweet and savory flavors. And yet, the thought of making a yogurt bowl with savory toppings instead of sweet, had never struck us before.

But as we were playing around with this crunchy cucumber and melon salad with spiced chickpeas, we (and with we, I humbly mean ME, MYSELF and I – as in, not David) had the simple idea to put them on a bed of yogurt instead of doing the usual yogurt dressing. In theory, it’s more or less the same thing but in reality it’s so much better. The warm, rich and spicy chickpeas on a bed of cold, thick and tangy yogurt, with the addition of a fresh salad with lots of crunch. It’s simple but yet so very good. And quick too. I’m sure there are plenty of savory yogurt bowls all over internet, but now they are also in our kitchen.

*David and Isac are actually intolerant to dairy but yogurt is their weak spot. We buy oat yogurt for them but David often chooses a day of stomach ache just to enjoy a bowl of plain yogurt. And Isac has literally been caught with his hand in the yogurt jar more than once. Coconut yogurt has a fantastic taste and consistency but is simply too expensive to enjoy more than as an occasional treat (very keen on giving Ashley’s versions a try though!).

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Hey hey hey, wait a sec. This is David acting as proofreader today and I just noted Luise’s attempt at hijacking my idea. This recipe = my idea. Just wanted to make that clear. I’ll give the word back to her now.

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The salad is super quick as you just need to chop everything up. We found that crunchy vegetables like cucumber, celery, sturdy roman lettuce and radishes work really well here, with the avocado and melon adding softness and sweetness. The yogurt is, well, just yogurt. It needs to be quite thick to hold up the topping – our preference is Greek yogurt but choose whatever you prefer. The only thing that needs a little more preparation and heat are the spiced chickpeas. Even if the ingredient list looks long, it’s simply spices, oil and chickpeas and the result tastes way better than just using plain chickpeas. They have a rich, spicy and slightly nutty flavor which works so well with the freshness from the yogurt and the crunchy and sweet salad.

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VARIATIONS
There are plenty of ways to vary this recipe and we’re going to leave you with a few ideas.
 Whisk some creamy goat’s cheese into the yogurt. It will dissolve, become smooth and give the yogurt a more mature flavor.
 If you don’t have all the spices at home for the chickpeas, use what you find. A bread spice mix works great along with a little cayenne. A turmeric or curry version would be interesting too.
 You can skip the salad and pour the yogurt into small sealable jars with spiced chickpeas on top. Store them in the fridge for a quick snack.
 Vegans can of course use a vegan yogurt option or simply settle for the salad with warm chickpeas stirred through.
 Roasting the chickpeas in the oven together with eggplant or pumpkin could be amazing on top of the yogurt as well.

Let us know if you have any other favorite variations on savory yogurt bowls and we can include them in this list.

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Savory Yogurt Bowl with Spicy Chickpeas & Cucumber Salad
Serves 4 as a lunch or 2 for dinner

Cucumber & Melon Salad
1 cucumber
1 small (or 1/2 regular) melon (we used Piel de Sapo but honeydew would also work)
1 spring onion
2 celery stalks
10-15 fresh mint leaves
1 avocado
6 radishes
½ roman lettuce
½ lemon, juice
1 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil

Spiced warm chickpeas
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds 
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground cayenne
1/2 tsp ground cumin (or 1 tsp cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp ground paprika powder

1/4 cup – 1/2 cup cold-pressed olive oil
1 x 14 oz / 400 g can 
cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

For serving
2 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt 

For the cucumber & melon salad: Wash all produce. Cut cucumber and melon in large bite-size pieces. Trim and finely slice spring onion, celery and mint leaves. Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone, then cut into cubes. Trim the radishes and thinly slice them. And chop the roman lettuce. Place all prepared ingredients in a mixing bowl, squeeze over lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil and a little salt, give it a good toss and set aside.

For the spiced warm chickpeas: Add all seeds and spices (except for the ground spices) to a dry skillet, heat gently for a couple of minutes while stirring. When the spices starts to pop and smell fragrant, they’re done. Pour into a mortar and give them a few bashes with the pestle (alternatively on a cutting board and use the back of a chef’s knife). Transfer the seeds and spices back to the skillet. Now add oil (start with the lesser amount and add more later on if it looks dry), ground spices  and chickpeas and heat on low temperature for 2-3 minutes. Stir to combine. When the chickpeas are warm and covered in spices and seeds, remove from the heat.

Dollop the yogurt into four bowls. Use the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Arrange the salad on one side of the yogurt and the spiced warm chickpea on the other side. Drizzle a little extra oil on top. Enjoy immediately while the chickpeas are still warm.

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LONDON + BATH
In all my excitement over a simple bowl of yogurt, I almost forgot to mention that we are coming to London and Bath next week for a couple of book events. We’re very excited and can’t wait to meet some of you!

We’re having a supper club at Grace Belgravia on Monday 5 June, 7-10 pm. More info here.
We’ll do talk and Q&A at Whole Foods Market in Kensington on Wednesday 7 June, 6.30 pm. More info and tickets here.
We’ll also do a talk and cooking demo at Topping & Company Booksellers in Bath on Friday 9 June, 7.30 pm. More info and tickets here.
Finally, we’re having a hands on cooking class at Bertinet Kitchen in Bath on Saturday 10 June, 10 am. Tickets here (only one left).

Big love!

57 Comments

  • I just made this, well sort of, actually with roast veg rather than salad, but, absolutely delish . Thanks
  • Chickpeas are a staple in my cooking. Thanks for sharing your unique spin on them!
  • Johanna
    You should have a look at Mandira when you are in London. It´s a new Greek-Yoghurt Bar a friend of mine just opened up in Covent Garden. They have the most delicious variations - both savory and sweet. Really worth a try! Here is there website: http://www.mandiralondon.com/
  • Marie Frank
    I love your website and recipes. Would you consider providing a tab to print a user-friendly recipe? Thank you!
  • I need to get some probiotics in my life ... great post!
  • For me was kind of a revelation the use of greek yogurt as a substitute for Mayonnaise in salad dressings. And it's a great way to cut calories!
  • Constanta
    Made this today. I didn't expect such a wonderful taste :) Thank you for the great recipes! Cheers, Constanta
  • I loved this recipe and i must say loved it with fruit at breakfast. The taste is super delicious!! Thanks for this funny and delicious recipe.
  • I love all the vegetables and seeds in this savory bowl! So nourishing and delicious!
  • Erica
    Are the intolerant to dairy because of lactose or allergic to milk protein? If it's lactose, I have good news: they can eat all the yogurt they want without tummy ache. It requires making the yogurt at home, but that's easy enough - find whatever instructions on the internet or in a cookbook. The only thing you have to change is the culturing time - it's typically 4-8 hours for recipes (and for commercial production for that matter) - to 20-24 hours. Long fermentation converts essentially all of the lactose to its component sugars which don't cause problems. I know this because I'm lactose intolerant and often have a mighty need for some yogurt - I've been making it myself for years. :) I hope that's helpful and not totally presumptuous!
  • Sophie
    I just made this for lunch! 10 minutes. Easy and delicious. Thank you.
  • Bri
    I love toasted whole cumin seed--it has a gorgeous warm flavour so I'd skip the ground cumin in this recipe {which is rarely fresh anyway) and sub in 1-2 tbsp whole seeds. Toast these until darker and fragrant (1-2 min in a dry skillet) and then you can crush it easily with you fingers or better in a mortar and pestle. It tastes so much better than preground...try it on yogurt in a raita, on hummous with some olive oil, with thyme, sesame seeds on feta cheese topped with a little olive oil...
    • Jane Gurney
      Brilliant. Thanks for the idea of toasting the cumin seed.
    • Hi Bri, yes that's a good idea! We actually only used ground cumin because that's what we had at home at the moment, but next time we'll use the whole seeds instead. Thanks! David
  • Oh what fun, fun blog post. Love it! Afraid I can't make the London events on such short notice (insert crying face), but hope you enjoy my city <3
  • Jane Gurney
    I love the idea of serving warm checkpea salad on tangy youghurt. Never thought of it before. I only started using chickpeas when flat sharing with an Indian Vegetarian, who made THE most delicious chickpea salad. YOU COOK CHICKPEAS FROM SCRATCH. They taste so much better than canned, if you can make the time. Overnight soak then about 2 hours or so cooking, depending on how old they are. Once cooked immediately drench in your old based dressing. Your spicy dressing is far nicer than mine which was much simplier. My friend then used to add them to a crunchy radish salad, sliced finely, with coriander leaves and some fresh green chili finely sliced (no seeds). Divine. I am now going to combine my approach with yours. I love how we learn
  • Robin Law
    Hi, thought you might like to know about the Edinburgh Festivals which take place each year. One of the main ones is the Book Festival and is very popular. You should try that out. https://www.edbookfest.co.uk
    • Yes, if you can't find a packet of cardamom seeds. Get the pods instead and pick the seeds out. /D
  • Pamela
    In Indian cooking they have a seasoned savory yogurt dish called Raita. The classic version is sliced cucumber and tomatoes with salt and various other seasonings. But one of the things I have noticed that really makes it taste better is to make it up with all the seasonings and the vegetables and then to leave it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or several hours if possible before serving. The flavor really does improve. And Raitas come in all different versions with different vegetables evidently. I wonder if your yogurt and savory chickpeas would benefit from being left in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to a few hours,....perhaps adding the salad fixing just before eating.....
    • Hi Pamela, yes you are right that raita is a bit similar to this. Since we don't mix anything into the yogurt but rather use them as toppings, I don't think that it will benefit from resting in the fridge first. But do let us know if you try it. /Luise
  • Claire
    What a great idea-the combinations of the textures sounds really good... Looking forward to meeting you both next weekend as I'm one of the lucky ones signed up for your cookery class in Bath!
  • Jonna
    This sounds so interesting! Can't quite imagine what it tastes like, but I love how it looks and think it must be amazing! I'll give it a try as soon as possible! Thanks for sharing!
  • Emma
    Oh really love this idea! Also a big fan of yogurt. And chickpeas!

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