Yogurt, Spinach & Parsley Salad with Walnuts (borani)

In this recipe both cooked spinach and fresh parsley and cilantro are mixed together. It is my adaptation of an Armenian dish. In Israel you will most often find the vivid pink ‘borani’, made with beets and beet greens instead of spinach (see variation). As an alternative to the traditional pita bread, I prefer to spread it on toasted whole wheat or multi-grain bread, rubbed with a cut clove of garlic. It can also be a side dish, accompanying poached or grilled fish or chicken.

beet-yogurt

Makes about 3 cups.

1 1/2 pounds spinach leaves, washed and coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ cup cilantro chopped
3 cups thick yogurt
2-3 garlic cloves, minced, to taste
1-3 jalapeňos, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Place the spinach in a saucepan over high heat, cover, and let it wilt without adding more water than what clings on the leaves. It needs only 2 to 3 minutes. Toss once or twice while cooking, and be careful not to let it burn. Remove the spinach from the heat, place in a colander, and let cool and drain. Press with your hands to remove as much liquid as possible. Chop finely.

In a bowl, combine the spinach with the parsley, cilantro, yogurt, garlic, and chilies, stirring well. Add a little salt and taste. Adjust seasoning with more salt and a little black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Spread on toasts, sprinkle with walnuts and serve as an appetizer, or transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with walnuts.

VARIATION:

Pink Borani with Beets

Dice 4-5 large cooked and peeled beets (together with their cooked stems and greens, if you like) and mix with the garlic, yogurt and jalapeňos (as above). Ommit the parsley and cilantro, and flavor with ½ cup chopped dill and the zest of ½ lemon. I add 2-3 tablespoon lemon juice, as beets are especially sweet for my taste, but you may not aggree with me…

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