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Exploring food trends & Mediterranean flavours with Jill Okkers

Executive chef Jill Okker shares her thoughts on the way we will be eating in 2022 and a recipe for a delicious Mediterranean salad

By Amy Saunders | January 18, 2022 | Recipes

Executive Development Chef of Tashas Group, Jill Okkers, has been shaking things up in the culinary industry for years with her passion, creativity and commitment to making and being the difference. Below we chat to her about her food trend predictions for 2022 and Le Parc by tashas Chopped Mediterranean Salad recipe.

What are your food trend predictions for 2022?

I think we are eating more with more thought. So that means that some are gravitating towards being more plant-based, by eating less dairy, cutting out eggs or not eating red meat. A lot of people have actually started listening to their guts.

The mass slowdown of the past few months has given us time to cook meals and bake bread and eat on a level that’s filled with more enjoyment. I for one, have cut a lot out of my diet, as I have had time to understand that certain foods, just don’t agree with me.

Maybe it’s self-care – as cliché as that might be, it’s not just long baths and glasses of wine that fall into that category. Listening to, and feeling how your body reacts to eating meat, or any other food can help you down the path of eating right and enjoying what’s on your plate.

Le Parc by tashas Chopped Mediterranean Salad

Salad Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Sundried tomato pesto
  • Spiced chickpeas
  • Lemon vinaigrette
  • 5 whole gem lettuce, washed and separated
  • 30 cocktail tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large cucumber, quartered and chopped
  • 1 large red onion, quartered and cut into slices
  • 10 kalamata olives – or a mix of green and kalamata
  • 1 punch of parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp of dried oregano
  • 20 mint leaves – roughly chopped
  • 100g feta
  • 2 cups of croutons
  • Micro herbs

For the spiced chickpeas

  • 20ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp of white sesame seeds
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (reserve the water for the hummus mix)
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • 4g parsley
  • 3g lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to season

In a pan, add all the olive oil, all the spices and the sesame seeds. Allow to come to heat, toss the chickpeas and stir to incorporate, then add the lemon juice. Remove from the pan and stir in the chopped parsley and lemon zest. Season to taste.

For the sundried tomato hummus

  • 200g hummus
  • 30g sundried tomatoes (removed from oil)
  • 30ml chickpea water
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • Salt and pepper to season

Place the hummus, chickpea water and sundried tomatoes into a blender and blend until the sundried tomatoes are incorporated and smooth. Fold this mix into the Greek yoghurt. Season to taste.

For the lemon vinaigrette

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2g lemon zest
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 2g fine salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and store in the fridge until needed.

Method

Spread the hummus on the base of a large platter.

In a mixing bowl, toss the gem lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, olives, chopped parsley, dried oregano, mint and spiced chickpeas with the lemon vinaigrette and season.

Place the dressed salad on top of the hummus. Crumble the feta over the placed salad.

Garnish with croutons, micro herbs and freshly cracked black pepper. Sprinkle with more oregano and extra virgin olive oil before serving.