The Spring Tartine

Early Spring tastes like chickpeas, green peas, avocado and dill with tahini orange sauce served as an open faced sandwich, a tartine, over a bed of mixed greens, mint and dandelion leaves.  My cravings for avocado dissipate when the cool weather rolls in each fall, but they return in full force at the earliest sign of Spring.  Green peas aren't officially in season here, but the frozen ones, with their stunning green beauty, do the trick. I discovered black chickpeas recently, and when I saw them sold at a Los Angeles Whole Foods for $1 something a pound, compared to $4/lb in NYC, I had to  bring some home.  Dill, oh dill.  I wasn't a fan of the herb until I made this dish.  Now I'm hooked. 

Spring does lovely things to people.  In New York we celebrated an incredibly warm month of March, and though the cooler air has crept back in, the lightness of Spring hasn't left.  Bright colors replace the drab tones of winter, smiles replace scowls, and avocados, peas and dill create magic on the plate.

For this dish I love the visual contrast of the green peas and black chickpeas.  Black chickpeas can be found at Whole Foods, or normal chickpeas can be used. I found that the black chickpeas aren't as creamy when cooked as their tan counterpart.  However, they maintained a satisfying firmness that added a nice texture to the tartine.  I'm hoping black chickpeas have more antioxidants than normal garbanzos, but that's just an assumption.

I was delighted to learn that dill contains compounds that enable antioxidants to destroy free radicals in the body.  It is especially helpful in neutralizing certain carcinogens from cigarette smoke and charcoal grills.   Not only can dill help protect you from cancer, it's also a powerful antibacterial herb.  It is even a great source of calcium!


If you don't eat bread, I promise this dish is delicious even without it.  It's also very tasty tossed with quinoa! Yum!

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Avocado Pea Tartine with Dill 
and Orange Tahini Dressing
(makes 4 or so tartines, 2 servings.  Serve on toasted whole wheat bread, with mixed greens with fresh mint, or tossed with quinoa. )

1 avocado, cubed
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 cup black chickpeas, or tan chickpeas
1/2 cup dill, chopped

Dressing:
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
4 tbsp tahini paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 slices of whole wheat bread

In a bowl combine avocado, peas, chickpeas and dill.  In another bowl, mix orange juice, tahini and vinegar. Slowly whisk in olive oil until it emulsifies. Add more balsamic vinegar and salt to taste, along with freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the dressing over the avocado and peas and toss to coat.  

Toast bread then drizzle with olive oil.  Spoon the avocado pea mixture onto the bread and spoon some of the remaining dressing over the tartines.  Squeeze a little lemon juice over the dish.  Serve with mixed greens and herbs tossed in olive oil.

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