ZA'ATAR PESTO by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

hey! i’m popping in real quick to share yet another sunday meal prep sauce. this one’s for a wonderful twist on traditional pesto where we essentially replace the basil with parsley and za’atar spice. if you’re not familiar with za’atar it’s a spice blend traditionally made from dried marjoram, thyme and/or oregano, toasted sesame seeds, dried sumac, and sometimes salt. it’s generally used as a rub on meats, sprinkled on fish or poultry, added to roasted veggies, mixed with oil to top bread, etc.!

today we’re mixing za’atar spice/seasoning into a herby/nutty/garlicky base of parsley, toasted pine nuts, fresh garlic, and olive oil. it’s one of my favorite ways to utilize za’atar and it makes for such a bright and light summer sauce. i first had a similar pesto at a restaurant in the west village. it was one of mine and frank’s last meals out before we became parents to amesy. but the restaurant has since closed, and we’ve moved almost 3,000 miles away, so the need to make my own version of what i remember that pest to taste like has been somewhat essential. and i thought i ought to share this recipe here with you because it’s that good!

before i leave with the recipe, here are a few ways to use this sauce to spice up your food/life throughout the week:

  • forever and always on this leaf-less salad. the pesto acts just like a salad dressing here, and all you may need is a bit more salt and you’re good to go!

  • swirled into this flatbread (literally one of the most delicious things to use it for. just replace the first 5 ingredients with a few dollops of the za’atar pesto).

  • use as a marinade for veggie, chicken, or even fish (i love salmon here) kebabs.

  • mixed into roasted veggies.

  • mixed into potato salad or roasted potatoes

  • on flatbread, pizza, or pasta!

happy sunday, friends! xo

za’atar pesto | v

| makes just under 1 cup |

print the recipe


  1. in the cup of a food processor fitted with a metal “s” blade, combine the parsley, pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic, a few pinches salt, and a couple cracks of pepper. while the food processor is running, drizzle in the 1/2 cup of olive oil and blend until everything is broken down and sufficiently mixed together, stopping a couple times to scrape down the sides of the container. taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice, if needed.

  2. scrape the parsley and olive oil mixture into a bowl. stir in the za’atar spice until combined. taste and adjust any seasonings, if necessary. scrape the za’atar pesto into a lidded jar. pour over the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil to prevent the pesto from browning in the fridge.

  3. za’atar pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. let pesto stand at room temp roughly 30 minutes before using.


  • 1 cup fresh parsley

  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

  • juice from 1/2 small lemon

  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

  • salt & freshly ground pepper

  • 1/2 cup, plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil to top

  • 1/4 cup za’atar spice

Athena's Creamy Cauliflower Soup W/ Dukkah & Watercress Pesto by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

i wasn't always very keen on cooking.  the truth is, that until i met frank, and he and i started dating, i didn't really enjoy the process of cooking that much.  but as our relationship progressed, the notion of cooking for someone else and pleasing their tummy and tastebuds really appealed to me.   so much so, that while frank and i grew a relationship and fell in love with each other, i simultaneously cultivated a little love affair with cooking as well.  

before we moved in together, we would take turns cooking at our respective apartments.  he would generally "cook" sandwiches, which were seriously good.  and i would plan some sort of intricate dinner like a ricotta gnocchi recipe that i had ripped from the pages of the new york times. but saturday and sunday mornings were reserved for getting up a bit early to make a batch of scones or muffins that i had bookmarked and printed out weeks before.  i would scotch tape the recipes to the my kitchen cabinets where they would become one with my little kitchen - splatters, drips, and all! maybe you would have guessed, but as mine and frank's connection grew stronger so did my love for preparing our meals.

cooking and developing recipes for a living has its considerable perks, but the past year that drive has waned a bit with having a baby.  and i have often felt that love and connection to food disipate. i've talked to some other moms about this, and i know it's not just me.  but that continual tug in two completely different directions of wanting to the best, most present mama, while also striving to be the best at your career has taken its toll. which is why every time a new cookbook shows up on my doorstep i am eternally grateful for the wonderful authors who share their stories, hearts, and kitchens with us every time fall and spring roll around.

so, today i'm cooking from a new book, cook beautiful, by athena colderone of the blog, eyeswoon. the recipes are organized by the seasons of the year, so i flipped right to the fall chapter and gathered a load of east coast autumn inspiration.  i chose to make this creamy cauliflower soup to really welcome fall into my kitchen (although, it's literally 90 degrees in LA as i'm writing this), and give you all some chilly-weather meal inspiration as well.  this cauliflower soup is a wonderfully delicious blank canvas - and you could certainly serve and eat this as is.  but athena paired it beautifully with a pistachio dukkah (a middle eastern spice and nut/seed blend), and a zesty watercress-pistachio pesto.  the dukkah added a flavorful crunch, while the pesto added a perfect bit of brightness to make an unassuming soup really shine.   just like the title, states this book is beautiful in every way.  i could see my younger self being too intimidated to cook from it just from its shear beauty, but i think it really beckons you to cook your most beautiful, push your boundaries a bit by introducing you to new ideas, and different ways of preparing a typical meal.   

big cozy hugs! xo

creamy cauliflower soup w/ dukkah & watercress pesto 

recipe from Cook Beautiful by Athena Calderone

*my notes: athena's recipe calls for heavy cream. if you don't handle dairy well, like me, then you can replace it with 1/4 cup tahini which i added to the blender during step 5.

| serves 4 |

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds/910 g), cored and cut into bite-size florets
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • kosher salt
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut  in half lengthwise and rinsed clean
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces (225 g) yukon gold potatoes (about 3), peeled and quartered
  • 3 cups (720 ml) chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup (185 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • watercress pistachio pesto, for serving
  • dukkah, for serving

watercress pistachio pesto | makes 2 cups

  • 1/3 cup (45 g) unslated pistachios, toasted, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups (60 g) packed watercress
  • 3/4 cup (45 g) packed fresh parsely
  • 2/3 cup (165 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • kosher salt

dukkah | makes 3/4 cup

  • 3/4 cup (95 g) unsalted pistachios
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt



  1. preheat oven to 425°F (220°C)
  2. spread the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet.  drizzle the generously with oil, season with salt, and toss to coat.  roast for 15 minutes, tossing the cauliflower halfway through.  continue to roast until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. while the cauliflower is roasting, chop the leeks crosswise into roughly 1/4-inch (6-mm) slices.  in a medium saucepan, heat the oil and thyme over medium heat and saute the leeks until they are slightly softened, about 2 minutes.  add the garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes more. 
  4. add the potatoes, stock, cream, 2 cups (480 ml) water, and the roasted cauliflower to the pot.  bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat and cover, cooking until the potatoes are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  once the potatoes are tender, remove the thyme stems from the mixture (the leaves should have fallen off during cooking).
  5. transfer the mixture to a blender and cover the hole of the blender top with a towel.  blend until the mixture is very smooth.  stir in the lemon juice and season with 2 teaspoons salt and some pepper.  divide the soup among four bowls and top it with lemon zest, a swirl of the watercress pesto, and a sprinkle of dukkah.


  1. in a food processor, pulse the pistachios, watercress, and parsley until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses.  add the oil and lemon juice and process until a smooth, loose paste forms, about three 10-second pulses.  transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the melon zest, and season with salt.  covered in the refrigerator, with a layer of olive oil on top, the pesto will last 3 to 4 days.


  1. in a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast the pistachios for minutes, until warm.  add the sesame seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds.  continue to toast for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the seeds are fragrant. transfer the mixture to a mini food processor, along with the peppercorns and salt.  pulse until the pistachios are coarsely chopped  the dukkah can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.

similar recipes:

chipotle cauliflower rice & black bean enchiladas

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Roasted Garlic Basil Pesto Potatoes with Arugula by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

if there's any month out of the year that i'm super predictable in terms of what i'm craving and end up preparing, it's september.  while i love everything about this seasonal in-between, a month where the abundance of late summer produce bumps into, and overlaps with the beginning of autumn, it leaves me totally stumped.  the copious amounts of fresh vegetables and fruit this time of year can often lead me to a boggled brain that can't focus on a specific dish to prepare.  so i'm always selfishly thankful that the fall cookbook season falls around this time!  

potatoes, fresh tender greens, and herbs like basil are still at my local market sitting right alongside first-of-the-season winter squash, sweet potatoes, and hearty greens like kale and collards.  i'm still favoring a bit of summer mixed in with the coziness of a roasted dish.  so when i was turning the pages of angela liddon's beautiful new cookbook, oh she glows every day, i knew that this roasted potato recipe culminated all the feelings i have about food this season into one simple, tasty dish.   

there's so much goodness to choose from in this book.  it starts with smoothie and smoothie bowls, then moves to breakfast recipes, and snacks.  there's a slew of in-between meals including salads (including a sorghum-based gluten-free tabbouleh that i'm super excited about), side dishes and soups, and mains.  but what caught my eye in the index initially was the homemade staples section!  i love quick, easy, go-to staples that i can make in advance and have to make meals that much easier to compose.  all-in-all it's a wonderfully comprehensive book, full of beautiful photos shot by my pal ashley mclaughlin, that will for sure be a kitchen companion for years and years!


roasted garlic pesto potatoes with arugula | v

reprinted from Oh She Glows Every Day by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company. copyright © 2016, Glo Bakery Corporation

notes: angela notes that leftovers can be served straight from the fridge as a cold potato salad.

| serves 4 | prep time: 15 minutes cook time: 40 minutes

for the potatoes

  • 2 pounds (900 g) yukon gold or red potatoes, unpeeled, chopped into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups/1.5 L)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons (22 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the roasted garlic

  • 1 large garlic head
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

for the pesto

  • 1 cup (250 mL/3/4 ounce/20 g) lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 mL) hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) fine sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

for the salad

  • 3 cups (750 mL) baby arugula, chopped
  • fresh lemon juice, for serving (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) hemp hearts, for garnish


  1. preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).  line an extra-large baking sheet (15x21-inches/38x 53 cm) with parchment paper.
  2. make the potatoes.  place the potatoes on the baking sheet and toss with the olive oil until thoroughly coated.  spread the potatoes into an even layer.  season with a couple pinches of salt and pepper.
  3. make the roasted garlic.  slice the top off the garlic bulb so all the individual garlic cloves are trimmed. place garlic bulb on a square of aluminum foil (about 8 inches/20 cm square) and drizzle the top of the cloves with the olive oil.  wrap the garlic bulb entirely in the foil and place it on the baking sheet with the potatoes.
  4. roast the potatoes and garlic for 20 minutes, then remove pan from the oven and flip the potatoes with a spatula.  return the potatoes and garlic to the oven and continue roasting for 15 to 20 minutes more, until the potatoes are golden and fork-tender.
  5. make the pesto.  in a food processor, combine the pesto ingredients and process until mostly smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary.  keep the pesto in the processor because we will add the roasted garlic as the final step.
  6. remove the potatoes and garlic from the oven.  carefully unwrap the garlic bulb and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, until it's cool enough to handle.  
  7. turn off the oven and return the potatoes to the oven with the door ajar so they stay warm.  (you can also put the potatoes into an oven-safe casserole dish so the dish stays warm when serving.)  squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of the bulb.  you should have about 2 packed tablespoons (30 mL) of roasted garlic.  add it into the food processor with the pesto.  process until mostly smooth - you can add a touch more oil if necessary to get it going.
  8. assemble the salad.  this is the important part where you need to act fast (angela notes that she likes to assemble the salad quickly so that it stays warm when she serves it.)  grab a large serving bowl and place the arugula in the bottom of the bowl.  you can break it up into smaller pieces with your hands a bit.  then, remove the potatoes from the oven and quickly place them into the serving bowl on top of the arugula.  toss the potatoes and arugula with the pesto until thoroughly combined.  taste and season with salt and pepper. add another drizzle of lemon juice if need be.  sprinkle on the hemp hearts and serve immediately.      

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