So you’ve made a big, fat batch of hummus. Delicious and healthful to be sure. “But Max!” you shout, “I want MORE!” Potential adult film plotlines aside, throwing together a spread of complementary dishes is not hard at all and can be executed (with a minute of planning and a modicum of talent) all at the same time. Here, in abbreviated form, is what I made to go with my chickpeas:

Salad á la Streetmeat Cart (but mo betta)

Slice some red cabbage (I used radicchio) into strips so you have about 2 cups. Take about half of a red onion and slice as thin as possible. Dice a tomato and chop up a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, the juice from two lemons, kosher salt, and some fresh black pepper. Let this sit in the refrigerator (with the hummus, which should be cooling down as well if you just made some) while you prepare the remaining dishes.

Now you don't have to wonder what they stuff your falafel sandwich with.

Note the bright colors. Those are the vitamins. Vitamins taste good.

Toasted Pita Chips

Start with regular packaged pitas. They should be cheap and the ingredient list should be short. Cut each pita into quarters and split the two halves to make 8 large quarters for each pita. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toast in a 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with kosher salt. You will never fork over $3.99 for a 6oz bag of Stacy’s again.

flat bread = big taste

It's almost as easy as buying a bag of chips. And a quarter of the price. I'm serious. Just make them.

 Kabob Chicken, reconstructed (or not kabobbed)

Go out back and slaughter the fuck out of a chicken. Too old country? Nevermind. Start with either boneless and skinless breasts, or, if you want real flavor, boneless thighs (I only had breasts on hand at the time, so I went with those). Toss with (everyone say it with me) olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh black pepper. Next, sprinkle both sides with ground cumin and just a bit of dried oregano. You’ll be amazed how one spice and one herb can change the flavor profile of simple grilled chicken so dramatically. Cook over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes per side.

Those are some nice looking breasts. Taste great, too!

Note: brown means flavor.

All three of these dishes can, if you’re not completely kitchen-incompetent, be prepared in about half an hour. That means if you make the salad first, by the time the chicken is cooked through and has had a minute to rest, you get to enjoy an entire meal.

It's like the Eastern Mediterranean in my mouth.

Almost as good as when you get it off of a cart. But much better for you.

 – Max.