Rays of Sunshine: Salads, Three Ways

Jordanian chef Himi Hunaidi, founder of Toronto-based Levantine restaurant Madame Levant, combines the flavors and techniques of her homeland into three fresh salads.

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • * A $500 value with everything in the Digital Plan plus 25+ benefits including:
  • Member-only content on all publications in the Outside network like Oxygen, Yoga Journal, Outside and more
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons
  • More than 100 diet-specific meal plans
  • Extended member-only yoga pose library with how-to instruction
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine**
Join Outside+

Digital only
Intro Offer
$2.99 / month*

  • Access to all member-exclusive content on
Join Clean Eating

*Outside memberships are billed annually. **Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year.More Details

For those not familiar, the Levant refers to the region โ€“ generally Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus and Syria โ€“ sitting on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The French term poetically evokes the rising sun in the east, and it also perfectly describes Himi Hunaidiโ€™s sun-dappled personality.

Born in Jordan, Hunaidi went to culinary school in France but found she had more opportunities in North America. She took up residence in LA, where she started a mommy-and-me cooking class and considered opening a falafel food truck before moving to Toronto in 2018. โ€œCooking was always what I wanted to do,โ€ she says.

In Toronto, Hunaidi continued to share her heritage by cooking for friends. She created a low-key meal service, where neighbors would pick from a Levantine menu ahead of time and she would make the dishes and have them ready to be picked up. Word spread, and soon, in 2019, she was opening a restaurant: Madame Levant. โ€œI feel like it was the connective buildup of what I wanted to do and the recipes I wanted to show the world,โ€ she says.

At Madame Levant, Hunaidi cooks the dishes that speak to her โ€“ that speak of her โ€“ like her auntโ€™s mโ€™shaut fritters made with cauliflower, parsley, onion and egg. Itโ€™s the restaurantโ€™s number-one-selling brunch item. โ€œI thought it would be a difficult dish to introduce,โ€ she says. โ€œNo one in North America eats cauliflower for breakfast. But this is what we have for breakfast.โ€ And this is the essence of Madame Levant: Hunaidi has carved out a space that is an ode to the region that will always, and forever, be home.

Lentil Kebab Salad with Turmeric Tahini Sauce

(Photo: Roberto Caruso)

This craveable turmeric-tahini sauce means youโ€™ll want to make these plant-based kebabs (yes!) again and again. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is prized for its anti-inflammatory effects. Get the recipe here.

Halloumi Salad with Nutty Tomato Vinaigrette

(Photo: Roberto Caruso)

Not familiar with halloumi? This semi-firm cheeseโ€™s texture makes it perfect for grilling โ€“ and youโ€™ll love the salty tang. Plus, our vinaigrette gets a boost from magnesium- and iron-rich pine nuts. Get the recipe here.

Sumac Chicken Salad with Zesty Yogurt Sauce

(Photo: Roberto Caruso)

Bright and tangy sumac stars in this crowd-pleaser. The vibrant spice is high in antioxidants and helps to neutralize free radicals. Youโ€™ll likely have extra sauce left over โ€“ use it as a dip for veggies. Get the recipe here.