A little while ago, Paul went on a holiday to Morocco. He went by himself, on a solo holiday, a 'Pauliday' if you will. We're very different vacationers, he and I. I'm more of a lie-on-beach-with-book kind of a vacationer, and he's a very activity driven vacationer. When you've lived with someone for nearly 10 years you occasionally want a little time to yourself. And so, because it was a good week for him to go away, and a good week for me to stay home, go to school, load the dishwasher haphazardly, and watch as many episodes of Grey's Anatomy as possible, off he went and home I stayed.
He arrived back home pumped right up about Moroccan food, and brought with him a suitcase full of all kinds of exotic spice blends, oils (olive and argan), dates, nuts, and several miniature tagines. And a bongo drum, which, I don't really know what to say about.
His first weekend back, which seemed like it was the first weekend our schedules had lined up in forever, we made a date to do a much overdue inventory of our spice collection (it's pretty bonkers), and, I made us this salad.
This recipe first caught my attention when Heidi posted it over on 101 Cookbooks, and then again when the cookbook it comes from, Roots, did quite well in Food 52's cookbook battle. The original recipe is for a carrot and chickpea salad, dotted with prunes, lots of mint, toasted almonds, and a fragrant cumin-honey-lemon dressing. Yum. I made it first using dates and almonds and oils direct from Morocco, which was amazing. And I made it first with the carrots sliced into pretty little paper thin coins (using my mandoline), which were nice to look at, but I thought they didn't distribute all that well in the salad.
Since then, I've made riffs on that salad several times. I've moved to shredding the carrots, which is not only easier, but takes care of the distribution issue. I've added chewy and nutty farro, which bulks up the situation into a grain salad and makes it a complete meal. I've used prunes, which I think are better than the dates (Paul, however, strongly disagrees with me on this).
This salad looks like a lot of work, but honestly it comes together really fast. Making the dressing is probably the toughest part (not tough at all) and once that's done it's just tossing everything together in a bowl.
Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, as well as vitamin C, and dietary fiber.
Chickpeas are a super food! They’re a very good source of folate, protein, dietary fiber, phosphorus and iron. The fiber in chickpeas is mostly insoluble, which is really good for our digestive tracts.
Farro is a heirloom wheat, originating from Egypt, which is also known as emmer wheat. It is a rich source of fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E and carbohydrates. Recent studies suggest farro is also higher in antioxidants than common wheat varieties.
One year ago: Chocolate Raspberry Torte and Date Almond Smoothie
Two years ago: A little link list
Moroccan carrot and chickpea salad
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey or other liquid sweetener for vegan
- ½ teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 300 g carrots peeled then grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup cooked farro or other intact grain
- ⅔ cup about 100g prunes or dates, cut into chickpea sized chunks
- ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves torn
- ½ cup chopped toasted almonds
- Heat cumin seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they become fragrant. Remove from heat and use a motar and pestle or spice grinder to grind the cumin seeds into a powder.
- Place the powder in a small jar, and whisk together with honey, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and cayenne.
- In a large bowl toss together everything but the almonds with the dressing.
- Give it a good mix so the dressing gets a chance to run over everything.
- Scatter almonds over the top.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered, until you're ready to serve.
Adapted from Roots via 101 Cookbooks
janet @ the taste space
This salad looks great. I found when I went to Morocco, the food was not as great as I was anticipating. I could make more flavourful foods at home. This looks perfect for spring carrots. 🙂
Really Janet? My husband has been talking non-stop about the flavours of the food he had in Morocco. But who knows, it could have been the specific area or restaurants he was at. This recipe would indeed be great with sweet spring carrots 🙂
janet @ the taste space
Maybe we were eating at different spots. I hit up more of the peasant places. 😉 I found it difficult to find veggie-centric meals and if I did, the 7-vegetable couscous tagines were not very good.
However, the flavour profiles are great and easy to bring back home. I should make harira. I got the recipe from my riad and it is surprisngly quite simple (they had the best version of them all). Bastilla is incredible, although a pain to make, and I also really liked the berbere omelette... and a calzone pizza thing on our way to the desert (it was specific to that city but the name escapes me).
Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com
This sounds incredible! As the weather is getting warmer I'm starting to compile salad recipes for the hot summer months--this one's in the pile for sure!
You know, for some reason I thought of this recipe as more wintery (probably because it's still so freaking cold where I live!) but now that you say that I can see it's merit as a summer salad too 😉
Loving the Pauliday and this aromatic, exotic recipe. We do a less Moroccan salad with a similar dressing - no argan, dried fruit or nuts though. I like your tweak of the original. Definitely a meal salad, ans a delicious-sounding one at that.
Thanks Kellie! I always love adding grains to salads like this. Gives them so much chew power, and makes for such a satisfying meal.
There is something about travel that makes you notice with interest how food is prepared. On a recent trip to Portugal I found myself making mental notes on how to incorporate new ideas into my cooking. I had the most delicious salted cod dish in Sagres I ever could have imagined, which involved cream, onion and mashed potatoes. I can hear the groans, but true.
A Pauliday? For you or for him?
Oh My Veggies (@ohmyveggies)
I like both kinds of vacation, but my husband only likes the activity type of vacation. I have been begging him to do a relaxing vacation for years now, but no dice. Maybe I will have to go it alone. 🙂 I had no idea you could eat argan oil--I put it on my face! Now I'm curious to cook with it...
Totally, solo holidays are awesome! Go on a relaxing vacation on your own or send him off on an activity based vacation so you can enjoy some alone time.
Yeah, you can cook with argan oil. I had it for the first time last year at a blog conference and there was a woman who had started an organic argan oil company who had a chef there making all kinds of great things with it. A little goes a looooong way though, so tread carefully with it.