As I mentioned in my previous post with the Pomegranate Walnut and Apple Salad, I have been so fascinated with Moroccan foods, particularly with these salad plates. The display of colorful, healthy salads, for me, would be a meal in itself.
The salad to the right of the platter is my take on the Cinnamon Dusted Butternut Squash with Candied Pecans and Cranberry my daughter and I spotted at Whole Foods. For that salad I diced the butternut squash, sautéing it in olive oil until crispy on the outside and soft inside, adding in thinly sliced green onions, toasted pecans (not candied for my version) and dried cranberries. The seasonings were lightly flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, salt and fresh chopped parsley. So very good!
I found my inspiration for the Moroccan Carrot and Garbanzo Bean Salad from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks. I always love how she takes what she finds in the fresh markets and creates intriguing dishes always so beautifully photographed.
I seasoned the salad with my version of a Moroccan blend, not in any way authentic as I wasn’t sure my guests would want their long awaited holiday meal to be too out there and unusual for their taste. It was just enough to enhance this to being full of spice flavor without being extreme in any way. In fact, I love this blend so much, I mixed up a jar full to surprise season other dishes.
Moroccan Carrot and Garbanzo Bean Salad
1 lb carrots, organic preferred, peeled and coarsely grated
1 15 oz can Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup mixed fresh mint and parsley, chopped
For the dressing:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, with grated zest (choose organic when zesting)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup – add more to taste
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients. In a small jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Shake well. Mix into the salad, taste to sweeten and season as necessary. Flavor improves when allowed to sit at room temperature or refrigerate if making the day ahead. Serves 6 as a side salad.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.