Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food, meaning most Moroccan dishes call for a whole cupboard full of spices, which is why the list is long for the salad dressing. Count ’em. There’s 7 different spices. Though, just imagine, the celebrated Moroccan spice mixture ras el hanout is made up of 27 spices! So comparatively, this Moroccan-Style Quinoa Salad recipe would be be considered rather uncomplicated. And I think it is. Cumin, turmeric, cardamom, coriander, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon are spices I have on hand, even if some are favored more than others. Actually turmeric, is the only one that I use fresh over dried. And because I am on a turmeric kick, I always have some of these finger-staining roots on hand.
Moroccan-Style Quinoa Salad ala Elle
Moroccan dishes also often call for couscous, almonds and dried fruit. I’m all for almonds, but thought how about a Moroccan-style quinoa salad? And because I can’t leave good enough alone, dried raisins or apricots were out of the question. I despise raisins and I’m luke warm about dried apricots. Dried cranberries, on the hand, love them, but settled on fresh oranges and pomegranates. Another nice variation on this salad would have been to reduce the amount of quinoa and add chickpeas. Do you see why I love salads. Endless possibilities.
I made this Moroccan-style quinoa salad to feed a crowd, so feel free to half the recipe to serve 2-4. Actually a crowd, in this case means, enough for leftovers. Lots of leftovers so that my favorite Schwabe can bring me something yummy to eat while I spend the next days in hospital. Yes, hospital… and for 7 days. I imagine, boredom, bad food and more boredom. And hopefully a little Netflix in between. But yes, I have a book packed. ;-) And hopefully my favorite Scwabe manages to pull off some tasty meals for me as well as some green smoothies and healthy homemade juices — let’s see what he can muster up!
For the salad:
2 cups quinoa, rinsed (400 g)
1 cup whole raw almonds, toasted then coarsely chopped (100 g)
2 oranges, sectioned (+ some juice reserved, *see note)
1 large carrot, grated (I used a heirloom purple one)
3 tablespoons capers (in brine), drained
4 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
seeds from 1 pomegranate
For the dressing:
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (or 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground clove (generous pinch)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Rinse the uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Place in a medium saucepan and cook according to package instructions, for about 15 minutes. Once most of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy, remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and let stand for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a large salad bowl to further cool.
2. While the quinoa cooks, roast the whole almonds on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 350°F / 175°C for 10 minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally or gently give the baking sheet a shake to redistribute. Remove from the oven and roughly chop. Roasting brings out the flavor of nuts, so this is a worthwhile step!
3. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until well combined.
4. Add the orange segments, reserved juice there from, carrot, capers, fresh herbs, and pomegranate seeds to the bowl with the quinoa. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired.
5. Serve and enjoy!
NOTE: I section the oranges over a bowl to catch the extra juices and add it along with the sectioned oranges to the salad. I also squeeze a little juice out of the remaining flesh of the orange (waste not, want not — my mother’s words!). In all, I add 1-2 tablespoons orange juice to the salad.