Recipe: Moroccan carrot and chickpea kale salad

Nice, colorful ingredients. I was going to use the onion as well, but found it had gone bad when I cut it open.
Nice, colorful ingredients. I was going to use the onion as well, but found it had gone bad when I cut it open.

I came across this in the archives of Little Spice Jar, which I stumbled up on in the quest for a healthy carrot cake muffin. Though the muffins I made didn’t turn out so well, I found a lot of recipes on the blog that sounded good. One of those was this Moroccan-spiced carrot and chickpea salad, which fit the bill perfectly for a balanced and filling one-tupperware meal that required no further prep after a long day at work and would be easy to travel with (and not annoy my fellow travelers by being overly loud-to-eat or smelly).

Tasty vegetables in bite-sized pieces.
Tasty vegetables in bite-sized pieces.

A few tweaks from the original recipe: I substituted a larger volume of kale for the parsley, since I wanted this to keep as well as possible, and raw kale actually gets better when it’s left to sit for a while in acid and/or olive oil. I wouldn’t have used the rest of a bunch of scallions in the next three days before I leave for the U.S., so I left out the scallions (I recommend you keep them in). Fresh dates were available at the market square, and I’d never tried them before, so I used them instead of the more commonly-found dried dates. Since they’re less sweet and dense than dried dates, I increased the volume to 1/2 cup. (In the future, I might actually go with dried dates for this recipe, as I feel like it would benefit from their more concentrated sweetness.) I added bell peppers because pretty much everything is better with bell peppers; you could just as easily leave them out. Finally, since I increased the volume quite a bit with all these substitutions, I doubled the amount of lemon juice and spices in the dressing.

Chickpeas added. I was surprised what a large quantity this makes!
Chickpeas added. I was surprised what a large quantity this makes!

The verdict: it’s so pretty!

Pretty, tasty, and healthy!
Pretty, tasty, and healthy!

Oh yeah, and it’s pretty darn tasty as well. The dressing is a good mixture of spicy, sweet, and acidic (I might even increase the spices next time, but that could just be me), there’s a nice variation in textures from the crunchy carrots and peppers to the soft chickpeas and dates and the fibrous kale. I wish I’d gotten some scallions; a bit of onion-y flavor would have balanced the sweetness of the dates and honey quite nicely. As is, it’s healthy, delicious, and hopefully won’t make me any enemies when I take it as a travel meal on Friday. Highly recommended.

Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Kale Salad

Adapted from Little Spice Jar.

Yield: ~ 5 large or 7-8 smaller servings.

3 scallions, thinly sliced (I didn’t have these)
2-3 bell peppers, roughly chopped
4-5 medium carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 15-oz/400g cans cooked chickpeas, drained and well-rinsed
1/2 c dates, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/3 c walnuts, chopped
2 c (packed) chopped kale, large stems removed

2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice from 1.5 lemons
1 tsp ground cumin
1  Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.

For the dressing: combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake until completely blended, or combine in a small bowl/mug and whisk. Pour over salad ingredients and stir until everything is coated.

Dressing and salad can be prepared and stored separately in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Kale is a hearty green, so I think the dressed salad should keep at least 4 days in the fridge, with the kale darkening and gaining a smoother flavor each day.

Serving suggestion: cold or at room temperature (or even slightly warm, if it’s a cold day), optionally topped with plain yogurt or haydari. Would be awesome accompanied by dolmas or sfeehas; I treated myself to a tin of Turkish stuffed green peppers from the corner shop as a mini-accompaniment. If you have extra dates and walnuts, spiced-nut-stuffed dates drizzled in honey (inspired by Inn at the Crossroads) are a nice dessert.

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