Salads make for many kinds reactions – I am referring to those that respond with grunts, faces and cries, in particular. I try to incorporate a salad for at least one meal a day and trying to spruce it up each time can get rather trying. And for those homes that have a limited palate for various veggies (like mine), this can be even more frustrating.
The biggest challenge for me is to create salads from a basic list of ingredients, with a different taste each time. Tough? Very!
As a formula, most cooks/chefs/wannabe chefs (me) try to stick to a salt+sweet+spice+sour+crunch one. This is not something I achieve each time, but I try my best.
Here, is a salad I have served a few times already, each time with a variation. This isn’t exactly a Moroccan salad – I just label it so due to a few of the ingredients – mint, pistachios, sumac – but this does not provide any authenticity – this is completely my own version!
I chose this salad today, as I received some more parcels of beautiful fresh organic carrots from a farm and they were begging to be grated!
The unhealthy part of this salad is the fried onions! This is simply to satisfy my craving for something fried! They provide the perfect crunch and brainwash you into eating more of the salad.
The sour hints come from a pinch of za’atar – a beautiful medley of thyme, sumac, sesame, salt and other herbs from the Middle East. The sweetness is in the cranberries if you opt for them (I didn’t today). And some of the spice can come from a pungent cheese like goat cheese (I didn’t choose this either today).
Other options that you could add are boiled chickpeas, pine nuts, grilled peppers, haloumi cheese… basically anything you really like.
Make the dressing ahead of time to allow the garlic to infuse into the oil. Combine in the fried onions just before serving to ensure the crunch.
Serves Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 45 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins
- 2 carrots, grated
- Handful of pistachios, chopped or flaked
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves
- ¼ cup sliced olives
- ¼ cup cranberries (optional)
- Few spoons of goat cheese (optional)
- ½ onion, sliced
- ½ cup oil to fry
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp dried mint leaves
- 1 tsp za’atar powder
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions until browned and crisp. Remove from the oil and place on a dry paper towel to blot the excess oil. Allow to cool.
- Combine the carrots, mint leaves, olives, cranberries and cheese.
- Combine the dressing ingredients together and mix well.
- Pour the dressing and place the onions on top just before serving.