Is’nt it wonderful when you can take one humble ingredient and turn it into a star. Cooking is so easy when you get down to doing it. Most often its the mental barrier which makes it seem so arduous, but it is not. All you need is the will to do and it all just magically happens. Very often I myself with my head stuck in the refrigerator, thinking hmmm now what can I make with whats in here. There are times when I follow a recipe but most times, its just trying to make ingredients at hand work together. The key is to have a stash of good ingredients. And some basics sorted in the pantry. Its like having good clothes in your cupboard – Chances of turning out looking good are higher. And then all you got to do is try and build around that one ingredient you wish to have.
Here is yet another recipe that started with, “I have to make salad for lunch and all I have is carrots and peppers !” They wouldn’t be so great together so I decided to go just with the carrots. And how gorgeous a salad did I end up with. You can play with this salad as much as you wish, give and take as per your liking . Here are a few things you should though ….
- You can substitute the Maggie cube for Ras Al Hanout, or Harissa or Bahrat, basically any middle eastern spice you lean towards.
- Slices of Orange and blanched Broccoli make a lovely addition to this salad.
- Always serve this salad chilled.
- Can mix some flat leaf parsley along with mint. ( I didn’t have any so I just used mint )
- This Salad is Vegan and Gluten Free.
- Make ahead and keep, when entertaining, just dress before serving.
For the Salad
- 5 medium sized Carrots
- Mint Leaves to garnish
- Handfull of toasted Almonds
- ¼ cup Dried Black Cherries
- 2 tablespoons Dry Zatar with Sesame Seeds ( from an authentic Middle Eastern store )
For The Quinoa
- ½ cup Red Organic Quinoa
- 1 Maggie Cube
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Sweet Paprika
For The Dressing
- 2 tbsp Tahina
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 juicy Orange – squeezed
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
Begin with making the carrot ribbons. You can do this with your regular peeler. Just slide it along the length of the carrots as you would to remove the skin. Set aside
For the Quinoa, rinse and soak in water for 10 mins. Add 1 cup of water, Maggie cube, and rest of the spices. Boil till water dries up and the quinoa has cooked and puffed up. Set Aside.
To make the dressing simply add all the ingredients in a small blender and give it a good whiz.
Serve the salad chilled, start with placing the carrot ribbons in a plate. Top with the quinoa , cherries, nuts and mint. Sprinkle the Zatar all over and drizzle with dressing and serve.