janet @ the taste space

Morrocan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

In Salads on July 9, 2013 at 5:49 AM

Morrocan Carrot and Chickpea SaladLiving in Toronto, my kitchen accumulated a lot of stuff. Gadgets, ingredients, Mason jars, you name it. All for the best, though, allowing me to explore new favourites.

Thus, when we moved to Houston, we pared down our kitchen, minimalist-style. Minimalist, in comparison, because I am not willing to compromise in the kitchen, either. Do I need 5 different whole grains all the time? No. I will repopulate my kitchen with my favourites. Quinoa, brown rice and oats. Beans? Right now, I have been mainly munching on canned beans (we don’t have containers/bags to freeze beans yet and time has been a bit sparse). OK, I will still have many beans (don’t forget, I can order from Rancho Gordo directly!) but my collection will not as big as my last.

I still don’t feel deprived in the slightest. There are constant permutations and combinations to try out. The recipe may look the same, but a change in spice can make all the difference.

While still in Toronto, I was had a cook-date with a friend after work. I suggested making Heidi’s Moroccan chickpea and carrot salad. No cooking required, it was filled with my typical pantry staples. However, not everyone always has a lemon on hand, grows mint in their backyard (I don’t have that anymore), stocks prunes (um, yeah, not me either) or has a spice grinder. So we made do with what she had. Lime instead of lemon, cilantro instead of mint, dates instead of prunes and we kept the cumin seeds intact.

It may just be a label, but I wondered whether these changes would make this salad less Moroccan. Dates, cumin and carrots are very common in Moroccan cooking. However, I typically ascribe cilantro to Indian and southeast Asian cuisine. Turns out, cilantro is pervasive in Moroccan cuisine as well. Moroccan, with a twist, perhaps. With the mix of sweet dates, earthy cumin, tart lime, bright cilantro and crunchy carrots, it was very good.

It should not come as a shock, since it is very similar to my beloved Curried Chickpea Salad with Carrots and Currants with a smattering from my Moroccan Carrot Salad. Next time, though, I think I will try the original recipe. A tasty variation on a similar theme.

Morrocan Carrot and Chickpea Salad
This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s No Croutons Required for legume salads and to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes.

Morrocan Carrot and Chickpea Salad
Adapted from Roots via 101 Cookbooks, The Muffin Myth and Joanne Eats Well with Others

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 -3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp honey/agave/your choice of sweetener
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste

3-4 large carrots (8-10 oz) carrots, peeled and shredded
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15- ounce can, drained and rinsed)
2/3 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1. In a small frypan, toast cumin seeds over medium heat. Remove from pan when fragrant and toasted, approximately 3-5 minutes. Grind cumin seeds, if desired. In a small cup, combine with the olive oil, lime juice, sweetener, cinnamon (if using) and salt. Stir to dissolve.

2. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine carrots, chickpeas, dates and cilantro. Drizzle with dressing. Adjust seasonings, to taste. Allow to marinate a few hours in the fridge, if possible.

Serves 4.

  1. I limit my pantry due to space and because I just don’t use other grains often enough to justify them but I like to pick up something different and incorporate them into my cooking for a while til finished – quinoa, oats and rice are also among my favourite grains. The salad sounds delicious – full of stuff I usually have about – though my mint is hibernating – it never dies (touchwood) but sometimes looks rather sorry for itself. Hope you are settling into houston ok

  2. I had to ban myself drom buying more flours, cereals, grains, and nut butters until I use what I have. It’s a bit out of control. 🙂

    Love this recipe! I made a version of it long ago… time to bring that one back. Glad you guys are getting settled!

  3. Hey Janet,

    Do you freeze beans????

    Tell me more.


    • Yes, I always freeze my beans! I cook up a big batch from dried… then I measure out 1.5-2 cups worth, cover in bean cooking liquid, then freeze with a label. It is like a can of beans from the freezer!

  4. Oh hey, you were from TO? Cool! I’m moving out there in less than a month, which is awesome and terrifying, ha ha. 🙂 Also this variation sounds great – especially with the dates, I’ve never done that with chickpeas before.

  5. Yes, you can order directly from Rancho Gordo. Or, since you’re in Houston, you can walk into Revival Market and pick up a few packages. http://revivalmarket.com/

  6. I just recently make a carrot & chickpea salad that looked very much like yours! The Moroccan twist sounds really delicious–cilantro and cumin, together at last. 🙂

  7. I have had more tagines with prunes than dates, growing up, but that could also be because non-desiccated packet dates were scarce back then. This sounds lovely. Yay ‘Murcah!

  8. I actually have this Heidi Salad on the menu plan for later this week! I’m fortunate enough to have mint in the garden and I do keep prunes on hand 🙂
    I know the feeling on cutting back on kitchen items- food and gadgets. I felt I was pretty restrained with the amount I took to uni, but then again, it seemed when bringing everything back that 1/2 the car load was kitchen stuff!

    • Hey Emma, Yum! Let me know how you like it with the real ingredients, HA! I paired down a lot… I decided the pantry could dwindle more than my kitchen gear, though! A lot more hand washing, I think, since we have limited glasses.. hence, why I am drinking from Mason jars. 🙂

  9. I love your modifications to this! One of the most fun things about cooking is just going with what you have on hand and seeing how it turns out.

  10. We ate a similar salad in the north of Cyprus, which is the Turkish side, i really enjoyed it. I came back with lots of ideas.

    • Ooh, sounds like a delicious trip, Jac. I really enjoyed my trip to Turkey. I haven’t done much Middle Eastern cooking lately, now that I think about it. This Moroccan dish is as close as I have been. 😉

  11. Whatever country you allocate this to, I think it sounds delicious 🙂

  12. I’m always looking for tasty chickpea salad combos, and this looks perfect!

  13. This sounds great! I love how you easily adapted the recipe =) And I’m always up for a chickpea recipe – especially a no-cooking required one.
    I know what you mean about down-sizing. We made the move from Kitchener, ON to Northern California and I had to get rid of lots of my gadgets. I was a little sad at first, but it in the end I felt much lighter =)

    • Awesome. Glad to hear it gets better. Right now it feels like I have to do a lot of hand washing… my mixing bowls are doubling up as serving bowls, my Mason jars are for storage and drinking, etc. But you gotta do what you gotta do. 🙂 How are you enjoying California? Was it a big difference from Kitchener? I keep finding new Americanisms every day!

  14. I have also been downsizing this summer, due not to moving but to pantry moths. :/ Only cooking the grains I can keep in my freezer has felt limiting, but at times it also spurs creativity. I have to imagine that necessity is what makes for innovative recipes probably about 90% of the time.

    Cilantro and mint seem so different, and yet we often find them together or substituted one for the other! I wonder if there’s a chemical explanation for this?

  15. I had to learn to downsize my pantry when I moved to Toronto, it’s been a difficult task and I’ll admit, not one I’m particularly good at- I stash food under my bed and in my closet! Oh well, at least I can make all the delicious food I want 😉

    This salad sounds wonderful- perfect for summer (or Texas!) when you don’t even want to think about turning on cooking equipment.

    • Hey Gabby,

      I remember when I lived in my first apartment in Toronto and I had food in my bedroom closet, too!

      Thank goodness we have a kitchen pantry, so everything fits just fine. We didn’t even bring a bed frame, so even if we wanted to, we can’t hide things under it.. haha.

  16. i made this and it was awesome!! janet i follow your blog with great interest but unfortunately don’t end up re-creating your beautiful recipes because most the ingredients you suggest are missing in my kitchen and being a student (i’m an international student from india in nyc) i can’t afford to buy too many ingredients i wouldn’t use regularly. but i made this salad for a picnic the other day and my friend and i loved it! i wish i could post the picture here! thank you! i’ll make it all my life!–mary ann

    • Hi Mary Ann, Thank you for your comment!! So happy it turned out! My own kitchen has paired down so hopefully my recipes will become a bit more accessible. When I was a student, I never imagined using fresh herbs and produce, so you are already one step ahead of me. 🙂

  17. Awesome this one looks tasty and easy.

  18. I love this and think the changes you made are perfect–you can never go wrong in my book with lime, cumin and cilantro. 😉 Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays.

  19. I just made this tonight. I was skeptical at first, but that first bite got rid of any doubts. SO YUMMY!! Afterward I realized I used coriander seeds instead of cumin. It still tasted awesome. I had extra ingredients left over so I made another batch, this time with cumin & it was even tastier! I ended up mixing the 2 batches together for me to have for dinner tomorrow. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe! 🙂

  20. My 8 year old son loves everything about chickpeas. This recipe was kid-tested, kid-approved! Thanks so much!

  21. I’m more likely to change a recipe than to follow it from beginning to end. These sound like very tasty adaptations to me 🙂

  22. Nice recipe. 🙂 How long can this be kept refrigerated?

  23. […] quickly gravitated to make old favourites: Tamarind Lentils, Pad Thai, and Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad. Then, finally itching to make something new, I decided to make a spin on two of my other favourite […]

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