With spice, sweetness, tang, and nuttiness this easy Moroccan Chickpea Salad with Carrots recipe is filling enough to be a main salad, yet light enough to also be a side.
There are a few things a salad needs to be a real standout. The kind you can go to after a long and draining day from work, knowing it will both nourish you and fill in all your cracks from long meetings, misbehaving dogs, or rambunctious children. A salad -- like this Moroccan Chickpea Salad with Carrots -- that will stand on its own but that could also complement other dishes on the menu.
Such salads have elements of crunch, a bean or protein that contributes bulk and satisfaction, possibly a dried or fresh fruit to add a natural sweetness, and a tang -- usually in the dressing -- that brings it all together. There’s a balance of flavors as well as textures and consistencies that satisfies on both the taste and the satiation levels.
This simple chickpea salad delivers on all those levels and more. The almonds contribute a nuttiness and crunch. The roasted chickpeas and carrots provide fiber and protein to fuel you. Dried apricots add a mellow sweetness to the salad that compliments both the almonds and roasted veggies. There's a bonus of fresh mint to provide an herbal finish. Oh, and did I mentioned the quick and easy preserved lemon dressing? Pulls it all beautifully together. Surely, it’s a standout in our home and I hope it is in your home soon, too.
The Nitty Gritty on this Simple Chickpea Moroccan Salad
What makes a salad Moroccan?
The flavors and ingredients! Preserved lemons, dried apricots, carrots, and cinnamon are traditional Moroccan ingredients. So, toss them all with some greens and we have a delicious Moroccan green salad. 🙂
What are preserved lemons?
Preserved lemons are a staple of Moroccan cuisine and we use them in this recipe for our Moroccan salad dressing. Traditionally, they are cured in salt for weeks, leaving them delicious and silky. To save time you can buy them online, at World Market, or other fine food retailers, but if you want less planning and a fresher taste, just follow the directions listed make some quick preserved lemons on your own. They're super simple and take only 25 minutes!
How do you make preserved lemons?
Toss some lemon peel and chopped lemon with salt and a bit of sugar, let it cure for 20 minutes and Boom! You're set!
I adapted my quick preserved lemons recipe from the New York Times recipe, removing the pith from the equation. Even though this recipe only uses one lemon, you should have leftovers once you've made the dressing. Those leftovers should last covered in a fridge for 2-3 weeks, but they don't usually last that long in my house.
What are some other uses for preserved lemons?
Preserved lemons are my new go-to condiment of choice! They are pretty delicious almost anywhere regular lemons are. For instance, I like adding them to my sweet potato hummus recipe, on top of this Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup, and almost every other place I'd usually use lemons. It's fun to have a new condiment to experiment with!
- This recipe calls for cutting the carrots into sticks. You can do this by cutting the carrots into 4-6 strips lengthwise (depending on how wide your carrots are) and then cutting them crosswise in 3-inch intervals.
- To have everything finish around the same time, start the lemons preserving while you prep the chickpeas and carrots. Then whip up the vinaigrette while the carrots and beans are out of the oven and cooling.
- A quick kitchen pro-tip: cut the dried apricots into pieces with kitchen shears. Cutting them with knives can be a pain, as the apricots can seriously stick to the knife.
- Let the chickpea and carrot mixture cool on a cooling rack for a few minutes so your salad doesn’t wilt. The flavor of the veggies and beans is still great lukewarm. If you really want to eat them hot, feel free to toss them with the salad earlier if you don’t mind the wilting.
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Looove chickpeas (or garbanzo beans!) like I do?
Then you also might like to try my Garbanzo Bean Fritters. They are my new go-to appetizer when I'm entertaining and are also great on top of salads for every night dinners.