The Moroccan salsa is perfectly balanced with warm spices, acid from the lemon juice, brine-y olives, and sweet raisins. If you don't like the taste of olives, you could reduce the amount by half, although I didn't find the flavor overpowering at all. The salsa pairs perfectly with slightly chewy quinoa, which also adds a boost of protein (especially important if you're serving this vegan-style, sans cheese, as the recipe was originally written). However, I think barley or whole wheat Israeli couscous would also be great in this dish if that's what you have on hand. Overall, this was a very tasty, light dinner with lots of great flavor! I think this would also make a great lunch since it's good at room temperature - I'd pack the salsa and quinoa separately and combine them at lunchtime.
Moroccan Quinoa Salad (adapted from Sketch-Free Vegan Eating, original recipe here)
- 3 bell peppers
- 5 T olive oil, plus extra
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 3 T Meyer lemon juice
- 2 T chopped fresh mint
- Grated zest of 1 small orange, about 2 tsp
- 1 T unsalted butter
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- Chopped almonds
- Crumbled feta cheese
- 1. Prepare the salsa. Heat your oven as hot as it will go, and line a baking sheet with foil. Rub the peppers all over with a thin layer of oil, and then place on the baking sheet. Roast the peppers until charred in spots and soft all-over, turning occasionally. Remove the peppers to a bowl and cover with foil. Allow the peppers to steam for at least 30 minutes.
- 2. Slip the skins off the peppers and remove the seeds. Chop into small dice and place in a heat-safe medium bowl. Set aside.
- 3. Heat the 5 T oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When it is shimmering but not smoking, add the cumin and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the hot oil over the peppers and stir to combine.
- 4. Add the remaining salsa ingredients and stir to combine. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper - you may not need any salt, depending on how salty your olives are. Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature until ready to use.
- 5. Prepare the quinoa. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and toast, stirring often, until the quinoa begins to pop (you'll hear it) and get slightly browned. Then add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Boil 10-15 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed. Drain off any excess water. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature.
- 6. Serve the quinoa topped with a generous scoop of the Moroccan salsa, and a sprinkling of almonds and feta cheese.
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Cooling off on the back steps after an afternoon of cooking and baking...