Moroccan Quinoa Salad, a favorite

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I cannot count the number of times I’ve made this main-dish salad the day before a race, gobbled it up as my night-before meal, and then happily gone back for the leftovers in the hours after the effort was over. Though I’ve eaten so many kale and quinoa salad combinations over the years–and perchance you have too–this one is my personal favorite this past year. Originally adapted from Eat Grain and similar in many ways to this dish, I’ve changed up most of the ingredients and quantities, as I tend to, and now it is simply the kind of food I like to eat all the time, but especially when the weather begins to turn back to cool and the days shorten. Oof, I think we’re getting there.

Moroccan Quinoa Salad, serves 3-4 as a main dish
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and soaked
2 3/4 cups cooked garbanzo beans (from 1 cup dry beans, or use 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
1 large bunch kale, diced
1/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried apricots, diced
1/4 cup raisins
2-3 Tbs. capers, rinsed and drained
a couple small handfuls of mint leaves, minced
salt as needed

Dressing:
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1-2 tsp. maple syrup or honey
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/16 tsp. clove
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
splash of water, as needed to thin

  • A few hours before making, soak the quinoa in water and add a splash of apple cider vinegar. This will reduce some of the phytates, making its minerals more available and digestible. Then, drain and rinse the quinoa and add it to a small pot with 1 1/2 cups water, a pinch of salt, a splash of the dressing, and the raisins and chopped apricots. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn down to low. Cook for 20 minutes and then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • While the quinoa is cooking whisk together the dressing ingredients and chop and toast the nuts.
  • In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add a splash of the dressing and warm until it starts to develop an aroma. Then add the kale, a pinch of salt, and a little water. Stir and cover to steam sauté for just a couple minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • To a large salad bowl, combine the cooked and cooled quinoa, garbanzos, chopped hazelnuts, dried fruit, and capers. Then, to the top add the cooked kale and dressing. Stir it all together gently and top with the mint leaves to finish.

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