This week, as promised, has been a huge improvement! I’m finally getting over my passive attitude toward fitness. That means, in addition to more (and better) workouts, I am back on an active search for new vegetable-heavy recipes to try. Nutritionists suggest the majority of your calories should come from vegetables, but since vegetables have the least amount of calories of any food group, it is a bit of an algebraic conundrum. I mean, an ounce of spinach is 10 calories. That is hard to work with when I also should really not eat fewer than 1400-1500 calories per day after workout. So it’s a challenge! Find ways to incorporate more vegetables!
One way I incorporated more vegetables this week was with a super delicious Moroccan salad featuring harissa, a semi-spicy red pepper paste…it almost has the consistency of a red pepper pesto. I had it on a salad at a Moroccan restaurant a few months ago and have been meaning to buy a jar ever since. It’s available at higher end grocers like Fresh Market and I’ve also seen it at Crate & Barrel/Williams Sonoma sort of places. Maybe you have a more diversified local supermarket than me and it’s available there for you as well!
I have always liked Moroccan Carrot Salad, which usually features orange and raisins, and I thought it would be interesting to combine the two Moroccan food-things with which I am most familiar. I looked up some recipes for the carrot salad online and found a few that were all variations on a theme, and I went from there.
The problem was that I wanted something a little more substantive than just carrots and raisins. I tried to think of other things I could add. I use zucchini all the time and wanted something new. Broccoli and kale both have overpowering flavors, so I ruled those out. Spinach is the wrong consistency. I finally settled on Brussels sprouts, which I don’t eat very frequently even though I enjoy them. After that I tweaked and combined several carrot salad recipes to incorporate my harissa but not make it too heavy in oil or sugar.
The final result was Moroccan Brussels Sprout-Carrot Salad.
(Full confession, I have absolutely no idea if Brussels sprouts exist in Moroccan cuisine, but let’s go with it.)
Moroccan Brussels Sprout-Carrot Salad with Harissa-Citrus Dressing
Time: 40 minutes. Serves: 8-ish.
- 1.5 Lbs. Baby Carrots
- 1 Bag or 10 Ounces Brussels Sprouts
- 2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 Cups Golden Raisins
- 1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley (or a handful of fresh)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Salt & Pepper
- Avocado (Optional)
- Dressing (below)
- 1/3 Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 3 Tablespoons Harissa
- 2 teaspoons Honey (or Agave Nectar)
- 1 Tablespoon EVOO
- Preheat the oven to 375˚.
- Trim Brussels Sprouts, removing the stalk and any top layer leaves that don’t look good.
- In a food processor, shred the sprouts until they are finely diced.
- Add the sprouts to a baking dish. Any size is fine, I used a 6 x 10 glass dish. Drizzle the 2 teaspoons of EVOO over the sprouts and stir until coated.
- Roast in the oven until toasted, approximately 20 minutes. When they are done, set aside to cool.
- In the meantime, chop carrots in half.
- Add them to food processor and pulse until coarsely diced. (I didn’t bother to clean out the sprout remnants first because they’re all going to the same place in the end…)
- In a bowl, add all ingredients for the dressing. Whisk until blended evenly. Set aside.
- Toast almond slices (either in the oven or a toaster oven).
- Add carrots, raisins, almonds and spices to a large bowl.
- When the Brussels sprouts are cool enough (how warm or cool you want them is up to you), add them to the salad bowl.
- Mix together with rubber spatula or salad tongs.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss until coated.
Optional: When I ate this for leftovers at lunch on the second day, I added half a small avocado and made it my whole meal. It was super delicious so I recommend topping your salad with cubes of avocado.
This salad is so good. It is relatively easy to make and surprisingly filling. Also (as you know if you read this blog) I have trouble diversifying my diet sometimes, and this is nice because it is pretty different from things I normally make. I served it with sautéed shrimp and quinoa, but it was totally fine as a whole meal with the avocado at lunch time. Even if you aren’t wild about Brussels sprouts, they were hardly noticeable because they are so finely chopped.
I definitely recommend trying this Moroccan Brussels Sprout-Carrot Salad. I’m sure there are plenty of variations you could try as well. So, I’m still on the lookout for more interesting ways to fulfill my veggie quotients, but this is definitely a good recipe to keep in my “interesting vegetable” arsenal.