Indulge in the vibrant and wholesome flavours of Morocco with this sumptuous Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad. This dish is a harmonious blend of nutritious ingredients and exotic spices, bringing a slice of North African flavours to your table.
This salad is a medley of julienned carrots and sweet potatoes, along with small cauliflower florets, all roasted to perfection. The heart of the salad is quinoa, cooked until fluffy and then infused with the aromatic duo of cumin and cinnamon powders, a hint of orange blossom water, and a seasoning of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The richness of the salad is further enhanced by an assortment of textures and flavours: tender chickpeas, sweet and chewy Medjool dates, crunchy toasted pine nuts, and a fresh burst from mint and coriander. The dressing is a zesty combination of orange and lemon juices, with a touch of orange rind and olive oil, marrying the components with its citrusy embrace.
Accompanying the salad are two exquisite sauces – a creamy tahini sauce, with a hint of lemon and an optional kick of chilli powder, and a vibrant coriander salsa, bursting with the freshness of lemon, garlic, and red chillies.
To serve family style on a large platter or prepare individual poke bowls, and always top with a generous drizzle of both tahini sauce and coriander salsa completes this culinary masterpiece, making it not just a dish but a celebration of flavours and textures.
This Moroccan Inspired Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad is particularly friendly for individuals with diabetes and thyroid conditions for several reasons:
Low Glycemic Index: The salad primarily uses low-glycemic ingredients like quinoa, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Quinoa, in particular, has a low glycemic index (GI), meaning it causes a slower and lower rise in blood sugar levels. This is beneficial for diabetes management as it helps in maintaining stable blood glucose levels.
High Fiber Content: The high fibre content in this salad comes from ingredients like vegetables, quinoa, chickpeas, and dates. Fibre helps in regulating blood sugar levels by delaying digestion and improving insulin sensitivity.
Moderate Protein Content: Harnessing the power of chickpeas and quinoa, this dish offers a robust plant-based protein source vital for holistic well-being. Protein, a cornerstone for metabolic support, plays a crucial role in elevating satiety levels and regulating glucose by preventing excessive carbohydrate intake.
No Added-Sugar: Instead of using additional sugar or sugar-added dressing, this salad has Medjool dates bringing fibre, potassium, and magnesium. They bring sweetness without spiking glucose levels.
Healthy Gut with Rich Fiber Content: For those with thyroid issues, fibre aids in digestion and can help manage symptoms like constipation, which is common in hypothyroidism.
Vitamins and Selenium: Ingredients such as cauliflower, avocado, and nuts are nutrient-dense and contain essential vitamins and minerals. These nutrients support overall health, including thyroid function. Selenium found in nuts is especially crucial for the thyroid as it helps in the production of thyroid hormones.
Antioxidant-Rich Content: The salad contains antioxidants from vegetables, herbs, and spices like cumin and cinnamon. Carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and fresh herbs provide an array of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. These antioxidants reduce oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, which is beneficial for thyroid disorders.
Nutrient-Rich Fats: Healthy fats of this dish, specifically from olive oil and tahini, are instrumental in supporting hormonal balance, crucial for the optimal functioning of the thyroid gland. Beyond this, they aid in enhancing nutrient absorption, promoting a vibrant metabolism, and fortifying the body against inflammation.
A Nutritional Powerhouse
Calories: Approximately 400-450 kcal per serving. The moderate calorie content makes this salad an excellent choice for those seeking a fulfilling yet balanced meal.
Protein: Protein is derived from quinoa, chickpeas, and pine nuts, supporting muscle health and providing a sense of satiety.
Carbohydrates: With approximately 50-60g of carbohydrates per serving.
Fat: The salad contains about 20-25g of healthy fats per serving. Healthy fats come from olive oil, pine nuts, and avocado, contributing to a rich flavour profile and enhancing satiety.
Basic Ingredients for Moroccan Inspired Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad
Carrots: Rich in beta-carotene, fibre, and vitamins. They add sweetness, texture, and nutritional value.
Sweet Potato: A great source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They add a natural sweetness and creamy texture.
Cauliflower: High in fibre and vitamins. It adds bulk and a mild, nutty flavour to the salad.
Quinoa: A complete protein source and rich in fibre. It serves as a nutritious, gluten-free grain alternative.
Cumin Powder: Adds warmth and earthiness. It aids digestion and enhances the flavour profile.
Cinnamon Powder: Offers sweet and woody notes and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Orange Blossom Water: Adds a unique, floral aroma, elevating the dish’s exotic appeal.
Chickpeas: A great source of protein and fibre, adding a satisfying texture.
Medjool Dates: Provide natural sweetness and chewy texture, along with fibre.
Pine Nuts: Add crunch and a buttery flavour, plus healthy fats.
Fresh Mint & Coriander: Offer freshness, a burst of flavour, and digestive benefits.
Orange & Lemon Juice: Add vibrancy and acidity, enhancing other flavours.
Olive Oil: A source of healthy fats, contributing to the salad’s richness.
Rocket Leaves: Provide a peppery taste and are rich in antioxidants.
Avocado: Offers creamy texture and healthy fats.
Preparation Tips for Moroccan Inspired Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad
- Roast Vegetables Evenly: Cut vegetables in uniform sizes for even roasting.
- Rinse Quinoa: Always rinse quinoa under cold water to remove bitterness.
- Balance Flavors: Adjust acidity and sweetness in the dressing to taste.
- Toast Pine Nuts Carefully: Toast them lightly to avoid burning.
Serving Tips for Moroccan Inspired Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad
- Family-Style Large Platter: Arrange the salad on a large, beautiful platter. This style encourages a communal dining experience, inviting everyone to share. Garnish with fresh mint, coriander, and avocado slices. This presentation not only showcases the vibrant colours and textures of the dish but also allows guests to appreciate the variety of ingredients before they dive in.
- Poke Bowl Style: Offer a more personalised approach by serving the salad in individual bowls, akin to a poke bowl. This way, each guest can create their own unique combination. Provide bowls filled with the salad’s various components, allowing everyone to assemble their bowl to their liking. This method is perfect for catering to different taste preferences and dietary needs.
- Dressings: It’s a good idea to place the tahini sauce and coriander salsa on the table so guests can add more according to their preferences. This way, each person can customise the intensity and richness of their salad.
Refrigerate Separately: Store the salad and dressings in separate containers.
Avoid Dressing: Don’t add the dressing if you plan to store it for later use.
Airtight Containers: Use airtight containers to retain freshness.
Consume Quickly: Best consumed within 2-3 days for optimal freshness.
Moroccan Inspired Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad
- 2 large carrots, julienned
- 1 large sweet potato, julienned
- 1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 cup quinoa , uncooked
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 8 medjool dates, cubed
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
- ½ cup fresh coriander , roughly chopped
- ½ orange, juiced
- 1 tsp orange rind
- 1 lemon, juiced
- olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 100 g rocket leaves
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup tahini paste
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ⅓ cup water, (add water if necessary)
- ½ tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- ⅛ tsp chilli powder, (optional)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- ½ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 1 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat oven at 200°C Place the carrot pieces, sweet potato pieces and the cauliflower florets on separate baking pans; to each add a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast each for 10–15 minutes.
- In a medium-sized pot, cook the quinoa in 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, and then let it simmer on low heat until the quinoa is fully cooked. Fluff with a fork and leave aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, 1 tsp of salt, pepper and orange blossom water; fluff with a fork. To this, add the roasted carrots, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, Medjool dates, pine nuts, fresh mint, fresh coriander. In a small bowl, combine orange juice, orange rind, lemon juice and ¼ cup olive oil. Toss ingredients together and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and pepper.
- To prepare tahini sauce, combine the tahini paste and lemon juice in a small bowl. Slowly add the water, whisk until the sauce has a light, creamy consistency. Season with sea salt, pepper and chilli powder (optional).
- For the coriander salsa, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, coriander, red chillies and salt, and mix well.
- Serve in individual bowl, with some rocket leaves on the side and slices of avocado. Top with tahini sauce and coriander salsa.