Last year I made myself a lofty New Years Resolution: I was finally going to start exercising regularly. This is not a terribly unique New Years Resolution. I'm pretty sure it is the most common resolution amongst New Years Resolution-ers. What was unique about my resolution was that I was actually able to stick to it!
How I was able to stick to my resolution involved a dirty little trick called bribery. Yes. You may need to bribe yourselves. My vice of choice was J Crew shoes. Seriously. When my will-power began to lag in the fall, I told myself that if I exercised 4 days a week for a month, I earned a pair of shoes...and it actually worked! I actually have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to work-out bribery, and now have a closet full of shoes.
If your New Years Resolution involved eating healthier, then you are in the right place. I have been working on perfecting this Moroccan salad for a few weeks now, and I have finally got it! This salad is packed full of healthy vegetables, couscous and chicken. You will not leave the dinner table feeling like you just ate rabbit food and you are still hungry. I promise you.
This salad contains the mildly-sweet flavors of roasted cauliflower and green beans, as well as raw shredded carrots and chickpeas. Radishes and toasted almonds provide a crunchy contrast. The salad is topped with Panko-crusted, Moroccan-spiced chicken pieces and tossed with pearl couscous and a Moroccan-scented dressing: think cinnamon, cumin, and lemon. The flavors are fresh, exotic and delicious!
There are several variations you can make based on personal preference: If you want a spicier version, you can include a few teaspoons of harissa paste, or other hot sauce. If you'd like a faster vegetarian option, omit the chicken (the chickpeas are a great protein source). If you can't find pearl couscous, you can use regular couscous, or even better, quinoa.
Meal Sized Moroccan Salad (4 large servings)
- 1/2 a head of cauliflower, cut into ~1 inch pieces
- 1 cup of green beans, trimmed and cut in half
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 10 radishes, trimmed and sliced thin
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 2 carrots, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 2 cups of pearl couscous, cooked (1 1/4 cups uncooked)
Preheat oven to 450 F. Toss cauliflower and green beans in olive oil to coat. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes until edges of cauliflower just begin to blacken. Remove from the oven and cool. Reduce heat of oven to 350 F (to cook chicken).
Combine radishes, chickpeas, carrots, almonds, parsley, pearl couscous and cooled cauliflower and beans in a large bowl.
- 8 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 2 tsp of Moroccan spice mix (recipe below)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 2 tsp harissa paste or hot sauce (optional)
Combine in a small jar or container and shake thoroughly to mix. Pour over salad mixture and mix well.
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp chile powder
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Combine all spices in a small jar or plastic container. Can be stored for several months.
This spice mix is great on many, many things; chicken, veggies etc. Check out Kalyn's Kitchen for her roasted chickpeas (which is how I originally came across this recipe).
Panko-Crusted, Moroccan-Spiced Chicken:
- 6 chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces (~1 inch)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- optional: harissa paste or hot sauce (2 tsp or so)
- 2 tsp spice mix (above)
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs)
- salt & pepper to taste
Cool chicken slightly. Arrange over salad.