The day of my Moroccan feast has finally arrived! As always, I serve three courses and I wanted my first course to be a traditional Moroccan salad course. For this salad course, I created 7 salads full of beautiful colors and flavors. Generally, for a group of 10, at least a dozen little salads are expected, but since I am known for making too much food, and I wanted to makes sure I included the magnanimous Chicken Bastilla from Fez as part of the first course, I stuck with 7!
The salads are not what we are accustomed to. Some I can more closely refer to as slaws, or sauces, or dips, Moroccan salads are sometimes made almost entirely out of meat! It is really more of an antipasti course. They are meant to excite your appetite for the very very large meal to come!
I like to serve the salads with some Hobz, a simple Moroccan Tagine Bread, a big pad of butter, and a cup of honey. My favorite way to eat most of these salads are as a topping on top of a buttered piece of Hobz. Make sure you bake the Hobz the same morning, it is a beautifully easy recipe! Most of these salads can be made a day or two before and stored in the fridge!
The seven salads we created were a beautifully simple Grated Cucumber Salad and a Grated Carrot Salad, both of which only takes 15 minutes each to prepare and can be made several days in advance. These fresh grated salads are balanced by two gorgeously charred vegetable salads. The Roast Pepper Salad and Eggplant Zaalouk are made by roasting the vegetables directly on the flames of your stove top. A Rainbow Chard Salad is made by steaming and sautéing chard from my garden with some arugula and spices. The Roast Tomato and Pine Nut salad ties with the Eggplant Zaalouk for my favorite. Tomatoes are sliced in half and slow roasted in the oven for three hours before being sprinkled with pine nuts and rose water. Delicious! I included one fruit salad to bring some more freshness to the evening, the Orange and Radish Salad is not only beautiful but wonderful with its citrusy zest.
Find the recipes for the Roast Pepper Salad, Grated Carrot Salad, and Grated Cucumber Salad here, and scroll down for the remaining recipes!
Rainbow Chard Salad
1 1/2 pound Swiss chard, leaves roughly chopped, stems thinly sliced
3 cups arugula
1 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
12 black olives
1/2 preserved lemon, flesh removed, rinsed and slivered thinly
- Steam the chard and arugula for about 10 minutes. Squeeze out extra liquid.
- Place in food processor with parsley, cilantro, and garlic. Grind to a rough pulp.
- Place in sauce pan with half of the olive oil.
Add in all of the spices and season with salt and pepper.
Add lemon juice and adjust flavors.
- Refrigerate until serving, can be made 1 or 2 days in advance.
- Before serving, mix in the remaining olive oil and top with olives and preserved lemon.
Total cooking time: 30 minutes
Roast Tomato with Pine Nut Salad
10 small tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
drizzle of olive oil
2-3 tablespoons rose water
2-3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- Place tomatoes in an oiled 9 inch pie pan or cast iron pan. Arrange cut sides up.
Season with salt, sugar, and cinnamon.
Drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 3 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turn the oven up to 350 and bake for another 20 minutes.
Turn the oven off and let the tomatoes cool in the oven.
- Sprinkle with rosewater and pine nuts before serving.
Serve cool. Make 1-2 days in advance if needed.
Total cooking time: 4 hours, mostly inactive
4 large eggplants
1/4 up olive oil, more to drizzle
2 28 ounce containers of tomatoes, drained and torn up with fingers
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
pinch of red pepper flakes
juice and zest of 2 lemons
large handful of cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
- Pick eggplant all over and roast on open flame for about 15 minutes, make sure you turn regularly. If you do not have a gas stove, cut in half and broil for 20 minutes, checking regularly.
- Once cooled, peel and place flesh in a colander and drain. Squeeze out liquid.
- Place half of the oil in skillet, heat and add tomatoes. Add sugar, cumin, garlic, paprika, cayenne, and salt.
Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Break up eggplant strings and add to the skillet. Add the cilantro.
Cook for 5-10 more minutes.
Cool and add the lemon juice and zest.
- Refrigerate overnight, the flavors taste better a day before.
Total cooking time: 1 hour
Orange and Radish Salad
2 bunches (about 20-30) radishes, grated
4 tablespoons sugar
6 oranges, peel sliced off with sharp knife, sliced into 1/4 to 1/3 inch rounds
3 tablespoons orange water
splash or orange juice
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
large handful of mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- Mix grated radishes and sugar, place in fine mesh sieve. After 15 minutes, squeeze to get out any excess liquid.
- Cover and chill if making in advance.
Chill oranges too.
- Before serving, mix dressing ingredients, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss radishes in dressing and place on top of orange slices.
Garnish with mint and cinnamon.
Serve immediately, the radishes do not hold up too long with the dressing.
Total cooking time: 10 minutes
Each salad serves 15-20 as part of a traditional salad course.