One of my all-time favourite salads, I make this about once a week almost year round. It’s so flexible in terms of substitutions, and so satisfying – light but filling, and packed with flavour.
Since it only takes about 15 minutes to make, it’s also my go-to tired food especially when SAD starts to wreak havoc moving into winter. So even though different types of carrots are in season or storage year round, I especially like this in autumn and winter.
With a slightly spicy lemon ginger vinaigrette playing off sweet dates, chewy quinoa, and protein-rich chickpeas, it’s a solid main dish. If you’re going to work or school in person, or have to travel, it also packs really well.
- Chickpeas (cooked or canned)
- Baby greens (spinach is pictured)
- Sunflower seeds
For the lemon ginger vinaigrette:
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Fresh ginger
- Sea salt
- Maple syrup
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
Start by cooking the quinoa according to the package instructions (it may or may not need to be rinsed beforehand). While it’s cooking, prep your other salad ingredients. Wash your veg, grate the carrots, cut the dates, and chop the herbs and garlic.
To make the vinaigrette, simply place all of the ingredients into a jar or container and shake/whisk until fully combined and emulsified. You may need to give it another shake right before adding to the salad.
Once the quinoa is cooked, uncover and let it cool for a few minutes before adding to a large bowl with the other salad ingredients. Add the vinaigrette, then stir to mix it in and evenly distribute everything else. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a couple of days.
Tips and Notes
Some commenters have noted that they let the quinoa cool fully before mixing. I recommend mixing the salad while the quinoa is still warm for two reasons – to wilt the greens, which makes them a bit more pleasant to eat, and because the grains soak up the vinaigrette more effectively if they’re warm. You can use cold quinoa if you prefer.
If you’re using canned chickpeas, I recommend rinsing and then soaking in cold water for about ten minutes before rinsing again. I find that they taste much better with a short soak in fresh water, especially when used in a salad rather than incorporated into a soup or stew.
If this seems like too many ingredients for you, try this more basic chickpea quinoa salad instead. Both are great!
Use any baby green you like or have on hand. I have an abundance of spinach in the garden right now so that’s what I’ve used for the photos, but rucola, baby kale and chard, or even sprouts and mustard greens.
The same goes for herbs – I don’t have loads of parsley now, so I used mostly lovage and just a bit of parsley. You can also use cilantro or oregano if you prefer.
Other grains can be used in place of quinoa if you prefer, like couscous or bulgur (not gluten-free). You can also use raisins or dried cranberries in place of the chopped dates, which I often do.
Try adding other seeds or nuts, like pepitas or walnuts, alongside or in place of sunflower seeds.
More Moroccan Inspired Recipes
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Moroccan Carrot Quinoa Salad
- 180 grams dry quinoa
- 500 ml water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 250 grams cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed
- 200 grams packed carrots, shredded
- 60 grams dates, chopped
- 50 grams baby greens (spinach, kale, rucola)
- 40 grams sunflower seeds
- 1 handful about 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced*
Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette
- 60 ml olive oil
- Juice of a lemon ~3 tablespoons
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger finely grated
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey if not vegan
- ½ teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Start by cooking the quinoa. Go by your package instructions on whether it needs to be rinsed or not. Add the quinoa to a pot with the water and salt, cover, and heat on high, covered, until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed.
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the other salad ingredients and place them into a large mixing bowl.
- Make the vinaigrette by adding the olive oil, lemon juice, ginger, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, pepper, and cayenne pepper to a jar or container. Shake or whisk until fully combined.
- Once the quinoa is cooled, remove the pot from the heat and uncover to let the quinoa cool for a few minutes.
- Add the quinoa to the bowl with the other salad ingredients, then top with the vinaigrette and mix well to combine. Serve immediately. Leftovers will keep well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
This post was first published in April 2018. It has been updated with new photos, updates to the text, and slight changes to the recipe as of October 2020.