Quinoa Carrot Salad with Tahini-Harissa Dressing and Za'atar Chickpeas

There is a lot of talk about cheesecakes and dairy desserts because it's obviously the season with Shavuot hardly a day away. I made two. I took you along with me on my Instagram Stories. I didn't run back here to report on their outcome, but to tell you about this salad. My incurable habit of sprinting close to a deadline might be too ingrained in me to have been more proactive in which recipe to share in celebration of the holiday. I didn't have a menu planned until I started cooking, so I'm of no help to those who's details are sorted out in advance. I understand if they skip turning here for current inspiration because they'll likely not find it. And then there are those who do well with a last minute idea to scramble through. They'll wiggle in this salad because they didn't have much of a plan and it looks like a good idea. They are my kindred spirit, who are flexible and maybe impulsive, and who aren't afraid to make a run to the market just because. So this is for you. Crispy chickpeas, nutty quinoa, and freshly shredded carrots all covered in a spicy/creamy dressing that gives just the right amount of kick. You'll want to note this one. It came to be thanks to my intention to slow down and nurture myself a little. A bowl of salad midday does so much more than that, it surprises me. I get up from my solo lunch satiated, full, and energized enough for the challenging afternoon ahead.
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There's also a project I'm working on that I can't tell you about just yet but you'll soon know. It started out as a prickle of inspiration and has bubbled into a big idea. It's a change, it's uncomfortable, and I'm scared and excited about it all the same. I tried shooing it away, wanting to keep things familiar but it's being persistent enough that I cannot ignore it. Everything needs to be just so, so it'll be just a little bit longer until I take the leap and take you along with me. I can't wait to hear your thoughts and get your feedback on it. Soon, soon. For now, let's gather at the table, with good people and good food. A happy Shavuot to you.


Quinoa Carrot Salad with Tahini-Harissa Dressing

ingredients

for the chickpeas,

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 shallots, chopped

1 15oz. can chickpeas, rinsed well

1 tablespoon za'atar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

for the salad,

3 carrots, peeled, trimmed, shredded

1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped

1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

6-8 mint leaves, chopped

2 dates, chopped

1 cup cooked black quinoa

1 tablespoon chopped, roasted pistachios

1/4 cup crumbled feta

for the dressing,

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon tahini

1 teaspoon harissa (more for an assertive kick)

3 tablespoons water

juice from 1 lemon

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directions

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat and cook the shallots slightly, about 1 minute. Add the chickpeas and stir to coat in oil. Season with za'atar, salt and pepper. As the chickpeas roast, they'll shrink slightly and turn golden. Once they're roasted, about 10 minutes, sprinkle the parmesan generously and stir. Set aside to cool.

In a small chopper, process the garlic, tahini, harissa, water and lemon juice. Set aside the dressing while you assemble the salad.

In a large bowl, toss the shredded carrots, parsley, cilantro, mint leaves, dates, and quinoa. Pour the dressing and toss to combine. Transfer to a platter and top with pistachio, feta, and the chickpeas. Serve. The salad will keep well in the fridge for up to a day.