Recipe Redux Spiced Moroccan Salad with Argan Oil – by guest expert Natalie Edwards APD

It’s Recipe Redux time again and as our Sub of the Month, new grad dietitian Natalie Edwards, just embarked on new job in a cooking program I decided to hand the apron to her.  The theme this month is: “Orange You Glad It’s Fall?” Markets are plentiful with the orange colors of autumn including pumpkin, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and even golden beets. Not only are these produce bursting with fall flavors but they are also chocked full of carotenoid antioxidants.  So you can imagine that Natalie and I had a fair bit of brainstorming to do to fit into our Spring.  But then we struck gold, literally.

About our expert:

Natalie Edwards loves to spread the word about nutritious food. This year she created her own blog Nat’s Nutritious and Delicious and facebook page; she hopes through her site she can share her passion for cooking healthy nutritious food and teach others that eating like a dietitian isn’t only healthy but tasty too!

Have you heard of argan oil? It’s a rare exotic treat direct from South West Morocco. This oil has been a well kept secret known only to Berber women (native Moroccan’s) for centuries. However, in recent times you may have seen argan oil, also know as ‘Moroccan oil’ as the so called miracle ingredient in shampoo or beauty products.  But did you know it’s also a culinary oil? With more and more evidence emerging as to the health benefits of argan oil we are sure to see this ‘special find’ in more households and on more restaurant menus, just like Karen Inge and Pierre Khodja are doing at the Flinder’s Hotel.

You see argan oil is to Morocco what olive oil is to Italy, well, not exactly the same nutrient composition but there are some clear benefits of argan oil that should not go unnoticed.  The antioxidant capacity of virgin argan oil is higher than that of other vegetable oils. Recent studies suggest virgin argan oil is a functional food that may play a role in disease prevention. Some studies have found it to have a hypolipidemic, hypocholesterolemic, and anti hypertensive effect and a possible role in cancer prevention.

Less for cooking more for finishing, argan oil is golden brown in color with a delicious nutty flavor. It enhances the taste and aroma of cooked dishes and is best for drizzling over your finished product.  Carrots are the core Redux ingredient in this dish, rich in carotenoids, and they go hand in hand with argan oil. Why? You see Argan oil improves the absorption of carotenoids which in turn enhances their antioxidant capacity to an even greater extent. With summer fast approaching down under, this Recipe Redux is a great edition to your  fresh and easy collection.

 

 Ingredients (serves 4)

40g whole almonds

6 fresh dates

1 cup couscous

1tsp olive oil

Pinch of salt

1 tbs coriander

1 tbs parsley

1 tbs mint

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 tbs argan oil

2 tbs lemon

1 tsp honey

1 cup chickpeas

2 carrots

150g baby spinach leaves

1 tsp sesame seeds

Method

1:  Weigh out 40g almonds, pulse nuts in food processor until coarsely chopped, set aside.

2: Chop dates into small pieces and set aside.

3: Boil 1 cup of water on stove, remove from stove and add 1 cup couscous, 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt, cover with lid and set aside for 10 minutes to absorb.

4: Finely chop coriander, parsley and mint

5: Run a folk through the couscous to break it apart and add coriander, parsley and mint.

6: Create dressing- place argan oil, lemon, paprika, cumin and honey in bowl and mix with spoon. Add dressing to couscous.

7: Place spinach leaves on large plate or in large bowl, drain can of chickpeas and weigh out 1 cup, place in bowl with spinach.

8: Grate carrots into strips and place in salad bowl

9: Add couscous, nuts and dates then sprinkle salad with sesame seeds and drizzle some extra argan oil on top. Enjoy!

A huge thank you to Sally from Argan Life as she was kind enough to supply me with some free culinary argan oil.  She does not usually stock culinary argan oil however; she does sell Argan oil beauty products, check out her site.  And finally don’t forget to checkout the other fab redux recipes too:


Editor’s comment:

Thanks Nat.  Isn’t it great when you discover a new ingredient? I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying Pierre’s amazing French Moroccan cooking and loved trying argan oil that way.  How about you lovely readers and Redux friends? Have you?


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