Tag Archives: cumin

Roasted Spiced Carrot and Quinoa Salad

<img alt="roasted spicy carrot and quinoa salad"/>

Sometimes when I’m at the market, I come across bags of brightly colored carrots — carrots in a deep burgundy and cheerful yellow nestled with the expected orange.  Once in a while there are a few  very pale yellow carrots in the mix as well, but the burgundies are what I think most striking.  Once sliced the rich, dark tone of the exterior rings the brighter orange in the center.  I can’t resist them when I see them simply because they’re beautiful.

I begin to think about what I might make with them as I add them to my basket, remembering that in past experiences I’ve been disappointed to find that when peeled — especially the dark ones — the beautiful color goes with the peelings.  Or when put into something braised, the color dissipates in the cooking liquid.  Such is the life of someone who not only enjoys food for its flavor and nutritional value (or lack thereof from time to time), but for its innate beauty.  It’s all a bit like taking time to smell the flowers so to speak.  Appreciate the small things in life which are easily unrecognized if — as in the example of these carrots — one always grabs the bag of tiny already peeled baby carrots.

Go ahead.  Call me silly.

No, these beauties were destined for the perfect recipe — one I’d seen in Food & Wine and tagged immediately.   I love quinoa and couldn’t resist the blend of spices in the recipe that would go fabulously with the roasted carrots and some dark, leafy greens.

First, peel the carrots lightly — or maybe you’re someone who just gives them a good scrub with a veggie brush.  I don’t like the bitter taste of the peelings, but maybe it’s my imagination.  I eat peelings on just about everything except carrots.

<img alt="colorful carrots"/>

<img alt="colorful carrots"/>

After you peel the carrots, split them down the center, then quarter them.  Some may need another cut to even the pieces out.

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This is the part where it pays off to have all the spices on hand a recipe like this calls for.  The aroma is heavenly, and the mix of color so beautiful.

<img alt="colorful spicy carrots and onions"/>

The carrots are tossed in a bit of olive oil and a portion of the blended spices.  Sliced red onions are added to roast at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, tossing the mix once or twice during the baking time.

I thought both red and black quinoa would look attractive with the colorful carrots.

<img alt="spiced red and black quinoa"/>

Another portion of the spice blend is mixed in with the quinoa before cooking.

Water is added to the quinoa and spices and cooked until all the liquid has been absorbed.  You’ll have to check it occasionally and stir a bit to make sure it’s cooking steadily.  It will take about 20 minutes at most.

<img alt="roasted spicy carrots"/>

The carrots and onions smell so good when they’re roasting.  When they’re finished, just set them aside to cool down while you finish making the rest of the salad.

<img alt="super greens for salad"/>

I like to buy big packages of a mixture of spinach and baby kale because it comes in so handy for salads or any other way I’d like to use it.  The greens are very tender and packed with so many nutrients your body will thank you for.  I used several large handfuls for this salad.

The greens are tossed first with a bit of lime juice and extra virgin olive oil.  You can season lightly with salt and pepper if you like, but there will be seasoning in the other parts of the salad as well.  I always toss my greens in a bowl separately before I decide whether I’m going to plate the entire salad, or portion them out separately.  It depends…

<img alt="lemon mustard vinaigrette"/>

Then a dressing for the quinoa and other ingredients is made with lime juice, mustard, and some of the remaining spice mix that was used for the carrots and quinoa.

The dressing is added to the cooked quinoa and dried cranberries are mixed in.  Aren’t the colors beautiful?  I love this salad!  Spoon the quinoa mixture over the greens…

<img alt="roasted spicy carrot and quinoa salad"/>

…then layer the spicy roasted carrots over the quinoa.  Toasted walnuts finish the salad.  I’m hungry for it all over again just looking at it!  It’s sweet and spicy, crunchy and refreshing.  I enjoyed mine by myself because the hubster was working late, so I had time to mull over the color and flavor of everything wondering what he’d think when he got home.

<img alt="roasted spicy carrot and quinoa salad"/>

It kept quite nicely at room temperature covered with plastic.  In fact, there was too much for the two of us for dinner, so I was able to enjoy the rest the next day for lunch.  Delicious.

 

Roasted Spiced Carrot and Quinoa Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This salad is full of aromatic spices and packed with nutrients. It's a perfect meal by itself.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad, Vegan, Gluten-free
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cayenne
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 lg. carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • ¼ red onion, sliced thin
  • 7 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ c. walnuts, toasted
  • ½ c. red quinoa
  • ½ c. black quinoa
  • 2 c. water
  • juice of 1 lime, divided in half
  • 4 c. mixed dark leafy greens
  • 1 tsp. Dijon
  • ½ c. dried cranberries
  • 2 T. chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the paprika, turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, and allspice with 1 tsp. of salt, and 1 tsp. of black pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine them.
  3. Place the carrots and onions on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with 2 T of olive oil, then sprinkle with 1 T of the spice mix. Toss around a bit to coat the vegetables well.
  4. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time, until tender.
  5. Prepare the quinoa by mixing it with 2 T of the spice mix and the water in a medium sauce pan.
  6. Cover the pan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer to continue cooking until all the moisture is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.
  7. After the quinoa is started, coarsely chop the walnuts and put them in a skillet in the oven along with the carrots to roast for 5 minutes -- just until golden.
  8. Prepare the greens by adding 2 T of the olive oil and the juice of ½ lime seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper to a large bowl. Whisk until blended, then add the greens and lightly toss with the lemon and oil mixture.
  9. Divide greens evenly among separate plates, or arrange on a single large platter according to your desire.
  10. In the same large bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 T olive oil, the juice of the remaining ½ lime, Dijon, and 1 T of the spice mix. Add the quinoa and cranberries and toss lightly to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Spoon the quinoa mixture over the plated greens, then arrange the roasted carrots and onions.
  12. Sprinkle with the toasted walnuts and finish with the chopped cilantro.

 

 Recipe Notes

  • The original recipe by Anna Zepaltas can be found here at Food & Wine.  My changes were primarily to use lime juice instead of lemon, cilantro instead of parsley, allspice instead of cardamom, and to add the black quinoa to the mix.  I like cilantro and lime and thought the combination would be great in this salad.
  • This was a great dinner salad and as much as my husband pretty much eats whatever I prepare — whether it contains meat or not — some nights, he still wants something more.  This was one of those nights.  But it was perfect for me.
  • I think a perfect addition to this salad — or substitution — would be sweet potatoes or butternut squash.  Both would work well with the spices and greens and perhaps be a bit more filling to my husband who will help himself to a bowl of cereal after dinner if he isn’t completely satisfied.
  • You should have some of the spice mixture left over — I think I may try it in some butternut squash soup — but it would taste wonderful on so many different things.

 

 

Cool Zucchini Soup with Lemon-Cumin Shrimp and Cilantro Creme

Cool Zucchini Soup with Lemon-Cumin Shrimp and Cilantro Creme

I’d like to believe the weather we’ve been enjoying is here to stay, but I know our small slice of Paradise much too well. Instead of the often sweltering heat we experience in August, we’ve been treated to grey skies, cool, moist breezes, and yesterday, fat drops of rain that teased us late in the afternoon. It’s only a matter of time when vacations become a fleeting memory, kids are back in school, and freeways are once again jammed with rush hour traffic that it will get hot here and stay that way well into October. The heat saps one’s energy after a long day and making dinner usually isn’t high on the priority list, unless it’s something easy to make, cool, and satisfying.  The added perk is that it’s healthy.

This soup’s for you on those evenings. It’s creamy without being full of fat-laden calories as long as you go easy on the cilantro creme. Make extra, because it’s even better the next day.

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Spicy Shrimp Salad

<alt img="Spicy Shrimp Salad"/>

I’d love to say it’s salad weather here, but if you are fortunate to be a resident of San Diego, then you know that not only have we been experiencing the typical overcast weather we lovingly refer to as May Grey, but are definitely headed into a serious June Gloom.  Although I am one who doesn’t need the sun shining each day, the marine layer is extremely thick right now, and temperatures have been in the low 60s.  It’s more like sweater weather and is quite gloomy.  In fact today, it’s been drizzling all morning, and I can’t help but wonder about the outcome of  outdoor plans made by those who expect our normally perfect weather, and are now disappointed.

We are salad lovers, and that means salad is a year round treat regardless of the weather.  Recently, my husband said he needed to lose a few pounds, so that usually translates to salad for dinner with no carbs on the side.  That doesn’t mean I make more salad than I normally would.  Instead, it means I’m able to try new combinations of flavor, adding more ingredients, and warming it up a bit with something cooked.

I’ve heard others mention they don’t care for warm salads, and far be it from me to criticize someone’s taste for salad — with the exception of the “canned pea-Velveeta cubes- smothered in Miracle Whip” concoction which leaves me nearly speechless.

This shrimp and spinach salad has more than one kind of “heat.”  If you’re not one for cooking your salad ingredients, then consider what chili heat can do for your taste buds.  It’s satisfying and healthy.

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Refreshing Arugula & Mango Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing

It’s always nice to get away a bit and join the world out there, and this past weekend, we attended my niece’s graduation from college.  Even though it was a time to celebrate her and her accomplishments, we were able to get in a bit of time on our own and doing what we like best — relaxing, eating, a bit of breathing here, and a bit of shopping there.  With respect to the shopping, I treated myself to a little cookbook that I couldn’t pass up called, Retro Happy Hour by Linda Everett.  I’m a sucker for the ’50’s graphics and the recipes look perfect for those get togethers we happen into with friends on Fridays.  I’ll have to let you know what I find out when I dive into this one, but not yet!  It’s Monday, right?

One of the issues with any little soiree away from home is that I feel like I’ve ingested bricks when I return.  So salad is always in order.  And although any salad will do, I’ve been playing around with a different kind of salad lately — one with a southwest twist.  I can’t remember if it was in April or May’s O magazine, but there was a fairly simple piece on salads.  I liked the way a grid was used to show how different flavors, ingredients, and dressings could be mixed and matched to conjure up a particular twist for a Mediterranean, Southwest, or Middle Eastern type of salad.  I probably haven’t gotten that exactly correct, but hopefully, the idea carries.  That being said, I also figured you guys needed a break after that cake porn I posted before I left!  So I’m redeeming myself, okay?  Thanks for visiting while I was away…

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Arugula with Mango and Cumin Lime Dressing

Dressing

juice of 4 key limes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 roasted jalapeno, minced
1 tsp honey
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8-1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

  1. Roast jalapeno over the burner of a stove, under the broiler, or on a grill.  Let cool, and remove all blackened skin.  Slice off top to discard, and cut along length to open.  Retain seeds and membrane if more heat is desired.  Otherwise, remove all seeds and membranes before mincing.
  2. Into a small bowl large enough to insert a whisk, squeeze the limes, removing any seeds from juice.
  3. Mince and add garlic, then minced jalapeno.
  4. Add honey and stir to mix ingredients.
  5. With a whip, gradually add olive oil in a steady stream, creating an emulsion.
  6. Taste to adjust seasonings or acidity.

In this dressing, adjustments can be made for a variety of reasons — to make it sweeter, taste more like limes, spicer.  It’s really all up to your preference and depending on what will go into the salad.  Have fun experimenting.


Salad

3-4 c. arugula or any salad green mix that is stronger than lettuce
1/4 c. cilantro roughly chopped
1/4  red onion, sliced
1/2 mango, cubed
1/2 avocado, cubed
1/2-inch slice of jicama, cut into matchsticks
1/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled
3 T. pinones (pine nuts), browned

  1. Rinse and dry arugula.  Place in a large, wide serving bowl or platter.
  2. In a cast iron skillet or heavy sauce pan, place the pinones heat over a med high flame until browned, shaking from time to time so they don’t burn.  Remove from pan to cool.
  3. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the arugula.
  4. Spread jicama matchsticks over greens
  5. Drop mango and avocado cubes evenly over top.
  6. Sprinkle red onion slices across.
  7. Add feta and finish with the toasted pinones.

Before serving, add desired amount of dressing, toss, and plate.  Goes very well with grilled chicken, fish, or beef.  Or, skip the protein and add a chunk of crusty grilled bread.  Funny, I can’t say I’m a big fan of mangoes, and I don’t often use jicama because it’s a bit tough to cut (call me lazy), but I do love an interesting mix of sweetness and tartness in my salad from time to time.  The peppery arugula which I have come to love alone or mixed with other greens, and the crunchiness of the pinones and jicama help to make this quite the enjoyable combo.    Looks gorgeous, tastes great.   Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

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