Being in Dubai, you can get dates of all kinds of varieties just about everywhere. I am a huge fan of Medjool Dates – they are the ones that are fresh, not the dried, pitted ones that are more common in the UK. It’s like biting into soft caramel! They are also a bit of a superfood – packed with vitamins and high in fiber. Despite all this, I don’t feel I take advantage of eating all the great dates I have at my disposal, mainly because they are high in calories so seem almost an indulgence rather than a fruit. But everything in moderation, as they say. I’ve decided to try and incorporate more dates into my recipes. My first attempt being this Honey & Date Quinoa Salad.
You could use any dates you find for this recipe – to be honest I think that the more familiar (in the UK at least) Deglet Noor dates are more commonly used in cooking. But I am just such a fan of Medjool dates that I had to use these.
This salad is really healthy, served with Quinoa, red onion, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. The dressing is a beautiful mixture of honey, ginger, mustard and lemon juice. Yum!
I made this as a side to go with a Moroccan Lamb & Apricot Tagine. I thought it would be a nice change from serving it with a more traditional cous-cous. You could easily serve this as a salad in it’s own right, or add some protein such as a roasted meat or fish for a healthy lunch or dinner – it’s a really versatile dish!
Make a couple of portions at once and serve it over a couple of different days – perhaps as a side dish and then a couple of days later as a lunch with some added protein for variety. It will keep for around 3 days in the fridge.
Honey & Date Quinoa SaladCourse: Sides, LunchCuisine: SaladDifficulty: Easy
A healthy quinoa salad packed with the caramel taste of medjool dates and a sweet honey dressing. Hugely versatile, this makes a perfect side dish or salad in it’s own right.
25g medjool dates, stone removed, cut into small pieces
40g cucumber, diced (around 1/2 large cucumber)
30g diced red onion (around 1/4 of an onion)
50g yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
3g ginger paste (or 2g fresh ginger, grated)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
juice of 1/4 lemon
- First cook the quinoa. Soak the quinoa in a small bowl of water for a couple of minutes. Drain and refill the water a couple of times to remove the coating which can make it bitter.
- Add the quinoa with double the volume of water (for 50g this should be around 125ml) and bring to the boil. Once it hits boiling point reduce to a simmer and leave uncovered for around 15 minutes, until all the water has evaporated or been soaked in. Once cooked, remove from the heat, cover the pan and leave covered for 5 minutes.
- Add the dates, cucumber, red onion and cherry tomatoes into a mixing bowl.
- Next make the dressing by mixing together the honey, ginger, mustard, vinegar and lemon.
- Add the quinoa to the mixing bowl and stir in the dressing. Serve immediately or if you intend to serve later, then store in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you are refrigerating before eating then it’s best to add the dressing at the time of serving (this can be stored separately in the fridge). This will stop the salad from becoming soggy.