Soft and caramelized scored eggplant, infused with the savory, herbaceous, spice-filled chermoula sauce topped with a loaded couscous and lentil salad, tossed in a tangy yet sweet date dressing, creating the perfect cozy vegetarian meal!
This dish is a symphony of flavors that complement each other beautifully, making it a delightful choice year-round. However, it truly shines as a comforting fall meal, where the roasted flavors harmonize with the warm spices
Believe it or not, the true star of the show in this whole dish is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, one of the most important pantry staples in the Mediterranean Diet. Due to its significance, there are a few key considerations when shopping for, storing, and cooking with EVOO. Here’s what to look for:
- Type: Ensure it’s labeled “extra virgin olive oil,” not just “olive oil,” “light olive oil,” or “cooking olive oil.”
- Packaging: Opt for EVOO in a dark bottle to protect it from light exposure.
- Freshness: It’s best used within 18-24 months of the harvest date for optimal flavor.
- Origin: Choose single-origin oils, avoiding blended varieties for a more distinctive taste.
- Processing: Look for cold-pressed EVOO, as it retains both flavor and essential nutrients.
- Smoke Point: Note that its smoke point is 405-410°F.
While it may seem overwhelming, taking the time to select the highest-quality EVOO is essential. Among many great choices, my current favorite is Mina’s Single Organ Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It checks all the boxes for the best of the best, retaining an abundant amount of polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that possess properties such as anticancer, anti-angiogenic, and anti-inflammatory. Mina has generously provided a 10% discount code: TASTEMOROCCO, which you can use at checkout!
Chermoula Recipe Ingredients
Chermoula is a delicious herbaceous green sauce and marinade from North Africa. This sauce beautifully complements various dishes with its perfect balance of herbs, citrus, garlic, and spices. It’s ideal as a marinade, dipping sauce, condiment, and more!
- Fresh herbs: Incorporate lots of parsley and cilantro, adding an incredible freshness to the sauce.
- Spices: Cumin, coriander, paprika, and Aleppo pepper flakes contribute just the right amount of earthy and spicy notes.
- Garlic: As a Mediterranean essential, garlic plays a role in almost all recipes.
- Citrus: Lemon zest and juice introduce a zesty, citrusy twist.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: High-quality EVOO binds the ingredients, creating a smooth, pourable consistency with a fruity, pungent flavor.
- Salt: These seasonings balance and enhance the flavors.
Date Dressed Couscous Lentil Salad Recipe Ingredients
The sweet, tangy date dressing perfectly complements the earthy, nutty lentils and chewy toasted couscous. Add in mint, toasted walnuts, and salty cheesy feta, and you have a symphony of flavors. The dressing, based on extra virgin olive oil, combines soft, caramel-chewy dates, tart fruity pomegranate molasses, vibrant zesty lime zest and juice, and a kick from Aleppo pepper flakes for a creamy, sweet yet tart dressing. This salad is more than just a salad; the variations of mixed-flavored lentils and couscous are endless!
- Date Dressing: Combine soaked Medjool dates, vibrant lime zest and juice, Aleppo pepper flakes, tart syrupy pomegranate molasses, a splash of red wine vinegar, and Aleppo pepper flakes in a blend with extra virgin olive oil, creating the perfect creamy sweet and sour dressing.
- Toasted Couscous: Opt for Israeli couscous (p’titim), best toasted in extra virgin olive oil before adding water to cook.
- Lentils: French green lentils or Puy lentils are ideal, but you can use your preferred variety.
- Toasted Walnuts: Provide the perfect nutty crunch, elevated with a roasted, toasted flavor.
- Mint: Complements all the flavors and adds much-needed freshness.
- Feta: Every salad benefits from a creamy, cheesy addition.
- Salt: As always, it helps to balance and make the flavors pop!
Chermoula Eggplant Tahini Dip
- 1 half of a roasted chermoula eggplant
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 2-3 tablespoon chermoula sauce
- 4-5 or more ice cubes
- In a food processor blend everything adding more ice cubes one at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
Lentil Couscous Cakes
- 1 cup lentil couscous salad
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 large egg
- In a bowl mash the couscous and lentils for a few minutes until about half are broken down then stir in the flour and egg until a batter forms
- To a large saute pan over medium-high heat add about 2 tablespoons of the batter and shape it into a thin disk.
- Cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and enjoy
I served them with 1/4 cup of labne mixed with a tablespoon of chermoula sauce