One of the most popular questions a chef gets asked is, “What is your favorite thing to cook?”
“Vegetables” is my answer, which can come as a surprise to most! The colors alone are magnificent. The greens, reds, yellows, purples, pinks, oranges and more. The link between the colour of vegetables and their health benefits has been scientifically researched. The colour of vegetables and fruits come from a variety of chemicals called antioxidants.
Antioxidants are almost exclusively found in plants. Plants take the energy from the sun and turn it into simple sugars, then complex carbohydrates and proteins. The plant produces antioxidants to protect itself from free radicals. Some antioxidants are colorful. There are many kinds of antioxidants such as carotenoids which there are hundreds of, for example, beta-carotene, lycopene or cryptoxanthin. Ascorbic acid and vitamin E can also be found in many edible plant species.
Why is it important for us to eat fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants?
Because our bodies do not produce antioxidants and we need antioxidants to fight off free radicals. Free radicals are bad. They make us old, rigid, tight, frail, dry and sick. Nature created plants to look appealing for us to eat. So we do or should I say did eat these natural whole foods. Now, however the market place has become saturated with harmful processed foods.
We as a whole generally do not eat nearly enough fruits, vegetables and grains to combat sickness from free radicals as we should. But the great thing is that it is not too late. Let’s use nature’s resources and let the natural occurring medicines in plants help prevent us against illness. By eating plenty of plant-based foods and consuming much less processed foods, we can create a healthy body that will age gracefully over time that is less prone to illness.
Moroccan Quinoa Salad
I love to travel to Morocco. It is close to Spain and is the home to some wonderful spices that I always bring back to Mallorca and into my recipies. The moors occupied Spain for 700 years and a lot of there influences can be found in the Spanish cuisine.
My Moroccan Quinoa Salad is loaded with powerful antioxidants and plant-based protein. It can be enjoyed all year long and served for either lunch or dinner. Feel free to add other ingredients such as cilantro, chilli peppers or even cucumber.
Prep Time: 1/2 hour
Cook Time: 1/2 hour
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 quart water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon peel
- 4 cloves
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/4 red cabbage finely sliced
- 1/2 red onion finely chopped then rinsed under cold water
- 2 carrots peel then grate
- 1 tomato finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup grated ginger
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tsp mild curry
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Wash the quinoa under cold running water in a fine mesh strainer
- Place all ingredients in large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 10-15 minutes
- Strain in the fine mesh strainer again and pick out the lemon, cinnamon, bay and cloves
- Let it cool
- Do not rinse
- In a large bowl add all the salad ingredients and toss gently
- Add all the ingredients in a large jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously for at least one minute
- Add this dressing to the vegetables and toss gently until well distributed
- Add the quinoa and gently toss one more time
Serve on a bed of arugula.
Enjoy and let me know what you think of it!
About the author
Chef Jeff Harter has over 20 years experience cooking throughout the United States and Europe. Jeff has settled and lived in Mallorca for the past 11 years, now working primarily as a Private Chef to the Rich and Famous. Jeff is inspired by the cultural and gastronomic traditions that have come to be recognised as the healthiest in the world. Before arriving in Mallorca, Chef Jeff was the executive chef at Allisons Restaurant in The Hamptons. Chef Jeff is also well known for co-authoring “THE HAMPTONS DIET COOKBOOK”. Before Jeff became the head chef at Allisons he spent time working at El Bulli in Rosas and Arzak in San Sebastian. Jeff truly believes that a Plant-Based Mediterranean diet using seasonal and local ingredients and daily exercise is the cure to most all modern day diseases.