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Three Warm Salads from Morocco

This week's recipes, all warm salads with fresh vegetables, are easy-to-prepare side dishes in the Moroccan tradition of Ronit's family.

"Growing up, our dinner or lunch would start with warm salads of all kinds: spiced carrots, roasted chili pepper with lemon and garlic, flatbread with zahtar, zaalouk with roasted eggplants," Ronit recalls.

"We never had any frozen food or snacks; everything my mother made was fresh," she adds.

"I was always impressed by her natural confidence in the kitchen. She never used any written recipes."

Every week, Ronit and her mother would go to the local souk, or market, to buy fresh vegetables and spices. The spice merchants there always ground their wares to order, from basics such as paprika and cayenne to the classic Moroccan seasonings harissa (a spicy blend of chilis, cumin and garlic) and ras el hanout ( a complex and fragrant mixture of peppers, warm spices and rosebuds).

There were no little jars of spice in our kitchen, only large containers, Ronit says.

Nowadays, inspired by her mother's cooking, Ronit blends her own versions of these seasonings for Whole Spice, where we grind them two ways: coarse and fine.

And at home with our sons, we often enjoy one, two or all three of these warm side dishes with the family meal.

Get the recipes:
»»Moroccan Zaalouk Salad (roast eggplant, tomato and bell pepper)
»»Moroccan Beet Salad
»»Moroccan Spiced Carrot Salad