The basis of Moroccan cuisine is a combination of spice, sweet, and savory. Meats such as beef and lamb are popularly used and braised until tender, though there is heavy use of vegetables and dried fruits. 

All the flavors of Morocco come together in this dish with apricots, orange, zucchini, mint, almonds, and of course heavily spiced with cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne. Each component brings a different characteristic to the table in terms of color, texture, and flavor. While couscous would traditionally be used, lentils are an excellent gluten free alternative that add protein and fiber to this salad. Chickpeas would also be a great addition or replacement to the lentils.

This substantial and flavorful dish is perfect served as a healthy vegan lunch or dinner. Finish or accompany with mint tea for a simple, yet authentic Moroccan meal. 

(serves 4)

1 cup green lentils
4 cups water
1 zucchini
1/2 tbs of olive oil
12 dried apricots, halved
12 grape tomatoes, halved
3 radishes, sliced
1 avocado
2 oranges, segmented
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
1/2 cup loosely packed mint

1 tbs apple cider vinegar
juice from 1 lemon
2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Add the lentils and water to a pot. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid and cool.

Slice the zucchini. Heat olive oil in a medium saute pan. Once hot, add zucchini and saute for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Add to the cooked lentils and place in the fridge to cool. 

Prep the other ingredients while the lentils and zucchini are cooling.

Heat about 1 cup of water on the stove or in the microwave until hot. Add the apricots to rehydrate for about 10 minutes. Drain and halve. 

To make the vinaigrette, grate or finely chop the garlic. Combine the remaining ingredients and whisk until mixed and emulsified. Pour over the lentils and zucchini. 

Finely chop the mint and cilantro and all of the remaining ingredients, expect half of the almonds. 

Serve and sprinkle over the remaining almonds to garnish.

If not serving immediately, do not add the arugula or avocado. Everything else holds up well for up to 2 days in the fridge.

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