Bethany Kehdy

A Champion of Middle Eastern Food & Recipes

Moghrabieh Salad with Preserved Lemon and Coriander Pesto

Moghrabieh, Chickpea and Red Pepper Salad

moghrabieh salad with preserved lemon and coriander pesto

Dearest Zizi,

Congratulations on your beautiful newborn baby boy, Adam!

As a new mother and now that your hands are very full, I’ll keep it short and simple, offering you some wise quotes to keep in mind:

  • Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell, the name will carry. ~ Bill Cosby
  • Diaper backward spells repaid. Think about it. ~ Marshall McLuhan
  • The worst feature of a new baby is its mother’s singing. ~ Kin Hubbard
  • You will always be your child’s favorite toy. ~ Vicki Lansky
  • There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. ~ Chinese Proverb
  • The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable. ~ Lane Olinghouse
  • Other moms are really, really competitive. Make stuff up. Tell them your baby started muttering the phrase “Einstein was wrong” while thrashing in the crib at night. ~ Anonymous
  • Babies are such a nice way to start people. ~ Don Herold

I may not have children of my own, but as a godmother I have been called to duty a few times, which has meant partaking in sleepless nights or ridiculously early mornings! Scarlet is worth every second of sleepless torture and so, I wish you all the sleepless torture in the world- it’s a good test of your relationship and a great way to continue the bonding.

In celebration, I’m making a moghrabieh, chickpea and red pepper salad with a preserved lemon and coriander pesto. I was really planning to make you mighli (traditionally made in celebration of newborns in Lebanon) but alas nothing ever happens according to plan in my life! However, I have a beautiful Lebanese lullaby for you and your new jewel, sung by Lebanon’s very own jewel, Fairuz.

So, with that said, here’s to you and Ivan and the little angel soul. I think Adam has got wonderful parents for a great head start!

Moghrabieh Salad with Preserved Lemon and Coriander Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Moghrabieh translates to “from the countries of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria” and refers to both the rolled semolina pellets as well as a traditional dish, which incorporates lamb and/or chicken. I love moghrabieh but only when it’s steamed. I find that boiling it, as some traditional recipes may suggest, renders it mushy and it looses its shape and lovely texture. Think of this as a sort of Middle Eastern pasta salad.
Serves: 4
  • 250g/9 oz moghrabieh
  • 15g/1/2 oz salted butter, softened
  • pinch of caraway seeds, toasted
  • 500ml/17 fl oz/ 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 250g/9 oz cooked chickpeas
  • 3 sweet pointed peppers
  • 20g/3/4 oz preserved lemon rinds, roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls of coriander leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 30g/1 oz pine nuts
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • half a lemon, juiced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Rub the moghrabieh with the butter and the toasted caraway seeds. Place a steamer pot over medium heat, pour in the vegetable broth, secure the steamer basket over it, line with muslin cloth (so the moghrabieh pellets don’t fall through), add the moghrabieh, cover and steam for 45 minutes or till the moghrabieh is soft and chewy.
  2. Meanwhile, turn a burner to high heat and lean the peppers, stems still on, directly over the burner turning occasionally with tongs until all sides are charred and the peppers are soft. This should take about 5 minutes per side or 15-20 minutes in total. Remove from heat and transfer to a paper or plastic bag, seal and allow to steam and rest for 10 minutes. Hold the stem of each individual pepper, and using the bag, peel off the skin and the char. Slice off the crown, discarding any seeds and quarter the peppers lengthwise. Note: If you do not have a gas stove or BBQ, poke some holes in the peppers before roasting in a pre-heated oven 180C/ 350F/4G and cook them for 25-30 minutes or till they are soft. Continue with instructions as above.
  3. As the peppers are grilling, prepare the pesto; to a small food processor add the preserved lemon, coriander, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and lemon juice, salt to taste and pulverise to a rough, pesto consistency. Toss the pesto with the cooked moghrabieh and chickpeas, season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, divide the tossed salad amongst 4 individual serving plates and top each serving with 3 slivers of peppers.

And the rest of the gang’s offerings for this virtual baby shower:

14 thoughts on “Moghrabieh Salad with Preserved Lemon and Coriander Pesto

  1. Aww what a beautiful post! Believe me, even when I was writing down the name of your dish I was imagining its taste – absolutely something I need to taste! 😀

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