1 teaspoon za’atar herb blend or dried, ground sumac (or substitute a pinch of dried oregano and a few sesame seeds)
6 tablespoons olive oil
For the quinoa:
½ cup red quinoa
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Ground back pepper to taste
For the salad:
1½ cups fresh ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Pinch of za’atar seasoning blend
4 preserved lemon slices
4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
¼ cup mint leaves
Make the carrots: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set aside 4 carrots to shave raw atop the salad when assembled. Remove greens (if attached), then scrub and dry the carrots. Cut any carrots larger than ¼-inch in diameter in half lengthwise. Place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast until tender when pierced with a knife and browned in spots, about 20 minutes.
Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the preserved lemon, lemon juice, honey, and za’atar in a small bowl. Whisking continuously, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Whisk again before using.
Make the quinoa: In a small saucepan, stir together the quinoa, enough water to cover, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well, toss with enough vinaigrette to moisten, and season with salt and pepper.
To assemble: Stir together ricotta, pepper, and za’atar in a small bowl. Divide among serving plates. Arrange warm, roasted carrots over the ricotta. Sprinkle quinoa over carrots. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over top and garnish with raw carrot ribbons, preserved lemon slices, dates, and mint. Serve immediately.