It was love at first sight. My weekly produce box from Hungry Harvest contained these carrots and I swooned. Colorful and unusually-shaped, they called out for a simple, raw dish to show off their bright hues and sweet taste.
What to do with them? Moroccan Shredded Carrot Salad came together in minutes with just a few ingredients. Slightly spicy and refreshing, it was a perfect weeknight side dish and would be a hit at any pot luck, buffet, or picnic.
I didn’t realize until after scraping them that much of the bright colors are in the carrots’ outer layer. Next time I’ll scrub multi-colored carrots clean instead of scraping them. Still, a bit of the color remained and came through, especially on the tips of the carrot shreds.
In any event, the salad would be just as delicious with “regular” orange carrots. Just keep in mind that carrots are the star of this show. They don’t have to be pretty looking, just sweet. As trite as it may sound, the salad will only be as good as the carrots you use.
The light oil and lemon juice dressing lets the carrot taste shine through. The chopped cilantro (or flat leaf parsley), red pepper flakes, ground cumin add zest without overwhelming the salad.
The quickest way to shred the carrots is with the large shredding or grating blade of a food processor. A box grater works just as well, it just takes longer. If you do use the hand shredding method, take my mom’s advice. She calls box graters “finger rippers,” taking special precautions not to let her fingers – or mine – get too close to the sharp edges as a carrot being grated gets smaller and stubbier.
While the salad components are quick to prepare, add the dressing slowly and taste the salad after you’ve added about half. I used about 3/4 of the dressing and saved the rest. Despite what you may read elsewhere (about dressed salad carrot salad needing to be used immediately), I find that it lasts well for at least a day or two, refrigerated in a covered container. If you do have leftovers, the extra dressing will come in handy, as the salad soaks up the oil and lemon juice.
While I love this Moroccan shredded Carrot Salad by itself, it’s also fabulous nestled on a bed of lettuce, or as part of a salad plate with lentil salad, minty cous cous or Israeli cous cous, and a tomato feta and olive salad.
Moroccan Shredded Carrot Salad
- 1 pound of fresh carrots grated
- 1 handful cilantro finely chopped (about 1/4-1/3 cup) or flat leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2-3 pinches Red pepper flakes
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Kosher or coarse sea salt
Add the chopped cilantro (or parsley) to the grated carrots and mix until they are well combined. Set aside.
Whisk together the lemon juice, oil, cumin, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.
Once the dressing is well mixed, pour about half of it over the carrots and chopped cilantro/parsley. Taste and add more dressing as required. Save the rest of the dressing for adding to leftovers or for another use.