Meatless Monday – Carrot Salad with Harissa, Mint and Feta


Here is the 3rd installment of the carrot salad postings and honestly, I cannot select a favorite.  I LOVE all three.

If you are looking for straightforward simplicity and utter ease in the kitchen, go with the classic French version.  Looking for something a bit more upscale with bright flavors and the added nutrition of walnuts?  Try Dorie Greenspan’s version.

Today’s recipe comes via The Wednesday Chef and Smitten Kitchen.  It is the boldest version of the three.  A warm dressing is made with garlic, spices and harissa; then something magical happens as you toss this spicy, lemony dressing with crunchy carrots.  The flavor magic continues when you add fresh herbs and seal the deal with crumbled feta.

This salad is brilliant.  For Meatless Monday, we paired it with grilled pitas, hummus, babaganoush and sliced cukes.  This salad held up really well to refrigeration, just be sure to let it come to room temperature before eating.

The toasted spices and harissa are the ingredients that make this salad special.  There is no substitute for harissa, a Tunisian condiment made from roasted chili peppers.  Last fall, Barr posted Kirk Warner’s recipe for harissa and it is indeed an excellent recipe.  Additionally, you can buy canned harissa at Whole Foods and harissa in tubes is available at some middle eastern markets or on Amazon.

The original recipe called for ground caraway seeds.  I thought I had them in the pantry but I didn’t.  I proceeded without them, the salad lacked nothing.

Carrot Salad with Harissa, Mint and Feta
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips (julienned) or coarsely grated
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. sweet or smoked paprika
1 tsp. harissa, more to taste for added spiciness
1/2 tsp. ground caraway seeds (optional)
1 tsp. sugar or honey
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
generous pinch of kosher salt
3 Tbsp. finely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
6 oz. crumbled feta

In a small frying pan, warm the olive oil.  When hot, add the garlic, cumin, paprika and harissa.  Cook and stir until quite fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the sugar, lemon juice and salt.  Pour the warm dressing over the carrots and toss well.  Add the herbs and toss again until the carrots are evenly coated with all the seasonings.

Allow the dressed salad to sit for about 1 hour.  (The salad really does improve in flavor as the dressing cools and the carrots absorb all the flavors.).  Top with the crumbled feta and serve.

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