Carrot and Orange Salad

This North African-style side dish is bursting with spices, herbs, and lovely fresh flavours. It’s also quite the vitamin C rush, and the ingredients are (mostly) available year-round.

I can’t remember where the inspiration is from so I can’t attribute it properly, but it’s something I make often, and a bit differently each time. Some amounts are a bit vague so you can individualise it to your own tastes.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • One orange, scrubbed; all of grated zest and 1/2 juice
  • One unwaxed lemon, all of grated zest and juice
  • Olive oil, a few good glugs
  • Sea salt, and fresh ground black or rainbow peppercorns
  • 2 tsp ground cumin (or 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, crushed manually)
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander, leaves chopped finely (exclude stalks)
  • Icing sugar, a good sprinkle

For the salad:

  • 3 medium carrots, scrubbed (no need to peel), and coarsely grated
  • One orange, peeled segments only; chopped roughly
  • 1 small bunch fresh mint, chopped roughly (exclude stalks), reserving some chopped leaves for decoration
  • 3 – 4 fresh radishes, sliced thinly
  • Fresh radish tops, chopped roughly (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • White sesame seeds, to decorate
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds, to decorate (optional)

Kit

  • Mortar and pestle (if using cumin seeds and not ground cumin)
  • Grater
  • One medium and one large mixing bowls

Steps

  1. Mix all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and check the consistency before adding the icing sugar and more salt/cumin/oil to your liking (remember that radishes and their tops are peppery).
  2. In a large bowl, mix all salad ingredients from carrots to cinnamon.
  3. Add the dressing to the carrot bowl, and toss until well combined.
  4. Place portions in bowls or on plates to serve. Sprinkle over the reserved chopped mint, plus some sesame seeds (and pomegranate, if using).

Optional Additions
A very quick dash of vinegar (sherry, white wine, or balsamic) can be a good addition to the dressing; if using one of these, reduce the lemon juice to keep the flavours balanced.

Additional crunch can come from chopped unsalted pistachios, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, or peanuts, scattered over the top of each serving. (The main recipe pictures show chopped peanuts.)

I’ve also made this recipe with chopped roasted beetroot (wrapped in foil, baked for up to an hour at 180 C, then peeled when cool) instead of pomegranates. I suggest using more sour/hot/salty notes with this option (keeping up the Thai rules of savoury dishes) by adding some sherry or red wine vinegar, a tad more cumin, extra freshly-ground black pepper, and a wee pinch of ground sea salt, because the beetroot adds more sweetness.

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