For some reason carrot salad has been on my brain for a while now. I decided to depart from the time-honored Southern favorite version and come up with my own recipe for a Moroccan Carrot Salad with Oranges Dates and Almonds. Packed with nutrition, it is a great Meatless Monday salad!
In the South, the typical carrot salad is made with grated or shredded carrots, raisins, pineapple and a slaw dressing. While I like that salad alright when it’s first made, it tends to go soggy; I like my carrot salad crispy and crunchy!
Moroccan carrot salads use thinly sliced carrots which are generally cooked. I left mine raw, but the spices and flavors are definitely there! In addition to the orange segments and juice (more about that later), dates and almonds, the salad has green onions, cumin, cilantro, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and a tiny titch of vinegar. I could have cheerfully eaten the entire bowl!
I used fresh orange segments. For years I would buy citrus segments in a can and wonder how in the world they managed to get all those segments without the membrane. Of course, I was doing it the hard way: peeling mine by hand and removed the segments by carefully removing the membranes from individual segments. All by hand. I often commented to myself (yes, I talk to myself a lot), that there had to be a better way! Well, doing it yourself isn’t hard at all. Here’s how to do it:
- Use a bowl beneath your work to catch any juice.
- Using a paring knife, cut into the top of the orange on the stem end far enough down to get through the pith.
- Then, using the paring knife, peel the orange like an apple around the circumference, being sure to get through that pith layer.
- Once the orange is peeled, set the peel aside, and again using the paring knife, slice into the orange close to the membrane of a segment all the way to the center of the orange. Remove the knife and slice on the other side of the segment, close to the next membrane.
- Pop the segment out and into the bowl below.
- Continue this process until all segments are removed.
Now you can have fresh, not-stored-in-syrup citrus segments for your recipes!
The rest of the recipe is simple, just toss everything together (except the almonds), chill and serve, tossing in the toasted almonds at the last-minute so they don’t get soggy.
I kid you not, this salad is really good! Do try it!
- 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
- 1½ cups fresh orange segments (about 3 oranges)
- 1 cup quartered dates
- ½ cup green onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar*
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
- ½ cup toasted almond slivers
- Place the carrots, orange segments, dates, green onion, cilantro, orange juice, rice vinegar, lemon zest, cumin, and crushed red pepper flakes in a bowl and toss to combine.
- Add salt to taste.
- Refrigerate to chill.
- Just before serving toss in the toasted almonds.