In another life, I must have been a professional picnic-er. Perhaps in a mediterranean locale? Wishful thinking on my part. My rationale: I am obsessive about al fresco dining.
This Carrot Ribbon Salad is perfect alfresco-esque fare (even if it is indoors) because the dressing melds perfectly with airy strands of carrots.
During the summer bounty, hobby cooks, like me, have bouts of anxiety. No one speaks of this. Its like a dirty secret being overwhelmed when your (my parent’s) garden bounty reaches its peak, at the same time. The race to eat and use up produce before it wilts or spoils can be exhausting. But when the weather goes from chilly to spring again, CARROTS, a vegetable that gets overlooked so often, gets top billing. Like how often do we take the time to really appreciate carrots for their fresh crispiness?
Let’s talk carrots. Today’s salad is not the first carrot salad I’ve posted on my blog, and it definitely won’t be my last. Carrots are my go to. How could they not be? They are cheap, available year-round, and tasty.
Carrots for Eyesight – Fact or Fiction? I grew up with my parents telling me carrots would help my eyesight. I was skeptical. Turns out, they were correct. The eyes are a storehouse for lutein, a carotenoid found in carrots and is concentrated in the retina and lens. There is research that a higher dietary intake of lutein is related to reduced risk of cataracts and age-specific macular degeneration. Lutein is able to protect the eyes from light-induced oxidative damage and aging.
Firm vegetables such as carrots hold up well and act as flavour absorbers, especially flavours hailing from my Indian spice box and cupboard. This a great make ahead recipe because it can hang outside of the fridge, tastes better after a few hours, and there is nothing to fuss with on arrival. No assembly required. Simple, delicious, and satisfying – my kind of food enjoyed both inside and out, alfresco style.
So how to create this beauty of a dish? All you need is a vegetable peeler to make this recipe, which is just as delicious. Easy, but little bit time-consuming. By the way, when I say time-consuming I mean 15 minutes (I suppose that is not so time-consuming after all). I am not a fan of peeling carrots into ribbons, but I do it for this salad only because it is so beautiful.
Low in calories and high in antioxidants. Enjoy this Carrot Ribbon Salad as a starter or as a side with paneer, tofu, chicken, fish, or steak.
1 lb. peeled carrots (If available use multi coloured)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons pomegranate vinegar (or substitute 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons olive oil (more for drizzling)
½ tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 tsp sugar
Sprinkling of toasted black and white sesame seeds and ground chilli powder (optional, but delicious)
Peel the carrots, then shave them with the vegetable peeler into long, thin ribbons; you’ll have about 4 cups. In a medium bowl, toss the carrots with 1 tablespon. of the lemon juice and 1/4 tsp. salt and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add the carrot strands, toss to combine, sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds and chilli powder, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.
Jessie Kaur Lehail is the author of Indian Influence, a blog that shares food stories, recipes, and photography that reflect a love for meshing global flavours and South Asian aesthetics. Find more food stories at indianinfluence.ca