You know when out of good-will and the determination to eat more vegetables, you cram your fridge drawer with seasonal veg, dreaming of the colourful concoctions you will create. A few days later that drive is slightly plummeted by mild laziness and the fact that your kids will start picking all the goodness out of their plates, pulling up faces like as if you want to torture them with it. Truthfully, it’s not very exciting chewing on a carrot stick when your tummy is rumbling, while hoping you’d find a more tempting treat lurking around the fridge. But no! All vegetables! Having found a neglected half a bag of carrots today, I was determined to make something exciting out of it.
Besides regularly turning carrots into these tempting soups miso carrot or carrot and cumin, today’s Spicy Moroccan Salad might soon become one of the those staple salads that I’ll go back to every now and then. With the addition of thick Greek yoghurt and roasted walnuts, it was all I needed for my supper. The salad satisfied my all round palate of craving something sweet, savoury and sour.
Note: Preserved lemons are not essential here, however they do add a lovely sour kick if you can find some. A well stocked middle-eastern market may supply these; I was lucky to find some in our local market. In the UK you can buy them from this website here.
Spicy Moroccan carrot salad – Serves 2 (or 1 if you’re me)
(Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)
- 500 g carrots
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to finish
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed (optional)
- 1 medium red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 small spring onion, finely chopped
- Small pinch of ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ginger, freshly grated (or pinch of ground ginger)
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- 1 ½ teaspoons chopped preserved lemon skin
- 20 g chopped fresh coriander, plus extra to garnish
- 60ml Greek yoghurt, chilled
- Roasted walnuts (optional) *
Peel the carrots and cut them, depending on their size, into cylinders or semi-circles 1cm thick; all the pieces should end up roughly the same size. Place in a large saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes or until tender but still crunchy. Drain in a colander and leave to dry out.
Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan and sauté the onion for 12 minutes on a medium heat until soft and slightly brown. Add the cooked carrots to the onions, followed by the remaining ingredients, apart from the fresh coriander and yoghurt. Remove from the heat. Season with salt, stir well and leave to cool.
Before serving, stir in the coriander, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of yoghurt, a drizzle of olive oil and garnished with extra coriander.
For a vegan option, eliminate the yoghurt and serve with roasted walnuts. Enjoy!
* To make roasted walnuts, simply pan fry a handful of walnuts on the lowest heat possible for about 5-10 minutes, until slightly golden. There is no need to add extra oil.