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Carrot Salad

April 24, 2008

 

Loose Carrots

With the great weather we are having I am even more anxious to eat food that tastes of summer. This recipe for carrot salad is a standby that is available everywhere in France. It is so simple and fresh tasting that it is hard to believe it has not yet become a staple in the States.

It can be made ahead and kept it in the refrigerator for a week, making it perfect for a quick lunch or as a side for dinner. The taste is clean and light, letting you enjoy the full flavor of the carrot. The true wonder of this salad is that it can be made year round, as the ingredients are readily available. Truth be told, I tend to crave it more in the summer when I’m looking for that spark of flavor. In the winter I prefer eating carrots in soup or roasted in chunks.

 

Carrot Salad

This carrot salad has its origins in the traditional French carrot salad seasoned with a vinaigrette that I grew up with. It is very different from the richer combination of flavors of the American version, which has raisins, apples and mayonnaise mixed in.

I first made it years ago when I was eating a lot of tofu as my protein. The carrot and tofu combination worked well together. I like the addition of protein to the simplicity of the vegetable. The dressing was a lemon, ginger and olive oil combination that adds a bright spark to the tofu.

I updated this version for today, substituting feta cheese for the tofu. The feta adds protein and a sharper flavor that I like. For this version I left out the ginger in the dressing, but you should try them both.

I buy the large loose carrots that I usually find at the health food store. I find they are sweeter and moister than the smaller version, as well as a lot easier to grate.

Carrot Salad

4 carrots for 4 people – add half a large carrot per additional person
Feta 1/2 to 1 cup diced – I like the additional cheese
2 Lemons
Olive oil

Grate carrots – this is very easy in the food processor, but it can also be done with little effort by hand with a box grater – I prefer the texture of the box grater
Dice the feta cheese into small cubes
Juice 2 lemons
Add to 1/4 cup of olive oil
Blend together with a fork to emulsify the dressing, adding salt and pepper
Pour over the carrot salad and toss

Variations: Substitute firm tofu diced into cubes, and add a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger with the juice to the dressing.

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