Not your mother-in-law's carrot raisin salad, this Moroccan Carrot Salad with Chickpeas and Feta features crunchy,
no-fuss bagged matchstick carrots with flavors that dance on your tongue - a tahini and harissa dressing, salty, tangy feta, sweet pitted dates, nourishing chickpeas, umami preserved lemon, crunchy pistachios, fresh cilantro and scallion. Made in less than 30 minutes (with no mayo!), this carrot salad is a "home run!"
Do you have childhood memories of a food you really didn't care for? I do. Carrot salad with raisins and mayonnaise. Maybe pineapple too. YUCK. My mother didn't make it, but it seemed to show up at every family and church potluck. Of course my parents insisted I "eat some of everything."
I think I was traumatized by that salad, and didn't even consider making my own carrot salad until a couple of years ago when I was working on Moroccan Carrot Salad With Lemon Dressing. Funny thing: I take that salad to potlucks, and it's always a hit!
Featured Ingredient: Matchstick Carrots
Once upon a time, carrots were only available in whole form. Now you can find "baby" carrots (that aren't really baby carrots), carrot chips, carrot sticks, and the matchstick carrots used in this recipe. They're a great time saver.
I wouldn't really call them "matchstick" carrots. The term refers to a very thin cut the size of a matchstick. The Bolthouse Farms Organic Premium Matchstick carrots that I use are definitely bigger than grated carrots, but not the size of matchsticks.
I have wielded my
crazy knife skills to create matchstick carrots, zucchini, cucumber, etc. It's not quick. Dumping a bag of matchstick carrots into a bowl is very quick! 😀 They're an amazing time saver! Make sure your your bag of carrots is 100% carrots!
While we do eat an occasional leafy green salad, we prefer salads with more substance as in my Greek Zoodle Salad and my Spring Vegetable Freekeh Salad. Going back to potluck dishes, leafy green salads don't always work out well, especially when dressed in advance. Using matchstick carrots as a base means your salad makes the trip and spends time on the table waiting for hungry people without losing its crisp, fresh appeal. Win!
Making Moroccan Carrot Salad with Chickpeas and Feta
I always start by making the dressing or vinaigrette for my salads. This Harissa Tahini Vinaigrette involves combining a few ingredients (ones I always have on hand) either whisked or blended. So, make the vinaigrette, and then proceed with the carrot salad...
Add all of the salad ingredients to a good-sized salad bowl with the exception of the toasted and chopped pistachios (or other nuts) and the chopped herb(s). Pour the vinaigrette over top, then toss. Garnish the salad with the toasted pistachios and herb(s) just prior to serving if possible.
This Moroccan Salad with Chick Peas and Feta is a great side dish, but also makes a light vegetarian meal. It also keeps well in the refrigerator for lunch the next day... Trust me!