Moroccan Carrot Salad With Lemon Dressing

This Moroccan Carrot Salad is a fresh and crunchy salad of matchstick carrots, toasted almonds, feta cheese, and sweet currants or dried cherries tossed with a sweet-tart lemon and olive oil dressing… Moroccan flavors sing in this tasty and quick side dish, and it’s perfect with kebabs, or solo for a light lunch!

A rustic white salad bowl with Moroccan Carrot Salad, and a blue and white wood salad spoon.

πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ³ Tamara Talks – Moroccan Carrot Salad Inspiration

In January 2024 as I re-write this recipe for Moroccan Carrot Salad, I contemplated leaving out the literary quote that opened this section, and our adventure that prompted this healthy salad recipe. Something had to go, so the quote is no more. However, the story of how this salad came to be may be helpful to a reader, so it stayed.

I tend to focus most of my recipes on main dishes. However, I find myself avoiding mundane sides (think garden salad with vinaigrette) like “the plague,” and constantly find myself looking for new and interesting ways to complement the main dish. This Moroccan Carrot Salad was one such creative moment that instantly became a favorite.

Labor Day weekend in 2015 (just weeks after moving to steamy south Texas, Mark and I had an adventure . We took our new tandem kayak to the Corpus Christi area for its maiden voyage. We travel with a tiny Aliner trailer, and space is tight. I have to plan each meal in advance, and pack carefully. The miniature refrigerator is packed tight, so fragile produce (like salad greens) just doesn’t work. Matchstick carrots (available in the produce section if you’d rather not prep your own) have proven to be perfect for camping.

A close up of the completed carrot salad with half of a lemon and a small bowl of chopped cilantro.

Paired with toasted almonds and dried currants (no refrigeration required), this dish made a perfect side for our grilled chicken breasts. The lemon dressing ingredients – fresh lemon juice, olive oil, ras el hanout, cinnamon, orange blossom water, and pomegranate molasses – got shaken up in a small mason jar before we left home.

To save on dishes, I added the currants to the dressing and let them soak while I finished the rest of the meal. Just before serving dinner, I dumped the bag of matchstick carrots into a salad bowl, added the toasted almonds, feta cheese, cilantro, and scallions, then tossed with the lemon dressing and currants. I have to say, the combination was fabulous!

The Moroccan flavor profile has become a favorite; ras el hanout and orange blossom water  (a newer addition to my well-stocked pantry) are such intriguing ingredients. There is much to love about this healthy Mediterranean cuisine! Have you had the opportunity to experience Moroccan food in a restaurant or in your own kitchen?

πŸ“‹ Ingredients Notes

Ingredients for the Moroccan lemon dressing - olive oil, lemon, shallot, spices, pomegranate molassis, and orange blossom water.

Dressing

  • lemon – You’ll need both zest and juice. Please don’t use bottled!
  • olive oil – I just happened to have lemon infused olive oil in my pantry, and I love layering flavors. Regular olive oil is fine too!
  • orange blossom water – This ingredient is optional! Orange blossom water has a long history in Mediterranean countries. It is water distilled with the blossoms from bitter orange trees, and has a complex, slightly bitter flavor. It can be found in the Middle Eastern section of supermarkets and in many ethnic grocery stores. Substitute an equal amount of orange zest if necessary.
  • pomegranate molasses – Pomegranate molasses (or syrup) is reduced pomegranate juice. Try this pomegranate molasses recipe. There really isn’t a good substitute, but you can use honey if you can’t find it, and don’t wish to make it.
  • cinnamon
  • ras el hanout – Ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice blend. Make homemade ras el hanout, buy it at many supermarkets or buy it online.
  • shallot – Red onion is the best substitute.

Salad

  • matchstick carrots – Matchstick carrots are a great time saver, but you can julienne or grate them as well.
  • dried fruit – Dried cherries are my favorite; currants are traditional. Golden raisins, goldenberries, and dates are good as well.
  • slivered almonds – I have used pistachios as well. Both are typical ingredients in Moroccan cuisine.
  • scallions
  • cilantro

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πŸ”ͺ Step-By-Step Instructions

A glass bowl with all Moroccan carrot salad ingredients, and a jar of lemon dressing.
The completed Moroccan Carrot Salad in a glass bowl with red and white spatula.
  1. Rehydrate the dried fruit – If currants (or other dried fruit) are at all dry, cover with very hot water until they soften up a bit. Drain well before adding to the salad. Conversely, you can allow them to soak in the dressing while you prepare it
  2. Make the dressing – Add the dressing ingredients to a personal blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Prep the remaining salad ingredients – Toast the almonds, dice the feta, chop the cilantro and scallions.
  4. Finish the Moroccan carrot salad – To a medium salad bowl, add the matchstick carrots, currants, toasted almonds, scallions, and cilantro. Toss with the lemon dressing. Garnish as desired and enjoy!
A white bowl of prepared Moroccan carrot salad with feta cheese and cilantro alongside lemon wedges on a wood cutting board.

❓ FAQ

How well does this carrot salad keep?

It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but keep in mind the ingredients will begin to break down in the acidic dressing. We love it for lunch the next day!

What other kinds of dried fruits can I use?

I love this salad with dried cherries, craisins, or dates!

πŸ’­ Tips

Pre-shredded carrots are a great time-saver, and available at most large grocery stores.

Orange blossom water is optional. If you’d prefer to avoid buying ingredients that you may rarely use, substitute orange zest 1:1. I find it in the “International Foods” section of my grocery store, and at the Middle Eastern market in town.

When I made the dish again at home, I made a couple of simple changes: I added a shallot to the dressing then blended it until smooth, and I topped the salad with a bit of crumbled feta. I served Moroccan Carrot Salad With Lemon Dressing with Ras El Hanout Chicken Kebabs marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, and ras el hanout, then grilled. Couscous and a crisp New Zealand sauvignon blanc rounded out this fabulous Moroccan-inspired meal. My husband is such a good sport, often facing the same dishes several times in one week as I develop recipes and shoot photos…  πŸ™‚ I have to give Mark a shout out for his unwavering support!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

πŸ‹ More Moroccan-Inspired Recipes

A rustic white wood bowl with carrots, dried fruit, scallions, cilantro, almonds, and feta.

Moroccan Carrot Salad With Lemon Dressing

This healthy Moroccan salad recipe features matchstick carrots, toasted almonds, feta, and dried fruit tossed with a bright lemon dressing. All you need is 15 minutes!
4.58 from 21 votes

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings 4 servings
Calories 232 kcal

Ingredients
  

Dressing

  • ΒΌ cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ΒΌ cup olive oil - lemon olive oil is even better
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water - optional
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
  • ΒΌ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 1 small shallot
  • Β½ teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Salad

  • 10 ounces matchstick carrots - or grated
  • ΒΌ cup currants - softened if dry
  • ΒΌ cup slivered almonds - toasted
  • 2 scallions - chopped
  • Β½ cup chopped cilantro

Garnishes

  • chopped scallions
  • chopped cilantro
  • crumbled feta - optional

Instructions

  • Add the dressing ingredients to a personal blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • To a medium salad bowl, add the matchstick carrots, currants, toasted almonds, scallions, feta, and cilantro.
  • Toss with the lemon dressing.
  • Garnish as desired and enjoy!

Notes

I buy the matchstick carrots at my local market. You can also use grated carrots. A 10 ounce bag is about 3 cups.
I keep lemon infused olive oil in my pantry, and I love layering flavors. Regular olive oil is fine too.
Orange blossom water has a long history in Mediterranean countries. It is water distilled with the blossoms from bitter orange trees, and has a complex, slightly bitter flavor. It can be found in the Middle Eastern section of supermarkets and in many ethnic grocery stores. Substitute an equal amount of orange zest if necessary.
Pomegranate molasses (or syrup) is reduced pomegranate juice. There really isn’t a good substitute, but you can use honey if you can’t find it, and don’t wish to make it.

Nutrition

Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com
Easy preserved lemon yogurt sauce in a terra cotta and red bowl.

Easy Moroccan Preserved Lemon Yogurt Sauce

A white bowl of vegan couscous, a wooden spoon, and on a wood cutting board.

Vegan Moroccan Couscous

Moroccan chicken kebabs on a copper tray along with Moroccan carrot salad.

Easy Moroccan Chicken Kebabs

My original 2016 photo of Moroccan Carrot Salad!

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23 Comments

  1. This is a fantastic recipe, no adjustments were necessary. My husband doesn’t like carrots, I told him this will be different. He loved this salad. Thank you

  2. Loved this recipe! The kids enjoyed it too and I am going to put it into the cook again pool. We adjusted the quantities in the dressing a little to suit the kids but all the elements were still there. Thank you.

  3. I love these photos Tammy – and the salad is my kind of heaven. It reminds me of something my mum used to serve up when I was a teenager.

  4. Loved this recipe! The kids enjoyed it too and I am going to put it into the cook again pool. We adjusted the quantities in the dressing a little to suit the kids but all the elements were still there. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Jane! I hope your salad as a teenager tasted better than the one I was familiar with – sweet and dressed with mayonnaise! Yuck… Fortunately it was a relative not my mom that made it regularly πŸ™‚

    1. I love rainbow carrots, and they’d be even prettier than the regular ones I’ve used in the photo! I hope you do give it a try πŸ™‚

  5. This looks so good Tamara! I love Moroccan flavours, and like you, I am not a huge fan of basic salads either. I love that you’ve used pomegranate molasses in the dressing. Isn’t it wonderful. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, I love pomegranate molasses Jennifer! When we lived in Las Cruces, I couldn’t get it, so I made my own by reducing juice. It was expensive and time consuming, but there really is no substitute!

    1. Thanks Gloria! I was excited to include your Moroccan-inspired dish… I pinned it to my tapas board, and hope to include it in a dinner party one of these days… Yum!