A fresh and crunchy salad of matchstick carrots, toasted almonds, and sweet currants tossed with a sweet/tart lemon and olive oil based dressing... Moroccan flavors sing in my Moroccan Carrot Salad With Lemon Dressing! This is a tasty and quick side dish with a grilled chicken breast, or a perfect light lunch topped with crumbled feta cheese.
I've decided the act that cannot wait
is the important will to create
But, ah, if my belly is ignored
the pantry door I shall implore
But I've been known to reach the bed
ideas still famished in my head~~ Roman Payne, Cities and Countries
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. My Moroccan Carrot Salad With Lemon Dressing was one such creative moment that instantly became a favorite.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
Labor Day weekend, 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 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 our adventures.
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, lemon infused olive oil, ras el hanout, cinnamon, orange blossom water, and pomegranate molasses - got shaken up in a mason jar.
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, 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?
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- 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 - 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.
- 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.
- matchstick carrots - Matchstick carrots are a great time saver, but you can julienne or grate them as well.
- currants - Golden raisins, dried cherries, dates are all good options.
- slivered almonds - I have used pistachios as well.
- chopped scallion
- chopped cilantro
- crumbled feta (optional)
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- Rehydrate the currants - If currants are at all dry, cover with very hot water until they soften up a bit. Drain well before adding to the salad.
- Prep the remaining salad ingredients - Toast the almonds, chop the cilantro and scallions.
- Make the dressing - Add the dressing ingredients to a personal blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
- 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!
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... 🙂 I have to give Mark a shout out for his unwavering support!
How well does this carrot salad recipe keep? In the refrigerator, it's even better the next day. Refrigerate in an airtight container.
What other kinds of dried fruits can I use? I LOVE this salad with dried cherries or dates!
🍋 More Moroccan-Inspired Recipes
- Moroccan-Style Chicken Couscous
- Grilled Harissa Shrimp and Moroccan Couscous Salad
- Moroccan Sweet Potato Pie
- Moroccan Couscous Salad with Grilled Veggies and Chicken
- Lentil Tabbouleh With Grilled Chicken
- Baked Roccan Lamb Rolls