Moroccan cooking is one of my favorites. I love the mouthwatering tagines, the use of olives, preserved lemons, and the mix of savory and sweet ingredients. Their brilliant use of spices can turn the most humble ingredients into an impressive feast.
It’s traditional to begin a Moroccan meal with a variety of appetizers including cold vegetable salads like a Moroccan Carrot Salad. There are as many variations to this salad as there are cooks making them. Many recipes call for more paprika and garlic then I have used here. Some omit the cinnamon and most use lemon juice in the mixture to dress a batch of boiled carrots. I roast the carrots for this salad. At first it was a practical matter – my oven was already in use so I threw them on a roasting pan. Roasting vegetables concentrates its flavor, and roasting the carrots with the orange peel and fresh orange juice adds a pleasant sweetness that complements the intense flavor of the dressing. If you prefer a more traditional preparation, omit the orange juice and sliced orange peel and mix the dressing with lemon juice. But do try roasting the carrots.
Roasted Moroccan Carrot Salad
For a raw salad grate the carrots instead of roasting and mix with the dressing.
2 pounds carrots (2-3 bunches)
1 orange, juiced with peel reserved
1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or mint
pinch of cayenne pepper
sea salt to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut the carrots on the diagonal into 1/4 inch thick slices and mix in a bowl with the juice of half an orange and the coconut or olive oil. Reserve the remainder juice for the dressing (about 2 tablespoons). Cut the orange peel into thin slices and mix with carrots.
3. Pour the carrots and orange peel mixture into a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes.
4. Whisk the reserved orange juice, olive oil, and remaining ingredients.
5. Toss the dressing with the roasted carrots and orange peel.