Coriander, cilantro recast classic carrot salad

For the past few weeks — months even — choruses of “peanut butter and jelly!” … “quesadilla!” have answered my question of “what would you like for lunch?”

Until this past week’s: “Salad!” … “with croutons!”

Adaptable mom that I am, I did not have salad greens washed, ready to dress and garnish with croutons. And we’re not much for prewashed spring mixes in our house.

The best that I could do on the fly was grate a carrot, usually served as carrot sticks, squeeze some lemon juice on top and sprinkle with a few french-fried onions. Not what he had in mind, my 2 ½-year-old pointed out. I had reasoned that my kids are known to eat almost anything with a spritz of lemon on top.

But the exercise did put me in the mood for a more refined version of carrot salad, and not just the old carrot-raisin concoction tossed with mayonnaise in which I usually substitute plain yogurt for extra tang.

Right on cue, I saw this recipe from the Kansas City Star that incorporates one of my favorite spices, coriander seeds, and increases the health profile of the dish — not to mention its vibrant color — with turmeric. Dry-roasted peanuts lend more crunch, but I’d consider roasted cashews or pistachios.

Tribune News Service photo

Cilantro-Carrot Salad

1 scant teaspoon coriander seeds

1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely minced

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt, to taste

1 pound carrots, peeled and grated (about 4 cups)

1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts

In a small skillet, over medium high heat, toast the coriander seeds and toss frequently until fragrant. Remove skillet from heat and allow seeds to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, turmeric, red-pepper flakes and olive oil.

Place cooled coriander seeds in a mortar and coarsely crush using pestle. Add coriander to dressing. Season lightly with salt and whisk to combine.

Place carrots in a large glass bowl. Drizzle dressing over all and toss to coat carrots evenly. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or longer. Toss with the cilantro and peanuts just before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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