Monday, April 16, 2007

Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Olives and Cumin Vinaigrette

It is easy to forget that the carrot can be a stand-alone vegetable. So often it is just part of the "holy trinity," along with onions and celery, in a soup base; a colorful salad add-in; or a member of the crudite platter, whose presence there, or on any veggie tray, is taken for granted.

I reminded myself how well carrots perform as the main attraction when I made this salad. Easter put carrots in my head. I wasn't up for a rich, indulgent carrot cake, but I needed a hearty side dish, so I thought of this recipe. It is from Once Upon a Tart, a book I have mentioned a lot on this blog (like here & here), always glowingly. The recipe is one of many that I flagged with post-its.

I think chickpeas have to be my favorite bean, and I love olives. I like carrots, but like most people, I wouldn't say I "love" this particular vegetable. I may have to change that assessment now, because I love this salad. It's addictive and, as I discovered a few days after making it, highly adaptable. Toss in chicken, shrimp, avocado--whatever sounds good. Just don't take the spotlight away from the carrots, and you'll be floating.

I wasn't sure what I would turn up when I searched food blogs for "carrots," but I was not disappointed!

Ginger and cumin are perfect flavors for roasted carrots on La Tartine Gourmande.

Moroccan-Style Carrots with pine nuts on Morsels & Musings lends the vegetable to one of my favorite cuisines.

Play with texture in this Shaved Carrot and Fennel Salad from Erin's Kitchen.

Chez Megane does a classic pairing of Roast Carrots and Parsnips with Thyme (if you haven't roasted parsnips, try it; they are even sweeter than carrots!)

And just for fun, take a look at this post from Meathenge and discover the World Carrot Museum!

Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Black Olives and Cumin-Paprika Vinaigrette
Adapted from Once Upon a Tart by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau
I did not change any of the ingredients in this salad, just played with the proportions a bit. I wanted it to be a carrot salad with chickpeas, instead of vice versa, and I cut the amount of cumin in the dressing from a whopping two tablespoons down to one. This salad was gone in a flash, so double the recipe if you want some leftovers. I liked it so much that I made it again a few days later, using poached chicken instead of chickpeas and scattering avocado over the top—very delicious.

Makes 2 generous servings

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2/3 c. kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded in a food processor or coarsely grated
½ c. chopped fresh cilantro
4-5 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped

1 medium garlic clove, minced
zest of ½ lemon and juice of the whole lemon
1 tbs. ground cumin
2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
black pepper, to taste
3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, olives, carrots, cilantro and scallions. To make the vinaigrette, combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until emulsified. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. You may not need all the dressing, depending on your taste. Check the seasoning and serve or refrigerate for a few hours and let salad come back to room temperature before serving.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I'm always surprized how really sweet good carrots can be. You've made this just right it looks to me and I think I can make this just for me.

Kalyn said...

It sounds really good. I recently made something very similar to this, only it had parsley instead of cilantro and cumin was the only spice. I was amazed at how great the taste was. I'm bookmarking this one to try too.

Kristen said...

This looks so interesting...what a different recipe. Can't wait to give it a try!

jackpeter said...

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