Recipe: spicy carrot salad

Spicy carrot salad recipe

Vegetables and I are not on talking terms at present. We hardly eat together now. It’s terrible. I’m working on a reconciliation, and I’m making progress, but it’s halting. There is, however, one exception: carrots. Raw carrots and I are still not sharing the same plate, but ever since I discovered this recipe for carrot salad, I have literally been making it on repeat so I always have a serving or two in the fridge. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I am having a love affair with cooked carrots (I am also roasting carrots with a newfound abandon).

I love this salad so much that I thought I should share it. It’s based on an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty, which I am dipping in and out of with enjoyment. I have made some amendments to his recipe, though, and I can’t imagine eating the salad without them. One thing, though: if, like me, you play fast and loose with amounts of spices (I find measuring them in increments of spoonfuls quite restrictive and counter-intuitive) then at least don’t skimp on the cumin (I have kept it the same as the original, as with all the spice quantities) – to me, it really makes this salad and complements the carrots as much as the salad does any meal I have it with.

Note: this looks like a lot of ingredients, but the majority are spices. Once you have those, then it is very straightforward, so please don’t be put off by the seemingly long list! I prepare all the ingredients first – chopping, grating, peeling et al – and then it’s a simple task from then.

Here is my version of it, and if you make it I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Recipe: Spicy Carrot Salad


1kg carrots, peeled and cut into 1 cm chunks (all the pieces should be roughly the same size)
50-60ml olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp honey (more to taste if you like)
3 garlic cloves, crushed or grated
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Small handful of sultanas, rinsed
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped preserved lemon skin (see note below)
Fresh coriander, to serve (optional)
Chilled Greek yoghurt/Skyr

Spicy carrot salad recipe

The grated garlic, chopped preserved lemon skin, and chopped red onion

Spicy carrot salad recipe

Preserved lemon skin

Note on preserved lemons: I bought mine from Spain on a visit, but you can buy them from Waitrose, or a specialist deli – or alternatively, you can make your own following the recipe here or here.


1 – Place the carrots in a saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes – the carrots should be tender but still crunchy. Drain and leave the carrots to dry in a colander.

Spicy carrot salad recipe

Boil the carrots in salted water until tender but still crunchy

Spicy carrot salad recipe

Drain the carrots in a colander

2 – Heat the olive oil in a large pan on a medium heat and sauté the onion until soft and slightly brown (about 10 minutes).

3 – Add the carrots to the onions, and then the remaining ingredients. Stir it all well to distribute the spices over the carrots, and remove from the heat. Leave to cool.

Spicy carrot salad recipe

The spices, clockwise from the top: paprika, ground cumin, cloves, ground ginger, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, and, centre, black pepper

4 – Before serving, stir in the coriander if desired. Serve warm or cold with a generous dollop of thick yoghurt (I find it very spicy without the yoghurt, so it’s the perfect balancing ingredient).

Spicy carrot salad recipe

The finished dish – I love it as a side dish or small plate, or even as a snack just by itself


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