Savory Moroccan carrot salad

Last year, when I was in Marrakech with a good friend, we had a Moroccan carrot salad among other mezze before a delicious chicken and olive tagine. My first bite of these tart, tender carrots gave me heart-eyes. I was in food love. The other salads, all made of cooked and marinaded veggies and pulses like zucchini, roasted peppers and lentils.

Moroccan mezze salads

I’ll be working on some of them in the future.

Sometimes the cold starter plates are the best part of the meal. Just enough to pique your hunger, they’re often addictive flavor-bombs. Spicy Korean kimchi, creamy Mexican guacamole, smoky Turkish baba ghanoush… and earthy, zesty Moroccan carrots.

Moroccan mezze salads

Even in the still heat of Morocco in August, it was hard to stop myself from gorging on tangy, spiced vegetables and stay level-headed about the tagine to come.

I’m still not sure mine will ever live up in my mind to the carrots we enjoyed on a Marrakesh rooftop on that hot summer’s night, but I don’t want them to. Traveling is about oversized memories of otherwise mundane moments.

Moroccan carrot salad

You don’t need a full on North African meal to enjoy your own Moroccan carrot salad – it’s a lovely side to have for lunch with a sandwich, or with a roast beast (or veggie beast) for dinner.

The carrots need at least a few hours to soak up all that spice and tang. It’s worth it to be rewarded with complexity that’s hard to find in a typical cooked carrot.

I compared a few different ways of making these, and steaming and boiling gave me the same results in texture and flavor, so I prefer to steam them to keep nutrients from being thrown away with the boiled water.

Moroccan carrot salad

This recipe was adapted from one in a Moroccan cookbook that, unfortunately, I don’t know the name of. (But thanks to Mimouna for sharing it with me!)

Serves 4

Savory Moroccan carrot salad

10 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

2 hr, 20 Total Time

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On the Counter

  • 500 g (~1 lb) carrots
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 clove finely minced garlic
  • fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp milled or table salt

What to Do

  • Lightly salt the carrots.
  • Steam them for 5-7 minutes, until crispy-tender.
  • Mix up a dressing with the olive oil, cumin, paprika, garlic, salt, lemon juice and vinegar
  • Rinse the carrots under cold water, then shake them as dry as you can.
  • Toss them with the dressing and fresh parsley.
  • Let the carrots marinade in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but they will taste better if you can leave them in for longer. I actually prefer them even more the next day.

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