In the depths of Second Winter (just after Fool’s Spring), the desire for something bright and tasty is strong. This Morrocan-inspired carrot salad is perfect; healthy, lemony carrots and chickpeas with the salty feta and pistachios and a nice hit of sweetness from the dates and pomegranate arils.

This carrot salad (or something very similar to it) is served at Cluny Bistro, and when I was working for the Distillery District it was one of my go-to takeout lunches from the boulangerie (in part because their Waldorf salad inexplicably has blue cheese in it, making this the only hearty to-go salad that I’d eat). I spent many hours contemplating the ingredients and looking for similar recipes online. The versions I’ve found that are ‘authentic’ Jewish-Moroccan carrot salad are called Shlata Chizo, but I can’t seem to find a translation of those words (Google translate thinks it’s Scottish Gaelic, but has no answer for what the words could mean – if you have any clue, please let me know).

So while these flavours do remind me of meals in Morocco, the sweet and savoury together with tangy lemon, it’s at best a fragrant and flavourful homage, not a faithful rendition of anything Moroccans are eating (that I’m aware of).

Feel free to adjust amounts for your personal taste; it would also be good with some grated lemon rind, or more carrots (if you’ve got a lot of carrots to use up), or with currants or raisins instead of dates.

I’ll note that sumac (tangy and delicious) is available at some major Canadian grocery store chains in the spice section and is often used in Middle Eastern recipes, and that if pomegranates aren’t available in your produce section, you can get frozen pomegranate arils at many major Canadian grocery stores (which is what I’ve got in the photos; not as pretty or quite as tangy, but they still do the trick). Pre-shelled pistachios are convenient, but not as delicious or as pretty a colour of green; they work just fine, though.

Moroccan-Inspired Carrot Salad

Serves 4-6, 20 min prep, 0 minutes cooking

Ingredients

Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sumac
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
salt and pepper

Salad

2 1/2 or 3 cups shredded carrot (probably 4-5 regular-sized carrots)
1 small red onion
1 can chickpeas
6 dates
feta cheese
fresh cilantro
pomegranate seeds
ground pistachios

Directions

  1. Mix dressing ingredients together, whisk to combine, and set aside.
  2. Peel carrots and shred them until you’ve got about 2 1/2 – 3 cups; add to medium-sized bowl.
  3. If using canned chickpeas, drain canning liquid and rinse in cool water. Drain well; add to bowl.
  4. Dice onion; add to bowl.
  5. Dice dates; add to bowl.
  6. Mix to combine, adding well-mixed dressing.
  7. If you are not serving immediately, but setting aside portions for lunches, do so now and complete the following steps when about to eat the salad.
  8. If serving immediately, chop cilantro and add to the mixture. Stir to combine. Extra cilantro can be kept in the fridge with its stems in a glass of water for at least a week.
  9. Portion into bowls, topping with crumbled feta, pomegranate seeds, and coarsely-chopped pistachios. Alternately, add toppings to serving bowl and mix to combine.
  10. Portions set aside should last 4-5 days in a tightly-sealed container in the fridge. If left overnight, the carrots’ orange will dull a bit, but the flavours will meld better, so it’s not a big loss unless you’re worried about presentation.

Find more delicious recipes on my Family recipes page!

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