This carrot salad brings a burst of colour and freshness to your next barbecue. Crisp raw carrot, fresh herbs, and sweet explosions of sultana or currant wrapped lovingly in a light but creamy dressing, its a wonderful change from the usual salad side dishes. This salad is really simple and quick to put together and made its with just a few ingredients so there’s really no fuss. It will soon become a staple at your place too.
‘Twas soon after Christmas,
You could tell we’d been slacking,
The freezer was empty,
The vege drawer lacking…
I adore Christmas holidays. Not so much because of Christmas itself, but more for the much needed break from routine that the extended time off brings. With two small children and two full time jobs, our life can be pretty busy. We need to be relatively structured during the week, and organised in the weekends, if we actually want to achieve anything. This means menu planning, shopping lists, meal prep, co-ordinated calendars… We’re all pretty much over it by the end of the year.
This year over Christmas we treated ourselves to three weeks holiday. Just a stay-cation, but three glorious weeks of no routine.
But we enjoyed our break from the routine just a little too much. By the time we ran out of Christmas ham, it was obvious we had lost some of our structure. We hadn’t been near the butcher or supermarket in several days. The freezer held nothing but some items of suspect origin. The vegetable drawer in the fridge contained only a few carrots and a sad cucumber end. Even the normally over-flowing pantry was a bit patchy.
I created this carrot salad out of necessity to begin with. It was dinner time, and we needed something fresh. As it was a public holiday the shops were all closed. It was too hot (and too boring) to serve up frozen peas. Something with carrots was really the only option.
This carrot salad was such a delight to eat we’ve made it several times since. The gently spiced dressing with cumin and coriander made this carrot salad a great accompaniment to the tandoori chicken Mum prepared at a recent family dinner. Its wonderful with barbecued lamb and sausages but also satisfying enough to enjoy simply on its own.
I think its the dressing in this carrot salad that makes it such a hit. Cumin, coriander and honey are a perfect match with the crisp, naturally sweet carrot and bursts of currants or sultana. So fresh with a wonderful crispness, this carrot salad is a great change from the usual coleslaw or green salad side dishes.
Carrot salad with currants and toasted caraway seeds
- 2 tbsp currants
- 1 tbsp sultanas
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds optional
- 3 carrots
- 1 tbsp garlic chives
- 2 tbsp italian (flat leaf) parsley
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup greek yoghurt unsweetened
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
If using, place the caraway seeds into a small, cold pan and toast over a medium heat until fragrant (around 4-5 minutes). Make sure you keep an eye on them as they will catch easily. Set aside to cool.
To make the dressing, mix the mayonnaise and yoghurt together in a small bowl until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Set aside.
Finely chop the garlic chives and parsley and add to the carrots.
Drain the currants and sultanas and add these to the carrots as well. Sprinkle the toasted caraway seeds on to the carrots, if using.
Gently toss the carrot and other ingredients together to combine. Pour over the dressing and mix until the carrot is coated with the dressing.
The caraway seeds in this recipe are entirely optional, though they do add a nice nuttiness to the finished salad. I find a runny honey is the easiest to use when making salad dressing. But if you have a hard honey, place the tsp of honey into a small bowl and rest the bowl in another bowl of hot water to melt the honey before putting the dressing together. The salad is best eaten straight away, but can also be refrigerated for a few hours before serving. If not eaten straight away, you may find that the carrots excrete a little water. If so, simply stir the salad well again before serving.