When I host meals for friends, I like to serve a lot of different salads. I enjoy the prep—I usually listen to audiobooks while I do my thing in the kitchen. And raw salads save a lot of time since I don’t have to cook and there are not pots to clean. It also seems like most people are so accustomed to making lettuce-focused salads (I personally hate washing lettuce, and so avoid it), and so the vegetable salads that I prefer tend to get a lot of surprised compliments.
I also think that fresh vegetables look so much more beautiful than cooked vegetables.
This recipe is one of my newer inventions…and it has been the most popular at recent meals. Not only is it healthy and simple (my recipe “musts”)…it looks complicated and, depending on what tools you use, it can be a great upper body workout to boot!
This “confetti” salad is easy to scale up for larger crowds. And I suggest you make plenty! The leftovers are tasty and flexible. Today for lunch, for example, I mixed in a pouch of tuna with a dollop of vegan mayo. My lunch was ready in less than two minutes. Okay…enough chatter. Time to get prepping!
Helpful: I don’t want to scare you, but I suggest wearing kitchen prep gloves to protect your hands against accidental scrapes in the prep process.
6 multi-color organic carrots (I buy these by the bag, and I used two each of orange, red and yellow). Variation: Use 4 carrots and one raw beet.
2 tsp. (adjust to taste) Middle-Eastern BBQ spice blend. (The brand I have is Pereg; if they don’t have something similar in your store then use ½ tsp each of dried cumin, paprika, garlic powder and ¼ tsp each of allspice and coriander)
1 whole lemon (organic preferred since you’ll be using the zest)
½ cup dried currants
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves (Note: If you have leftover cilantro from the bunch, wash, dry and freeze the rest. It will still taste like fresh in recipes. I find dried cilantro has no flavor.)
1-½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
- Wash carrots with a vegetable brush but don’t peel (you don’t want to lose all of the nutrients in the skin). Trim off just the tip, but leave the stub at the wide end for easier handling in the next step.
- Cut the carrots using a mandolin (this is where the upper body workout comes in). For each carrot make thin round slices half-way up the carrot. When the circumference of the carrot gets wider, adjust the blade to julienne the rest. I place my mandolin over a dinner plate, and then scrape the results into a bowl.
Note: If you don’t have a mandolin, you could do a combo of thin slices with a knife and grating the balance with a hand grater (still a good workout!). Or you could use the appropriate blades in a food processor (fast…but no workout).
Also: If you are using a beet instead of some of the carrots, only julienne the beet; rounds would be too big.
- Wash the lemon. Then zest the peel over the carrots.
- Quarter the lemon (make your cuts on the length rather than the middle), remove the seeds, and squeeze the juice over the carrots.
- Add dried currants, olive oil, spices and cilantro. Mix to combine.
If you love fresh carrots, click here for five more heavenly carrot recipes.