If you have ever spent time facing all the choices at the breakfast buffet in most Israeli hotels, one salad always stands out: the Moroccan carrot salad. It’s not a surprise that this popular salad has become iconic. It’s bright! It’s full of flavor! It makes you feel healthy eating it any time of day!
What makes this salad pack a flavor punch is the chermoula (AKA charmoula), a North African sauce/marinade made with lemon, olive oil, garlic, parsley and/or cilantro, warm spices like cumin and coriander, and chili. Feel free to make it your own with more or less of any ingredient, and as much heat as you like.
Trust me, you’re going to want to make extra chermoula (all the ingredients except the carrots) to have at the ready in your refrigerator. This versatile green sauce makes a fine marinade or dressing for cooked and raw vegetables, fish and chicken. Try drizzling some in your soup, or mixing with yogurt for a quick dip.
Most versions of Moroccan carrot salad use round disks of cooked carrots — and they’re delicious! But making the salad with raw, shredded carrots pumps up the flavor and crunch while cutting the prep time. The most time-consuming part of this recipe is grating the carrots, if you choose to do it by hand on a box grater (and even that isn’t so bad), but you can also use a food processor and be done in minutes.
If all this didn’t already make this the perfect salad to prepare for a crowd, like a Shabbat meal or Passover seder, it’s best when prepared an hour or more in advance, even the day before, so the flavors have a chance to develop and blend. Hopefully you’ll have leftovers to enjoy for a few days, either on its own or over a bed of arugula or lettuce, perhaps topped with some crumbled feta.
- ⅓ cup lemon juice (from 3 medium or 2 large lemons)
- 3 tsp lemon zest
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- ½ tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
- ½ tsp ground coriander (optional)
- pinch or two of Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper (optional)
- ½-⅔ cup fresh cilantro or Italian parsley or a mix, chopped small
- 1 pound fresh carrots (5-6 medium or 3-4 large), washed and trimmed, peeled or unpeeled
- To make the dressing, zest and juice lemons into separate bowls.
- Then, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, paprika, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander and Aleppo or red pepper, if using. Add the lemon zest, cilantro and/or parsley, and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, grate the carrots on the large holes of a box grater or use a food processor with the fine shredding disk. Pour the dressing over the carrots and mix well. The salad can be served immediately, but if refrigerated for several hours, or even a day, the flavors will blend better. The salad will keep well for several days in the refrigerator