Bold and complex flavors make Moroccan Carrot Raisin Salad the best carrot raisin salad. Citrusy/sharp with preserved lemon, moderately spicy with harissa, and tart/sweet with pomegranate molasses. It’s definitely the uniquely flavored dressing that makes this salad such a standout.
The dressing’s assertive flavors combined with the crisp carrots and plump raisins creates an appealing side salad perfect for summer picnics and barbecues. For those of us who prefer vegetable centric meals, Moroccan Carrot Raisin Salad can serve as a meal in itself. Satisfying and flavorsome.
June’s busting out all over
Sunday I joined a dear friend for a walk. We walked in an area about 10 minutes from downtown with a river running through it. We’ve walked there a number of times before. But this time, the profusion of purple, pink and white flowers lining the trail along with lush grasses and canopied trees was breathtakingly beautiful and energizing. June’s truly busting out all over.
Only a small amount of silken-textured preserved lemon gives a citrusy/salty kick and a hint of the exotic to every dish you use them in. Throughout Morocco and much of the Middle East, preserving lemons began as a means to enjoy lemons long past their season.
So easy to do: combine whole lemons in a brine of salt and lemon juice. After fermenting them for a month they’re ready to use. Click here for my easy to follow recipe for making your own preserved lemons.
Traditionally, harissa, the fiery, vibrant Tunisian and Moroccan chile paste, consists of a blend of hot chilies, garlic, cumin and coriander. Look for it in either jars or tubes in specialty food stores. As I was unable to find harissa in my small town, I ordered a ground harissa spice from Williams Sonoma. From reading the comments on their site, this blend may not be quite as spicy as other versions of harissa. So, of course, add more if you prefer a spicier salad.
An important key to the standout flavor of the Moroccan Carrot Raisin Salad dressing, comes from uniquely tart and sweet Pomegranate Molasses. Pomegranate molasses is so delicious on its own that you may find yourself wanting to eat it with a spoon. Find it in Middle Eastern stores, some well-stocked supermarkets, and of course, online. This is the brand I like as its only ingredient is pomegranate juice. It’s also very easy to make pomegranate molasses at home.
- Gently simmer 2 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan for about an hour. Reduce the juice to ½ cup of thick, dark red essence of pomegranate.
- Cool pomegranate molasses completely before transferring it to an airtight jar. It can be stored in the refrigerator for many months.
For the best flavor and to plump and soften the raisins, prepare the salad without the parsley and cheese. Let the salad sit 1-4 hours. Stir in the finely chopped parsley and crumbled cheese just before serving. The recipe can easily be halved or doubled.
Thank you, Susan Feniger, for inspiring this recipe.
Makes 12 cups Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes plus 1-4 hours for the carrots to marinate and the raisins to soften
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons harissa spice powder or paste, or more to taste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Peel from half of a medium preserved lemon
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds carrots, coarsely shredded in a food processor (about 10 cups)
1 cup raisins
1 cup finely chopped parsley
¼ pound feta or soft goat cheese, crumbled
- Place the grated carrots and raisins in a large bowl.
- Put all the dressing ingredients in a blender jar. Blend until smooth.
- Toss the carrot raisin mixture with the salad dressing.
- For the best flavor and to plump and soften the raisins, let the salad marinate for 1-4 hours.
- Toss in the finely chopped parsley and crumbled cheese just before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve Moroccan Carrot Raisin Salad lightly chilled or at room temperature.
Thank you, Tracy Olson for both of your beautiful photos of Carrots from the Farmers’ Market https://www.flickr.com/photos/tracy_olson/1317109526