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Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad

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This Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad is a hearty and unique side dish with bold, vibrant flavor! A medley of warm spices and hot peppers infuse the dish with a sweet-spicy-savory taste that Moroccan food is known for. Best of all, this is a carrot salad recipe without mayonnaise- instead, we serve this warm Moroccan carrot salad with a dollop of Greek yogurt for a light and creamy finish.

Serve this carrot salad alongside our Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Dates and Preserved Lemons or with this Slow Cooked Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Lemon-Garlic Orzo. There’s really no wrong way to enjoy our spicy Moroccan carrot salad and it’s also a wonderful way to make use of homemade preserved lemons.

Spicy Moroccan carrot salad in an oval serving dish.

This salad is made with cooked carrots which gives it more of a “hearty side dish” feel than a light salad. Serve it chilled or as a warm side- either way, it’s delicious and full of flavor. Cilantro adds a fresh, citrus flavor to the dish that pairs beautifully with the Moroccan spice blend. However, if cilantro isn’t quite your thing, you can swap in arugula or parsley instead.

Our spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad is:

  • Bold and flavorful
  • Easy to make
  • Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian (if you use a vegan-friendly Greek yogurt)
  • A nutritious side dish

The Ingredients:

This carrot salad recipe without mayonnaise has a vibrant, lemony flavor that comes from the preserved lemons- a staple ingredient in Moroccan cuisine. If you haven’t ever used preserved lemons, it’s an ingredient you can typically find in most international markets or even online. But for the best -and most budget-friendly preserved lemons- learn how to easily make them at home with our Preserved Lemons recipe (it only requires three ingredients!).

Here is what you will need to make this spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad:

  • Carrots, peeled
  • Salt
  • olive oil
  • Onion, sliced
  • Jalapeño peppers or Serrano peppers
  • Garlic cloves
  • Sugar
  • Ground cumin
  • Sweet paprika
  • Cnnamon
  • Ground coriander
  • Ginger powder
  • Ground cloves
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Preserved lemon, chopped
  • Cilantro leaves or parsley, chopped
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lemons, sliced into wedges

How to Make Moroccan Carrot Salad:

This Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad recipe comes together rather quickly and is a handy recipe when you’re looking for a side with minimum prep and maximum flavor! Even though the carrots are cooked, they’re anything but mushy and still keep a crisp, yet tender texture.

How to make it:

  1. Boil the carrots: In a large pot with water and salt, boil the carrots until tender but still a little bit crisp. Drain them and run them under cold water to stop them from cooking further. (Optionally, you can cook the carrots in the Instant Pot.)
  2. Saute: Cook the onions in a large pan until they’re golden brown, about 10 minutes. Prep the peppers, then add them to the onions along with the garlic, sugar, and all of the spices. Sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Mix: Stir in the green onions, lemon juice, and preserved lemon. Add the cooked carrots, then let the mixture cool and place it in the fridge until ready to serve.
  4. To serve: Just before serving, stir in the fresh cilantro leaves. Serve this spicy Moroccan carrot salad with yogurt and lemon wedges.
Tossing carrots with spices in a skillet.
Sliced carrots in a skillet being tossed with cilantro.

Pro Tips For the Best Carrot Salad

  • Cooking the carrots: The thickness of the carrot slices will determine how long they’ll need to cook. You want them cooked but not mushy and still pretty crisp. Check on them frequently and remove them once they’re slightly tender. Run them under cold water or in ice water to stop them from cooking.
  • Tips for cutting the peppers: We recommend using gloves when slicing the jalapeño or Serrano peppers. If you don’t have gloves, make sure to wash your hands well after you slice them.
  • Oil: This carrot salad recipe without mayonnaise does call for 1/3 cup of oil, which might sound like a lot. However, it gives the salad a lot of flavor and becomes part of the dressing that you will toss the carrots in. Per serving, it equals less than 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • Adding cilantro or parsley: Stir the fresh cilantro or parsley leaves (or even arugula) into the Moroccan carrot salad at the very end, right before serving. This prevents the leaves from wilting and ensures they remain fresh and vibrant.
Moroccan carrot salad in a dish with lemon wedges.

Each bite of this spicy Moroccan carrot salad is bursting with flavor! It’s a healthy and easy side dish that can go with a variety of main courses. Warm, Moroccan spices add a special depth of flavor to these slightly crisp carrots that we know you will love!

Helpful Tools:

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Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:

  • Moroccan Lamb Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce: These juicy, tender meatballs are the best balance of sweet and spicy, with a hint of mint and a flavorful tomato sauce. Serve them for dinner or as a special starter to your main course.
  • Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette: A delicious vinaigrette that will elevate any salad, this light and tangy citrus blend is a wonderful way to make use of preserved lemons.
  • Instant Pot Carrots with Honey Glaze: An easy and delicious way to enjoy carrots! These Instant Pot carrots are sweetened with an irresistible honey glaze that we just can’t get enough of.

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adapted from Plenty by Yottam Ottolenghi

Tossing carrot salad with cilantro leaves.

Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

The carrots in this salad get cooked but they retain a crisp yet tender texture. It feels more like a hearty side dish than a light salad and you could definitely serve them as a warm side dish. The vibrant lemony flavor comes from preserved lemons and the spices make a bold statement.

If you can't handle cilantro, the salad tastes great with arugula or parsley. Just make sure you toss it in right before serving the salad so it stays crisp and vibrant.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers or serrano peppers
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon
  • 2-1/2 cups cilantro leaves or parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 to 2 lemons, sliced into wedges

Instructions

  1. Slice the carrots into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the carrots in a large pot and cover them with water. Add the salt to the water and bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the carrots for 7 to 10 minutes or until tender but still a bit crisp. Drain the carrots in a colander and run some cold water over them to stop them from cooking. Set the carrots aside to dry. 
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, prep the chili peppers. Slice them open and remove the seeds and the white membrane. Chop the peppers finely and set aside. 
  3. When the onions reach a golden brown color, add the peppers, garlic, sugar, and all six of the spices. Saute for 30 to 60 seconds until fragrant then remove from heat.
  4. Stir in the green onions, lemon juice, and preserved lemon. Let the mixture cool down then cover it and place it in the fridge until ready to serve.
  5. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro leaves. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and lemon wedges. 

Notes

  • 1/3 cup of oil may sound like a lot of oil but it becomes part of the dressing that you will toss the carrots in. It comes to less than 1 tablespoon of oil per serving and adds a great deal of flavor to the salad.
  • The amount of time you cook the carrots will depend on how large you slice them. Just check on them frequently and remove them if they are slightly tender. They will continue cooking after you take drain them so run cold water over them or plunge them in ice water.
  • We recommend using gloves when you slice the chili peppers. If you don't have gloves, make sure you wash your hands well after you slice them.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 201Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 835mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 7gSugar: 9gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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