A salad is the perfect way to showcase heirloom carrots in all their beauty. They come in an amazing array of colors — deep purple, yellow, red, white, peach and of course orange. I couldn’t resist when I saw the beautiful rainbow of carrots at the farmers market. Shaving them into paper-thin ribbons is a great way to showcase their gorgeous colors. They make a stunning salad — just look at these beauties!
Plus they taste awesome. Heirloom carrots are mild, sweet and astoundingly flavorful. I’m convinced there’s less of that “carroty” taste. Which is fabulous news for those of us who aren’t really into carrots. You know, those of us who only eat them because we know how good they are for us.
I grew up being told how important it was to eat raw carrots, what seemed like, every day — yes, thanks to their crazy high beta-carotene content (vitamin A) – something that is very important for eye health — especially for kids, like I was, who love to read until all hours of the night, in the dark.
To get the most of their vitamin content, keep in mind when preparing your carrots, whether for cooking them or eating them raw, don’t peel the skin. Just like a number of vegetables, a lot of the nutritional value is just below the skin, so instead of peeling, choose organic and just give the skin a good scrub or using a paring knife to lightly scratch away the surface.
I paired these beautiful carrots with Cara Cara oranges, since not only do they have a gorgeous ruby color, but they are fleshy and sweeter than most oranges (comparable to tangerines), completely seedless, and really juicy. You’ll find them available at the market from December to April.
This super simple and delicious salad is really quick to prepare and pairs beautifully with grilled fish or couscous. If you don’t have multi-hued carrots on hand, orange carrots will also do the trick!
Heirloom Carrot Salad with Cara Cara Oranges
Serves 4, as a side
For the salad:
2 Cara Cara pink oranges (also called Pink Navels), segmented, juice reserved
8 organic heirloom carrots, scrubbed and using a vegetable peeler, shaved lengthwise into ribbons
a few sprigs flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
roasted sesame seeds, garnish
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons almond oil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon honey
1. To segment the oranges: cut the top and bottom off the first orange so that you can stand it on a cutting board. Using a small, sharp knife, work your way around the orange, cutting off the peel and pith in strips so the juicy flesh is exposed. Then, holding the peeled orange over a bowl, slice down as close as you can to the sides of each membrane to release the fruit segments. Drop these into the bowl as you go, along with the juice that is released. Repeat with the other orange.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients, along with any juice you’ve collected from segmenting the oranges.
3. In a serving bowl, add the carrots and orange segments; toss to mix. Add the parsley to the salad along with the dressing, toss, garnish with sesame seeds and serve.