While carrots have never been my favorite vegetable, I find that I like them much more when other people prepare them. I recall a light and fresh parsley and carrot salad my friend Heather made for a lovely al fresco lunch years ago, which I could never quite duplicate. More recently, my sister-in-law, Shada, made this delicious creation when I was visiting family in Philadelphia. According to Shada, this recipe is inspired by the blog Everybody Likes Sandwiches, which credits its origination to Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in Around My French Table.
SERVES 6 TO 8 AS A SIDE DISH / PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES / TOTAL TIME: 15 MINUTES
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 Medjool dates, soaked in ¼ cup hot water and pureed into a paste
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 pound carrots, assorted colors, shredded (either with the shredding blade on a food processor or with a box grater)
¼ cup chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
3 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, date paste, and cider vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil. (You can also combine in a small food processor.)
2. In a large bowl, combine the carrots, parsley, almonds, and green onions. Add the dressing and toss. Serve chilled (see Note).
NOTE: This salad holds up well as leftovers and travels well for potlucks and picnics.
VARIATION: Currants or raisins add an additional sweet kick.
Typically oozing with lots of mayonnaise and a hefty amount of sugar, the average broccoli salad isn’t the most suitable for a healthy diet. Here we change up the flavors a bit, but still hold true to that bacon tradition. Why mess with a good thing?
SERVES 6 TO 8 / PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES / TOTAL TIME: 10 MINUTES
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
½ cup raisins
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup finely minced red onion
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)
½ cup mayonnaise, store-bought or homemade
¼ cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
5 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped, bacon drippings reserved
Salt and black pepper
1. In a large bowl, mix together the broccoli, raisins, sunflower seeds, onion, and pecans (if using).
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, and reserved bacon drippings.
3. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and mix in the bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
VARIATION: You can easily convert this into an Asian-style salad by making a few changes: Swap out the red onion for 3 or 4 thinly sliced green onions. Omit the bacon. Substitute 2 tablespoons sesame seeds for the sunflower seeds. For the dressing, use rice vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and add 2 teaspoons sesame oil along with the mayo.