Really...what are baby carrots?
You know that those “baby” carrots in your refrigerator aren’t really young carrots, don’t you? As much as I appreciate the convenience of those pinky-sized carrots, their flavor, and texture reminds me of Styrofoam packing peanuts. Probably because in reality they’re mature carrots, machine milled into uniform stubs.
Hopeful that all those green carrot tops were the sign of a bumper crop, I was a bit disappointed with their size. Yes, there were plenty of carrots to harvest - but they were essentially mini carrots. What they lacked in length, they more than made up for in flavor and texture- complex sweetness with a satisfying crunch.
Simple ingredients, wonderful combination
No question, home-grown carrots make this recipe extra sweet. A bag of pre-grated carrot however, will make this recipe so simple that you will make it more often. The trade-off is up to you.
For the small batch of toasted almonds needed for this recipe, I use a small, dry frying pan on the stovetop. Heat the almonds over medium heat and stir frequently until they are uniformly brown. Resist the temptation to step away from the stove -they'll scorch as soon as you turn your back! So... hang around for the 4-5 minutes it will take to toast them properly.
Sometimes you just need a go-to, easy-to-throw-together side dish. This carrot salad is just that dish. The toasted almonds add an unexpected crunch and flavor profile, while the cranberries are morsels of sweetness and color.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice about ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 bag 10-oz shredded carrots (about 3 cups)
- ⅓ slivered almonds toasted
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries, cut in half
- ⅓ cup diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.
In a large bowl stir together the salad ingredients, toss with dressing. Chill the salad for 2 hours before serving.
Agreed- nothing beats the flavor of fresh grated carrots, but this recipe can be lightening quick to make if you start with a bag of pre-shredded carrots.