I have been gushing in the margins about David Lebovitz’s carrot salad (pardon! salade de carottes râpées) since I made it for the first time four years ago. It’s exquisite in its simplicity, just lemon juice, olive oil, a pinch of sugar, some salt, pepper, and rough-chopped parsley, all applied in that old-fashioned taste-as-you-go method that basically guarantees it will be perfectly seasoned when you’re done. (You do this with everything you cook, right? Yeah, I forget too.) And this week, as the carrots are towered high at markets, was the week I finally wanted to give it its due. But then I started thinking about that carrot soup we talked about in the early days of 2013, which we finished with a lemony-tahini swirl and topped with cumin and sea salt roasted chickpeas and how fantastically filling it was, a real meal in a bowl, and decided we needed a fresh spring-summer spin on it.
I have zero regrets. While no carrot salad could or should replace the perfection of the French classic, this is equally deserving of a place in the annals, right alongside this harissa, feta and mint stunner a lovely person sent me four years ago. Zinging with lemon, nutty with tahini, flecked with parsley, topped with almost smoky roasted chickpeas and then some chopped salted pistachios, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bowl of grated carrots with so much complexity, so much to consider.
Along with you and your best summer cheer, of course, I think it would be welcome at any cook-out, maybe with some lamb skewers or even just with grilled pita wedges. On a weeknight, you could pile it atop some leafy greens for a more meal-like salad or serve it with the sesame-spiced turkey meatballs from my cookbook (which Orangette did a lovely lamb riff on recently). Or, for a lunch salad at work, keep the chickpeas separate and sprinkle them on as croutons before you eat it. It’s not a contest or anything, but obviously, your lunch bowl will be the prettiest.
Carrots, previously: avocado salad with carrot-ginger dressing, carrot cake pancakes, carrot cake with maple-cream cheese frosting, carrot salad with harissa, feta and mint, carrot soup with miso and sesame, carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas and pickled carrot sticks, roasted carrot and avocado salad
One year ago: Bowties with Sugar Snaps, Lemon and Ricotta
Two years ago: Strawberries and Cream Biscuits
Three years ago: Fudge Popsicles
Four years ago: Rustic Rhubarb Tarts and Scrambled Egg Toast
Five years ago: Raspberry Buttermilk Cake and Slaw Tartare
Six years ago: 30 Ways To Be a Good Guest and Haricot Vert with Shallots
Seven years ago: Coconut Pinkcherry Yogurt
Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas and Salted Pistachios
1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste
Roast chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chickpeas with one tablespoon olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed.
Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning; don’t worry if it tastes a little sharp on the lemon, it will marry perfectly with the sweet grated carrots.
Assemble salad: Place grated carrots in large bowl and toss with parsley. Mix in 2/3 of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas (you’ll have extra and if you’re like us, won’t regret it) and pistachios and dig in.
Do ahead: Salad keeps well in the fridge for two days, however, I’d add the chickpeas and pistachios right before serving, so they don’t get soft.