Carrot Almond Salad

Carrot Almond Salad Recipe


This is the sort of salad to make when you come across the tiniest of baby carrots. Carrots that fall somewhere between a chopstick and a pencil in thickness, certainly no thicker than a Sharpie pen. You typically find these carrots at farmers' markets, bushy-topped and tied in bunches. I'm the person picking through the table to find the bundles with the most little guys.

Carrot Almond Salad

This particular salad came together on a whim. A friend was visiting from New Zealand, and we decided to make savory crepes one night. I felt like we needed something vegetable-centric to go along side, and after a few minutes of grabbing for this-and-that, we ended up with slender, barely-cooked asparagus and carrots alongside lots of deeply toasted almond slices. All tossed with a jalapeno-cilantro drizzle.

A few tips...Don't overcook the carrots or asparagus, you want them to remain bright and vibrant with a bit of crunch. Also, do your best to get all the carrot and asparagus pieces roughly the same size - both length and thickness. Carrots seem to take a tad bit longer to cook then asparagus, so keep that in mind. Also, in the instructions I recommend spinning the vegetables in a salad spinner after they cook to get as much water as possible off before tossing with the dressing. It's an annoying step, but really does make a difference - the dressing ends up clinging to the vegetables better and the dressing doesn't become diluted.

This is the simple version, and I genuinely don't think it needs anything extra, but we were saying that a bit of crumbled goat or feta cheese could be good. I was also thinking a good dose of lemon zest thrown into the almond/olive oil pan after toasting would be nice.

 
 
 
 

Carrot Almond Salad

If you don't like cilantro, you might try substituting something like basil, or parsley in place of it. Also, I included a few tips in relation to making this salad in the main entry up above, so have a glance before you jump in here. Also, my friend Nikki in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania did a roasted version of this salad with the produce from her CSA box, it's posted here.

extra virgin olive oil
1 cup / 3 oz / 85g sliced almonds

a small handful cilantro, about 1/2 cup
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and de-veined
1/4+ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch / 8 oz / 225 g baby carrots, scrubbed and sliced in half lengthwise

1 bunch / 16 oz / 450 g pencil-thin asparagus, stalks trimmed, cut into 2-inch segments

squeeze of lemon, optional

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, toast the almonds in a large skillet over medium heat in a splash of olive oil along with a big pinch of salt. Let them get deeply golden, remove from heat, and set aside.

Make the dressing by combining the cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, and salt in a food processor - or alternately, in a blender or with a hand blender. Drizzle the olive oil in while pulsing, continuing until the dressing is a creamy, vibrant green. Taste, and adjust to your liking with more salt, garlic, jalapeno, etc.

Salt the boiling water generously, then add the carrots, wait 15 seconds and add the asparagus. Depending on the actual thickness of your carrots/asparagus, cook for about 30 - 60 more seconds, you want the vegetables to retain some structure and bite. Drain and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking. Spin dry in a salad spinner.

In a large bowl toss the vegetables with a generous splash of the dressing. Toss well, add 2/3 of the toasted almonds and gently toss again. Taste and adjust for seasoning. You might want to add a quick squeeze of lemon juice at this point, but it's optional. Serve family-style topped with the remaining almonds.

Serves 4-6 as a side.

Prep time: 25 min - Cook time: 5 min

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Your Comments


Satpreet Kahlon
April 29, 2010

I love carrots; although I've got to say, I'm in the habit of avoiding the small ones. Just when I think I've got a vegetable figured out, you're here to teach me a new trick or two.

Dang, Heidi. You're good. :)

 

D. @ Outside Oslo
April 29, 2010

That looks lovely. I'm so happy spring and summer produce are on their way in again!

 

chika
April 30, 2010

hi heidi,

i know for this salad you've got those pencil-thin carrots in your mind to begin with, but since i don't see them too often around here, i might just have to use regular carrots, thinly sliced. it looks too good to miss just because i don't have baby carrots!! adding crumbled goat or feta sounds great, too. thanks!

 

KateP
April 30, 2010

Love the idea for whizzing the cooked carrots in the salad spinner - it is brilliant!

........unlike you lucky people, in my part of the world we are going into winter, do you happen to be sitting on any new brussels sprout/cauliflower/cabbage recipes?? I am sure last winter there was a very localised spike in brussels sprout sales in my area given the regularity with which we made your brussels sprout, hazelnut & parmesan salad!

 

Joe @ Eden Kitchen
April 30, 2010

Oh, this salad has me pining for asparagus. I can't wait until spring rolls around down here. Thanks for sharing :)

 

Caffettiera
April 30, 2010

I am not a huge cooked carrot fan but I love the very tiny little ones, and this recipe sounds so appealing!
@KateP: brussel sprouts are one of the few winter vegetables I miss when they are not around! I just received the newest Ottolenghi cookbook, and I stumbled upon a worderful recipe including pan browned sprouts, marinated and stir fried tofu, coriander, and shiitake mushrooms. I can't wait for the sprouts season to try it out (in the meanwhile I'll make sure I try all summer ones :) ).

 

daniela
April 30, 2010

I love the way you treat vegetables, even the humblest ones like carrots! And I love salads too and asparagus.. and spring..
Thanks a lot for your precious suggestions.

 

Another Foodie
April 30, 2010

I love almonds and carrots together. I sometimes use almonds for carrot cakes instead of walnuts.

 

My CSA has some baby carrots this week and this looks like the perfect recipe. Thanks so much for being ever inspirational in the kitchen!

 

gastroanthropologist
April 30, 2010

Great tip about using the salad spinner after blanching the veggies. I am absolutely using that tip from now on. I love using broccoli in cold salads and never can get all the water to drain out!

I have just received tender green, white, and purple asparagus in my veg box - so excited to try this recipe.

Caffetteria mentioned the new Ottolenghi vegetarian cookbook, Plenty. Heidi, if you don't already have a copy you must get one. You will absolutely fall in love with it.

 

Simply Life
April 30, 2010

This looks like the perfect combo of flavor and texture!

 

Katrina
April 30, 2010

Yum! This looks so healthy and wholesome :)

 

So simple and so Spring! This is a must make - thank you for sharing!

 

Lisa Chin HHC
April 30, 2010

This looks delish! I just grated some carrots for a salad for lunch yesterday with a little cilantro, scallions, toasted walnuts, and parmasean. Mixed it all together with a red wine vinegarette with fresh garlic.

 

Cara
April 30, 2010

This sounds wonderful and I bet it would be really pretty with those purple carrots I see at farmers markets too.

 

DessertForTwo
April 30, 2010

I love how much time and attention you give to a simple side dish. I often fail to make side dishes anything special. I will spend all my time on the main course instead. I will try to follow your lead.
Also, I made your giant crusty white beans recipe from SNC with giant Christmas limas from Rancho Gordo. The skins curled and separated from the beans when I sauteed them in butter. Just thought you should know so it doesn't happen to you! I will stick with the white beans, like you recommend.

 

The French
April 30, 2010

I ♥ cilantro. My dude thinks I'm going to leave him for ciIantro.

The sauce sounds Buh-nanas. Now I know what to do with the small bunch of carrots in my CSA box. Great recipe. Thanks!

 

What cute little carrots! I used to work for a catering outfit that served baby vegetables blanched, tossed with oil, salt, and pepper, and usually just one herb or spice (parsley, cumin, whatever matched best with the veggie in question). This takes that idea to the next level -- I will definitely try something similar soon!

 

I love my veggies to be treated at a minumum and to stay crisp and flavorful. This looks like a great recipe to celebrate the natural flavors of carrots and asparagus.

 

Patty Price
April 30, 2010

I love your recipes, they are always beautifully photographed and very inspirational, makes me want to get to the farmer's market, find baby carrots and scoop them up!

 

Liz
April 30, 2010

Yum! I make a very similar salad, but with grated carrots. I add some toasted cumin seeds to the dressing, and I pound the garlic, cilantro, and salt to a paste w/ mortar and pestle before mixing it into the dressing. Gives it a little bit of a Moroccan thing--you could also add preserved lemon, and maybe some golden raisins.

 

sarah
April 30, 2010

somehow, you've read my mind. this exactly what i want to eat. thank you.

 

glutenfreeforgood
April 30, 2010

I love the idea of cilantro and jalapeno mixed with carrots and asparagus. Wow, very creative!

 

What a gorgeous salad! I'm heading to the farmers market this weekend so I'm hoping I can find some baby carrots to recreate this. Thanks again, Heidi!

 

jaclyn@todayslady
April 30, 2010

That salad looks so pretty! Two of my favorite veggies- carrots and asparagus! I have a whole bunch of parsley in the fridge right now so I may have to use it in this, though I do love cilantro!

 

Lentil Breakdown
April 30, 2010

This combination sounds luscious. Ironic that two seconds ago I posted a recipe with polar carrot opposites from yours--some farmer's market fatties you don't find every day.

 

Debra
April 30, 2010

The photos look fantastic, and I love the idea of carrots and asparagus in a simple dish, but I wonder if I could saute the carrots and asparagus versus blanching because many vitamins are lost in big pots of boiling water. Also, I couldn't help wondering how a few sliced strawberries might taste with carrots and asparagus. Your recipes give me lots of inspiration, thanks.

 

nancy
April 30, 2010

Gorgeous - such a celebration of spring! Great tip on the salad spinner; I rarely think to use it on anything but greens. I might also try lightly steaming the veggies since that helps avoid the water-log issue too; although I find it a bit more challenging to get them cooked evenly that way.

 

molly
April 30, 2010

Dang, this is making it tough to wait until our local farmer's market kicks in. Patience, patience...

 

tom | tall clover farm
April 30, 2010

Nice carrot salad Heidi!

I have a favorite carrot salad recipe I just posted last week.

It's a great combo of fresh fresh ingredients paired with the kick of lime juice. As a favorite, it may have to move over, now that I've seen your latest.

 

Alta
April 30, 2010

What a wonderful way to really make fresh produce sing! And as always, I love your "drizzles". They're not something I normally think of on my own, and I love that your ways to bring flavor to dishes makes me think outside of my comfort zone!

 

Jacqui
April 30, 2010

I love the little baby carrots at the market this time of year! This salad sounds so delicious right now; there is no annoying steps in the kitchen if it makes the dish perfect!

 

heather @ chiknpastry
April 30, 2010

this looks so green, fresh, and beautiful! love the tiny little carrots and asparagus, and the cilantro-jalapeno drizzle sounds really interesting!

our outdoor markets open next weekend, and i can't wait!!!!! i will hunt for baby carrots, for sure ;)

 

The Rowdy Chowgirl
April 30, 2010

This will be the perfect way to use the tiny carrot thinnings from my garden in another month or so. Thanks!

 

There is nothing like organic baby carrots fresh from the farmer's market. Inspired recipe!

xo
K

 

Chocolate Freckles
April 30, 2010

Ohhh this looks amazing!! Pretty healthy and delicious looking SALAD!! :)

 

bunkycooks
April 30, 2010

I love the combination of veggies and all the different flavors. We are trying to eat lighter foods, but still want great taste. This salad might be perfect for that!

 

fin
April 30, 2010

Can't wait to try this - I think I'll sub in basil for cilantro, and maybe throw a few of your pumpkin seed recipes on top.

 

Ashley
April 30, 2010

I am ALL about hearty veggie salads lately. This looks like a winner. Plus..almonds? Totally winner!

 

jessica
April 30, 2010

i've never tried those tiny carrots. looks like a great recipe. i'll try it with parsley instead of cilantro. thanks for a great idea!

 

I like the carrots. I don't see these in the market often. Can't go wrong with a gorgeous salad like this one.

Have a great weekend!

 

The Healthy Apple
April 30, 2010

Two of my favorite ingredients...carrots n' almonds...sounds fabulous, Heidi!

 

Amanda
April 30, 2010

This is a gorgeous looking salad. I don't often see those dear little carrots in the stores - usually have to make a trip to the market for them, but this looks as though it would be worth it.

 

M
April 30, 2010

A request - is there a way to block the weight loss ads on your site? The stomach fat ads are really off-putting.

HS: Hmm, they should be blocked. Or, I've been trying to make sure they stay blocked might be a better way of putting it. I'll look into it. Thanks for the heads up. -h

 

Kobie du Plessis
April 30, 2010

Thank you Heidi! I have learnt such a lot from you just by looking at your recipes - I have tried out a lot too! This looks really interesting, though I think I will go with the carrots cut small! Furthermore, living in Spain it is sometimes really difficult to get the special ingredients like cilantro in this case.I managed to get hold of quinoa though and what a special treat I found that to be! Thanks for all lovely postings!

 

Bonnie Brown
May 1, 2010

Oh I wish it was still asparagus season in New Zealand. It has been and gone. This looks simple & delicious. I could substitute the asparagus for young tender green beans.
I been so inspired from your cooking I have just began my own food blog to journal my cooking. I am telling everyone about your site I come across in New Zealand!. Did you know you were also featured in issue 28 of DISH magazine. See my site for the link to the magazine :)
Thanks Bonnie

 

pawan gope
May 1, 2010

I love to collect new salad recipe form your book and that utilize to my practical in kitchen.

 

Cookin' Canuck
May 1, 2010

What pretty little carrots. I like that you kept this salad simple to let the flavors of the fresh veggies shine through.

 

Paula
May 1, 2010

I love such simply recipes! It looks delicious!

 

tasteofbeirut
May 1, 2010

Great salad! Funny I just made one with carrots and almonds, except I used fresh almonds in mine!

 

Casey Angelova
May 1, 2010

I have been to every grocery store in my town, but still no asparagus!!! I've just sown some seeds, so hopefully in 3 - 4 years, I can have a few tender green stalks! Wish me luck!

Side note: Fresh spring carrots... CHECK!

 

Anna Johnston
May 1, 2010

Love these recipes., the baby carrots recipe is awesome. Thanks. Cheers Anna

 

Mary
May 1, 2010

These carrots look lovely.

 

arpana awwal
May 1, 2010

hello. i have just started my cooking lessons. your recipies look fabulous! but in my country, bangladesh, asparagus is not available. is there any other vegetable i can substitute it with?

 

What a delightful salad. Love most of the ingredients, sorry cilantro is not for me, and I particularly like the addition of sliced almonds. Great spring recipe!!
Magda

 

Bruce Mackh
May 2, 2010

Great blog! Love reading!

 

Love how delicate and fresh this looks. I can't get enough ideas on how to use asparagus, it's my favorite green. :)

Jenn

 

Elisabet Figueras
May 2, 2010

I love this combination. Thank you very much!!

 

Anna
May 2, 2010

I'm eating this right now. Delicious! Used 1/2 cilantro, 1/2 parsley.

 

Justin Burks
May 2, 2010

I love those little rat-baby tails on the carrots. Beautiful. Will have to make this soon.

TCV
thechubbyvegetarian.com

 

Bonita
May 3, 2010

Love this.
Delicious.

 

Soma
May 3, 2010

I love the carrots, asparagus and the almonds together. Scrumptious. Soon to be making this.

 

Not only does this sound delectable, but the vegetable sizing in terms of office supplies makes me smile!

 

ChickDigtheDirt
May 3, 2010

Yes!! I have now found a recipe to go with the 'Sweet Baby Jane' carrots I have growing in my new garden bed! Thanks for the recipe that I can use to go from the garden bed to the belly!

 

D. @ Outside Oslo
May 3, 2010

It's my second comment on the same blog post, but I just made this tonight and I highly recommend it. Heidi, thanks for creating something so healthy and delicious.

Trying to incorporate more vegetables into my diet, this was a great way to do so without feeling like I was missing out on something by having only a small portion of fish instead of using meat or fish as the main course.

Delicious!

 

Anne
May 3, 2010

Had no cilantro and all my herbs are just sprouting, so I substituted arugula instead - added a nice pepper flavor - though one can't go wrong with carrots and asparagus!

 

PippaPatchwork
May 4, 2010

I love little carrots! Good thing its Farmers Market season again. The recipe looks lovely.

 

Lynn
May 4, 2010

To limit this salad to finding the "right" carrot at the farmer's market seems unreasonable. Despite the fact that I shop at the best farmers market in NYC, availability of this carrot is essentially nil.

My approach will be to use the bagged baby carrots, cut in half, which are very sweet and also available as organic . I will pick asparagus thickness to match the carrots (I can enjoy the greater taste of somewhat thicker asparagus stalks). And cut them a length to match the baby carrots.

I like your idea of adding lemon at the end.

Thanks for your recipe

 

Mama Holli
May 4, 2010

Love your blog! Coming over from Delish.com I have added you to the Food Blog Roll on Midchix.com! Your link will appear in the “Mama Can Cook” Flock! Can’t wait to explore your site! It looks FAB!!!
Mama Holli
Sorry I messed up the first comment!

 

Sam
May 5, 2010

I just made this with broccoli rabe instead of asparagus, and basil and parsley instead of the cilantro.

Delicious!

 

aamedya
May 6, 2010

I love the way you treat vegetables, even the humblest ones like carrots! And I love salads too and asparagus.. and spring..

 

Kristen
May 8, 2010

This proves that simple is the best and most elegant...heading out to the farmers' mkt RIGHT now!!!! THANKS!

 

jill
May 8, 2010

just made this. i had some regular carrots already, so i cut them down to size. they worked great and the whole thing tasted wonderful!

 

Esther
May 10, 2010

Hi,

This looks delicious and wholesome, like it.

 

wietog
May 11, 2010

This is a silly comment, but if there's twice as much asparagus as carrot, shouldn't it be called Asparagus Almond Salad? ;)

PS: Next time you make a quiche, add shredded carrot - it's amazing.

 

Jasmine
May 13, 2010

This salad turned out great! I added black beans to make it a meal. Thanks for the inspiration!

 

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R Comeau
May 24, 2010

Thank you! It was quick to make, delicious, nutritious and colorful. Everybody liked it at dinner tonight. My friend dislikes cilantro so I used basil instead. I think the jalapeno and the lemon juice are key here to bring out the flavors of the vegetables. I'm tempted to try other nuts as well.