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 minutes - Cook time: 5 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • 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!

    Patty Price
  • 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.

    Christine @ Fresh Local and Best
  • 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!

    Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks
  • 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!

    The French
  • 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.

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

    Cara
  • 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.

    Lisa Chin HHC
  • Yum! This looks so healthy and wholesome :)

    Katrina
  • This looks like the perfect combo of flavor and texture!

    Simply Life
  • 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.

    gastroanthropologist
  • 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!

    Christie {Honoring Health}
  • I love almonds and carrots together. I sometimes use almonds for carrot cakes instead of walnuts.

    Another Foodie
  • 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.

    daniela
  • 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 :) ).

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

    Joe @ Eden Kitchen
  • 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!

    KateP
  • 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!

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

    D. @ Outside Oslo
  • 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. :)

    Satpreet Kahlon
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