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With all the beautiful carrots on display at the farmers’ markets these days, consider making this carrot salad with preserved lemons and harissa part of your next meal. The bright, vibrant colors and flavors are lovely beside roast chicken or pork, herbed couscous or salmon. Preserved lemons add salt and a bit of sourness to the spice of the harissa and the sweetness of fresh, crunchy carrots, making this a perfectly balanced dish. If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving dinner or looking for a vegetarian-friendly side for a potluck, this may be just the recipe you’re searching for; it’s unique enough to stand out and provides a welcome zing to offset rich or bland foods. It’s quick to put together and can be made up to two days in advance; add the cilantro just before serving and you’re good to go.

Carrot Salad with Preserved Lemons & Harissa (from food52)

  • 1 lb. carrots, washed and cut into 1″ pennies
  • 1 – 2 T. harissa, to taste (I like this one)
  • 2 preserved lemon quarters, rinds only*, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 T. white vinegar
  • salt
  • 4 T. chopped fresh cilantro

In a large pot, boil 4 c. water with a pinch of salt. Add the carrots and cook for 10 mins.; they should be cooked but firm. Drain and allow to cool for about an hour, then add harissa, preserved lemon, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least overnight and up to two days. About an hour before serving, remove from the fridge and allow the salad to come to room temperature. Taste and add salt, if necessary; add cilantro, toss gently and serve.

*Preserved lemons are sold whole, halved, quartered or in small pieces. Unless you’ve gotten the small pieces, the pulp will usually still be attached to the rind. For this recipe, you only want the rind, though you can save the pulp for another use.