Carrot Salad Recipe with Za-atar Spice and Parsley-Mint Pesto
This carrot salad recipe is one of my favorite dishes to bring to a gathering. Crunchy carrots are combined with a a few favorite ingredients for an unusual and delicious salad that will be the hit of the party.
The Freshest Carrots
The best carrots for this salad recipe are the freshest you can get, usually from a farmers’ market. I find that a lot of carrots in grocery stores can be bitter and do not have much flavor. The simple flavors of this salad are best complemented by carrots that taste like a carrot, sweet and earthy!
Za-atar Spice Blend
Za-atar spice is a traditional Middle eastern spice blend, and made up of oregano, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt. The recipe can vary a little from family to family, sometimes with the addition of cumin or other spices, but I like the 4-ingredient version the best. If you can find Turkish or Syrian oregano, even better, it tends to have more flavor than Italian or Greek.
Carrot Salad Recipe with Za-atar Spice and Parsley Mint Pesto
- 1 bunch large carrots
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon za-atar spice (recipe follows)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch Italian parsley
- 1/2 bunch mint
- pinch fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup walnut halves
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese
- drizzle honey
- Grate, shred, or use a veggie spiralizer to make carrot "noodles". Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, and za-atar spice. Set aside.
- Get out a large cutting board. Finely chop together the garlic, 1 1/2 cups parsley leaves, 1/2 cup mint leaves, pinch of salt, walnuts, and cheese. Scrape into a bowl and mix with enough oil so that pesto can be drizzled.
- Spoon carrots onto a large platter. Drizzle with pesto. Crumble cheese over top, and drizzle entire dish with honey. Serve immediately.
- If you wish to make ahead of time, dressed carrots can last up to 24 hours refrigerated. Just before serving, drizzle with pesto, cheese, and honey.
Za-atar Spice Blend
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 scant Tablespoon dried oregano (Syrian or Turkish variety if you can find)
- 1 Tablespoon sumac
- 3/4 Tablespoon coarse sea salt
- Toast sesame seeds lightly in a dry skillet over medium heat, until they are fragrant and starting to turn golden. In a bowl, combine the still warm sesame seeds with the other ingredients. Store in a spice jar and use within three months.