Crunchy, fresh and delicious, classic French-style carrot salad transforms a few simple ingredients into a sophisticated side dish or starter.
We ate salad every day of Pesach. That’s a lot of salad.
We really like salad, but I think it’s good to have variety. So as well as a daily lettuce salad I made a few others from different vegetables – for instance potato salad, red cabbage salad, fennel salad – and this wonderful French-style classic carrot salad.
In France it’s called carottes râpées or salade de carottes râpées. Sounds chic, right? You’ll often find it on menus, either as a side dish or served as a starter. It’s simple and delicious and seems never to go out of style.
A simple favourite
I think this classic recipe is my favourite carrot salad (although Moroccan carrot salad would give it a run for its money). It’s light, fresh, crunchy and delicious, and only has a handful of basic ingredients. Items so simple that we even had all of them available on Pesach!
To make this classic carrot salad, all you need is:
- fresh lemon juice
- olive oil
By hand or by machine?
Personally, I like to grate the carrots by hand, as I prefer the texture that it gives to the final salad. However if you’re making a big batch or are just in a hurry, you can definitely use a food processor to grate your carrots. I like to use the coarse side of the grater to give big crunchy shreds of carrot.
Prepare your garlic with care
Definitely not optional though is how you prepare the garlic. It needs to be cut into teeny tiny dice using a sharp knife – DO NOT be tempted to crush or mince it!
The garlic is added to the carrot salad raw, and the flavour will be totally overpowering if it is mashed to a puree rather than simply chopped. Chopping finely will give you subtle fragrant wafts of garlic. Don’t be tempted to use too much, either.
Time well spent
It only takes a few minutes – 10-15 max. – to put this carrot salad together. I really enjoy the peeling, grating, chopping etc. It doesn’t take very long and it’s quite a meditative activity. Plus you know that when you’ve finished you’ll have a bowlful of delicious carottes râpées to eat!
One bite and you’ll know why this classic carrot salad is a French favourite!
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Classic carrot salad
- 4 medium carrots
- 1 small garlic clove (or half a normal sized one)
- 1½-2 tbsp chopped parsley
- ½ lemon - juice only (approx. 1½-2 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- pinch salt
- Peel the carrots and grate them using a coarse grater. Place the grated carrots in a bowl.
- Peel the garlic clove and chop into very fine dice using a sharp knife. (Do not crush or mince the garlic).
- Add the chopped garlic, the chopped parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and salt to the grated carrots. Mix everything well.
- Taste the carrot salad and adjust the balance of lemon/olive oil/salt to your taste if necessary. Serve and enjoy!
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