moroccan-inspired carrot & date salad

I’m sitting here writing this post feeling quite virtuous: I’ve taken Mango and Finn for a walk, I’ve been for a bike ride along the beach, drunk my green vegetable juice and I’m now enjoying a bowl of fresh Florida strawberries. It’s strawberry season here so they’re plentiful and inexpensive. And they’re my breakfast most mornings at the moment. Later I will go for a swim because it’s going to be 85 degrees here today and that warrants a nice lunch-time paddle.

You may have noticed the change of my blog name to ‘The Fresh Aussie’. Once the design work is done – hopefully this week, I will make more of a fuss of the change, until then I want to share with you a fabulous carrot salad I made last week. Earthy, sweet carrots; sticky, almost caramel-like dates and toasted almonds all tossed in an orange, honey & cilantro spice dressing. At the risk of sounded completely devoid of any modesty – it’s the nicest carrot salad I’ve eaten. It took mere minutes to make and not only does it looks gorgeous but it’s good for you. 

moroccan-inspired carrot & date salad

I’m sure I don’t need to harp-on to you about the health benefits of carrots, but did you know about the health benefits of dates? Originating in the Middle East/North African regions, dates are high in iron, contain vast amounts of fiber, are an excellent source of potassium, are easily digestible and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Eating them is almost like eating candy. I just wish sometimes they weren’t so darn hard to find. “We just keep them around the holidays” one do-gooder grocery store clerk told me the other day. “Yeah well that’s dumb” was my very intelligent, somewhat terse answer. A good grocery store will stock them year-round. 

For the dressing I threw fresh cilantro, spices, olive oil and what-not into a bowl and blitzed it using a wand blender – it worked like a charm. The dressing was creamy, fresh, a little sweet from the honey and nicely spiced with a touch of cinnamon and cumin. 

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I served this with some simple salad greens and grilled chicken. Because it was just the two of us eating this we had leftovers the next day. The salad was still delicious so it’s nice to know it can also be made ahead of time. Just throw the almonds in at the last moment if you do. 

The salad is simple in its ingredients and because of that it’s important to use the freshest of carrots, really fresh mint leaves, perfectly toasted almonds and plump, juicy dates such as medjool dates, which are known as the ‘king of dates’. Natural Delights is probably the most common medjool date brand you’ll see in stores. They’re often sold in or near the produce in the larger grocery stores. I love dates both to cook with and snack on. Stuff a perfectly pitted medjool date with some German creamy blue cheese, pour me a nice glass of chardie and you’ve got yourself a very happy girl. 

moroccan inspired carrot and date salad close up

moroccan-inspired carrot & date salad
Serves 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 4 cups coarsely shredded peeled carrots
  2. 1 cup pitted and thinly sliced Medjool dates
  3. 3/4 cup silvered almonds, toasted
  4. 1/2 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  5. 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, optional
  6. salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. 1/4 cup olive oil
  2. /4 cup fresh orange juice
  3. 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  4. 2 tablespoons honey
  5. 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  6. 2 teaspoons harissa or sambal oelek (chili paste)
  7. 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  10. pinch salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Toss carrots, dates, 1/2 cup of almonds, mint, onion and a pinch of salt and pepper together in a medium bowl.
  2. To make the dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a small bowl or tall plastic container; use wand blender to blend until smooth. If you don't have a wand blender, then a regular blender or food processor will work.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine; sprinkle over remaining almonds.
  1. You will need about 1 lb (450g) of carrots for this recipe.
The Fresh Aussie http://thefreshaussie.com/
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