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Carrot & Kalamata Salad

April 18, 2015

Great with a BBQ!

I’m not sure how, but we seemed to have a profusion of carrots recently. We had family staying who were more than happy to stock the fridge and carrots seemed to be the vegetable of choice! Funnily enough, I don’t seem to eat carrots very often, despite loving them as a kid and still enjoying them now. I think that the bulk of my vegetable intake tends to be green and the colours are added as a garnish.

But coloured vegetables are very good for you! Up until recently, carrots were reputed to be the ultimate health food. Alongside celery, they were considered “rabbit food” for humans!

It is believed that the carrot was first cultivated around Afghanistan, thousands of years ago, as a small forked purple or yellow root with a woody and bitter flavour, resembling nothing of the carrot we know today. Purple, red, yellow and white carrots were cultivated long before the appearance of the now popular orange carrot, which was developed and stabilized by Dutch growers in the 16th and 17th centuries. Hence, “Dutch carrots”. Like apples, the modern day carrot has been bred to be sweet, crunchy and aromatic, although the heirloom purple & yellow varieties are considered pretty trendy nowadays.

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, providing over 200% of the average adult’s needs for the day. They also provide vitamin C, calcium & iron. It is the antioxidant beta-carotene that gives carrots their bright orange colour, which is absorbed in the intestine and converted into vitamin A during digestion. The antioxidants in purple & yellow carrots are anthocyanin, lycopene and lutein. These antioxidants are evident in reducing cancer risks by reducing free radicals in the body.

Do they really help you see better at night? Well, only if you have a vitamin A deficiency as a vitamin A deficiency causes part of the eye’s photo-receptors to deteriorate, damaging normal vision. The rumour was started during World War 2 by the British Royal Air Force to conceal their new radar system from the Germans. It’s interesting how health science was manipulated even back then!

The distinction between this salad and others is that the carrots are cooked. Like tomatoes and spinach, cooked carrots supply more antioxidants, such as carotenoids and ferulic acid, to the body than they do when raw. At least, that is, if they’re boiled or steamed. Frying or baking is not so optimum for bioavailability.

I like to serve this salad at room temperature to maximise the flavours. Use medium size carrots and peel them if the skins are tough. I have made this recipe with turnips, potato and celeriac too. Mix them up! The cumin is optional – my husband HATES cumin so I have to sprinkle mine on afterwards!

450g carrots, peeled and cut into batons

500ml water

1 handful flat leafed parsley

1 handful coriander leaves

2 tabs olive oil

1 tab red wine vinegar or lemon juice

1 teas ground coriander

1 clove garlic

a big pinch dried chilli flakes, or to taste

1 tab honey

1 tea cumin seeds

20 kalamata olives, pitted & chopped

Toast the cumin seeds on SP 2, VAROMA temp for 3 minutes. Set aside.

Place the carrots in the steamer basket and steam over 500g water for 16 minutes on VAROMA temp, SP 4. The carrots should be bright and tender. Drain and set aside.

In the TM, chop the garlic & herbs with the salt for 10 seconds. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and mix on SP 6 for 10 seconds. Toss the hot carrots with the dressing and allow to cool.

On cooling the carrots will absorb the dressing flavours. Add the olives & cumin seeds and taste for seasoning before serving. I like to serve this at a BBQ or on a mezze plate.

Got lots of carrots? Try my other carrot recipes with a difference:

Carrot Soup

Carrot Pudding

Carrot Tortilla Wraps

© Copyright. These recipes are my own. These photos are my own. These stories are my own. You are welcome to share my link to my site for the recipe. However, please refrain from republishing any of my content in its entirety. clevercook – Sarah Wong

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