Spicy Carrot and Green Lentil Salad

February 22nd, 2013  | Category: Beans and Legumes, Salad, Vegan, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Spicy Carrot and Green Lentil Salad

I have been celebrating the New Year’s Eve at The Mansion for as long as I can remember. But last year, plans changed and at the very last minute, I found myself in Alaçatı – a small village far away from home.

We arrived the day before New Year’s Eve and decided to check out a few of the antique shops in the village. As we reached the village center (a few steps from Vera’s house) we couldn’t believe our eyes. Apparently, 15.000 people were expected from neighbouring towns for the big night, so all the store owners in the village decided to convert their stores into small (and very loud) night clubs. So much for a quiet getaway.

Since spending the night outside with 15.000 strangers getting drunk was out of discussion, we decided to have an early dinner at Vera’s favorite restaurant and planned for a quite night in front of their fireplace. Turns out we were not the only ones planning to eat out that night! Every restaurant in the village was fully booked. Shocked, we asked the owner if she’d be kind enough to reserve a turkey for us. Well, of course, we were not the only ones planning to eat turkey that night. Every single turkey they had was reserved. We begged and begged and ended up convincing her to share half a turkey and a few side dishes with us. Half a (small) bird was nowhere near enough for four, but you should have seen our dessert table!

This adventurous getaway reminded me of the salad Vera and I had prepared almost three years ago. Remember her Almodrote de Kalavasa? Right after Vera put it in the oven, she took one look at Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty” and instantly chose the Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad as a side dish for the night. I don’t remember the exact recipe, but I have been tossing hot carrots with warm, fragrant olive oil ever since.

Right when you start cooking the carrots in salted water, spices and olive oil go into a skillet and warmed until fragrant. By the time the carrots are done, the spices release their oils and that olive oil turns into a fragrant, spicy sauce.

You drain the carrots, toss with the spicy olive oil while still hot and wait for them to absorb all the spices.

I’ve added green lentils to make the salad even more substantial, and lots of fresh cilantro and thinly sliced scallions for freshness.

Spicy Carrot and Green Lentil Salad 2



Inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty”.

Serves 4


  • 3 large carrots
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon (pinch) ground star anise
  • 1/8 teaspoon (pinch) ground cumin
  • 1,5 cups cooked green lentils*
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or flat-leaf parsley)

* Wash and pick over the lentils. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, until tender, 20-30 minutes. Strain, season with salt to taste and use as directed below.


  1. Peel the carrots and cut them into half-inch thick rounds. Place them in a large saucepan, cover with boiling water, add a big pinch of salt and simmer for about 10 minutes, until they’re soft but still retain their color and a bit of a crunch. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the carrots are simmering, heat the olive oil in a frying pan with ginger, black pepper, paprika, star anise and cumin until fragrant.
  3. Pour the fragrant olive oil in a large mixing bowl, add the warm carrots, cooked lentils, red wine vinegar and mix well. Season with salt to taste and let stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle scallions and cilantro on top and serve warm.
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  1. 1 - Madame Fromage on February 22nd, 2013

    Lovely. Yotam has done for the carrot what Julia Child did for the chicken, no? Always enjoy your posts.

  2. 2 - orin on February 24th, 2013

    and i was just thinking what els than soup shall I make with all these green lentil i have, thank you this salad sound great.

  3. 3 - India Banks on February 24th, 2013

    I’ve been dying for something new and healthy to eat and cannot wait to try this! I love the recipe AND the story [a belated happy new year].

  4. 4 - Basak on February 24th, 2013

    Good story 🙂
    I added coriander seeds to the spice mix instead of fresh leaves.

  5. 5 - Australia Restaurants on February 27th, 2013

    I never eat this kind of salad. Very good information & thanks for sharing. I have a restaurant in Australia and will definitely try to make it.

  6. 6 - Crippy on February 28th, 2013

    I jut had it and it was awesome! Thank you for sharing!

  7. 7 - Chelsea Rae Schmidt on March 19th, 2013

    Carrots are one of my favorite ingredients. They can jump so effortlessly from side salad to main dish to dessert. Just the other day we made a carrot ice cream with cinnamon and honey. I think this dish might top it. Sounds delicious

  8. 8 - andy on March 26th, 2013

    Great blog. I recently discover a cookie called Barazek with some pistachio and lots of sesame. it was perfect. Really recommend it.

  9. 9 - Sezgi Uygur on May 9th, 2013

    I was looking for recipes with legumes for summer, great! I love hummus and white beans with crispy seeds.

  10. 10 - Justin @ Marlows Kitchen on August 29th, 2013

    This is a very interesting recipe. I have to admit I’ve had nothing like it before. It looks delicious though!

  11. 11 - Moni on December 21st, 2013

    I am focusing on a “healthier” men for Christmas Eve…this will be perfect!

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