If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I'm a big fan of salads. But I'm not talking about your run-of-the-mill, lettuce/tomato/cucumber salads (though I do like the occasional Israeli salad). My go-to salads are hefty, multi-ingredient affairs that fill up your greens and protein quota, as well as your gut!
And today's Middle Eastern roasted carrots with olives, goat cheese, salad topper and harissa-preserved lemon dressing is a salad just like that: a deeply herbaceous dish that brings together some of my favourite Middle Eastern flavours (carrots, punchy harissa, preserved lemon, olives) with the rustic beauty of farm-to-table eating.
My great love for salads is why I was particularly happy to partner with Natursource to help promote their new line of salad toppers. This salad is the first of a few dishes that I've developed with their incredible products, each of which was good enough for a snack on its own (and dangerously depleted the supply I had to work with). And if you're really curious, spoiler alert - not everything I've made with the salad toppers has been a salad!
The grand daddy of the Natursource salad line, the Original Salad Topper offers a boost of flavour and protein in a colourful blend of ruby red cranberries, crunchy cashews, pumpkin and Tamari-flavoured sunflower seeds. Rich in antioxidants, fibre and vitamin E, and entirely vegan, this product offers an excellent way to add plant-based proteins to your grain-free meals. That way, even if all you've got on hand is lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes, your salad will still taste - and look - inviting. (And it's [amazon text=available for purchase on Amazon&asin=B00U5JWU4U], with free shipping through Prime! Which, if you're lazy like me, is a big bonus).
But I have to say that my favourite way of eating this mix is on a strong dish that offers an alternative to grain and carb-heavy meals. Dressed in a mixture of cilantro, harissa and preserved lemons, and topped with goat cheese, olives, and the excellent nuts and fruit Original Salad Topper from Natursource, these Middle Eastern roasted carrots offer a side dish that can hold its own against any main course.
Based on what you serve along with them, these carrots will work in fall, winter or spring, and pair well with red and strong white wines. And the best part is? Besides roasting the carrots and pureeing the dressing, it takes very little active work.
More of a side-dish than a salad, really, these Middle Eastern roasted carrots will convince anyone that a salad can be a serious dish to contend with.
Before you run off to make it, fair warning: harissa is a strong Middle Eastern condiment, and its spice level varies from tube to homemade jar. You would do well to taste your harissa before putting it into the dressing, and if you're sensitive to spice, put just a dab of it in - or omit entirely to protect the most sensitive diners.
So try these Middle-Eastern roasted carrots, pile on the Original Salad Topper, and amaze any salad-skeptics with the flavours of preserved lemons, harissa and olives.
P.S. – This is a sponsored post, but all opinions expressed here are my own. I am proud to support a local, family-owned business whose product I truly appreciate, and I thank you for supporting my sponsors.
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Middle Eastern roasted carrots with olives, goat cheese, salad topper and harissa-preserved lemon dressing
- 12 medium-sized carrots of mixed colours
- ½ log goat cheese
- 1 cup green or black olives pitted and chopped
- ½ cup Natursource original salad topper or a mix of cashews, cranberries and pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- ½ preserved lemon
- 1 large handful cilantro chopped roughly
- 1 TB honey
- ½ tsp harissa
- ¼ cup olive oil + more for roasting the carrots
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Quarter carrots into spears. Arrange carrots on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until carrots have softened and browned in some parts.
- Arrange carrots on a large platter. Rip goat cheese with your fingers and drop in haphazard clumps on top of carrots. Top with with olives and salad topper.
- To make sauce, put all remaining ingredients but the oil in a blender or food processor. Process on low or using pulse action (depending on the settings of your blender) until herbs have chopped finely and the lemon has been broken into pieces (you may need to push the contents down with a spatula a few times). Start processing on a higher speed, adding the oil slowly, until dressing has completely emulsified. To thin out the texture a little bit, add water one tablespoon at a time.
- Distribute oil with a spoon on top of the roasted carrots, and serve.