Thursday, December 29, 2011

purple carrot salad with feta + herbs recipe

I've had a lovely few days off blogging filled with excited kids ripping into presents at an alarming rate, ice-blocks (aka icy-poles or popsicles) in the backyard and family gatherings. At the last second we decided to have our Christmas celebrations at our new house, I know, I know... mad eh only 1 week after moving in? But knowing how many kids were going to be here this year and looking at our massive backyard it was a no-brainer. The kids ran around all afternoon while my mother-in-law maned the BBQ. I contributed a couple of salads, a gluten-free mango, raspberry and coconut trifle and pavlova roll for dessert, that seemed to go down a treat even though everyone's bellies were stuffed to the brim. 

Ada did a great job taking over from my usual family photographer position (I was too busy!), snapping up well over 300 photos in only 3 days on her new camera from Santa (yes, one very happy girl!). She even stopped me from drinking my green smoothie on Boxing Day morning so she could take a quick little photo, I wonder where she's learnt that from? She also took this amazing picture above, the arty shadow one. Pretty cool huh?

Purple carrots have been showing up more and more in the shops lately, they are stunning in their deep eggplant-purple hue. I've tried growing them myself but never had much luck, so being able to start including them in our diet is awesome. Not only are they much higher in antioxidants than their orange cousins, they also contain anti-inflammatory properties, anti-carcinogens and betacarotenes. Packing quite the little nutrient dense punch.

It's really warmed up here in the past few days, with today supposed to be hitting 39 C/102 F! In this insane heat there's not much I feel like eating, other than pieces of frozen mango and light flavourful salads. I can't go past the classic combination of fragrant spices, salty feta and sweet currants and I find myself adding them to loads of different dishes. Here I've kept things light and fresh with a tangle of carrot shavings, loads of herbs and a lemon-based dressing. Use my recipe as a base, but feel free to use whatever you have at hand. Add a little heat with a pinch of dried chilli flakes or not. Up to you. If you don't have access to purple carrots, no worries. Just use all regular orange ones. And if you want to prepare this a little ahead of time, simply store in a airtight container in the fridge and dress before serving.

Lastly, thanks to all that entered my giveaway a few weeks ago, from the comments you left it sounds like you all ate some really nice food on Christmas day! I used to find the winner and am stoked to say that the 3rd comment wins! So Mara can you email me your postal address and I'll pop your calendar into the post asap. Congratulations!

Also just letting you know My Darling Lemon Thyme is featured in the Jan/Feb issue of New Zealands Taste magazine, out now. I can't tell you how happy I was to be asked! Happy New years people! Xx Emm

purple carrot salad with feta + herbs
I dry roast and grind my own coriander seeds when needed as this gives you the freshest flavours, but if you only have pre-ground, use that. If purple carrots aren't available where you live, no worries! Just use regular orange carrots. Lastly I actually prefer the texture of grated carrots in salads like these, but felt like a change and went for the shaving instead. You do whatever you like, grate, shave or even julienne. We now tolerate feta, but if you are completely dairy-free, sub in a few green olives to give the same salty goodness.
serves 4-6

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander 
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch dried chilli flakes, optional
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • fine sea salt, to taste

  • 2 medium purple carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium orange carrots, peeled
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly torn if large
  • 1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly torn
  • crumbled feta cheese, to serve

To make the dressing dry-roast the cumin seeds in a pan over medium heat for 1 minute, or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Add the ground coriander, paprika and cinnamon and toast a further 30 seconds, then transfer to a small bowl. Add dried chilli flakes (if using) honey and lemon juice, and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking to form a dressing. Season to taste with sea salt.

Grate, julienne or shave the carrots using a vegetable peeler. Add to a bowl along with the currants and fresh herbs. Dress with as little or as much of the spiced dressing as you like and serve topped with a crumbling of feta. Any left over dressing can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.


  1. I want purple carrots! They look so cool (and how about all those antioxidants. As if carrots aren't healthy enough as it is!)

    Looks like your xmas day was just beautiful :)

    Congrats again on the Taste feature, will make sure to check it out.

  2. Gorgeous salad! Congrats on the Taste feature will make sure to get my mitts on a copy :)

  3. Oh wow look at Ada's photography skills love the shadow picture. It is so neat to see the world through the eyes of a child.
    What a beautiful sounding Christmas day.

    Congratulations on the Taste Magazine feature well deserved :)

    And wheee thanks again, Emm and Rosie for the calendar I better get painting that wall as it is unworthy of such a calendar as it is!! Haha.

    1. you are so welcome, will pop in the post tomorrow xx

  4. This looks fantastic and very healthy!

  5. what a gorgeous salad! i can only get purple carrots occasionally at farmers markets.

  6. I love the purple carrots, I boiled them once and they turned orange not sure if they are the same variety as yours but I only ever roast or eat them raw now to keep the colour! Well done with the Taste Mag, will and find a copy today.

    1. I'll have to try boiling these ones I buy. They are pretty deep purple so dunno if they would change orange? The smaller lighter coloured ones I buy sometimes probably would. Interesting aye!

  7. What a beautiful salad. I love working with purple carrots. They add such an amazing color. All the lovely herbs and the cumin seeds would make this a taste explosion.

  8. what a lovely sounding Christmas! Congratulations and how exciting about the magazine too, what a thrill!
    I just happen to have some purple carrots in the fridge right now. I haven'T had any luck growi g them either, but then my orange carrots didn't come to much this year as well. Better luck next season maybe :)

    1. My carrots didn't even grow at all last year?! The next door neighbours cats keep digging up the seedlings :-( Will try again this year, I reckon the lovely sandy Perth soil will make for some great (straight!) carrots.

  9. oh wow congrats on the feature and it looks like a delicious christmas was had at your place and what a little photographer you've got on your hands. Hoping 2012 brings all you hope for.

  10. Gorgeous salad Emm, and I'm really looking forward to reading Taste (a great excuse for another magazine :-))
    Ada's photos are so good! You may have created a monster! :-)

    1. You should see the rest of them, some really awesome ones!

  11. YUM. i found your blog just today and i am having a rad time reading the archives. this salad looks so yummy.


Thanks so much for stopping by, arohanui xx Emm

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