Easter is one of two times of the year at which it is permissible to ingest, and presumably digest, inordinate amounts of chocolate (the other being Christmas). My last two recipes, Chocolate Orange Mousse and Florentines, have more than facilitated that cocoa-based obligation, but now comes the slump. One cannot go on consuming vast quantities of chocolate ad infinitum, unless one actively intends to seek out ill-health. So, what better way to redeem the excesses of the past week than to indulge in a delicious, colourful and rather healthy salad?
Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, carrots are good for us on so many levels. For instance, carotene gives them their vibrant orange colour (other colours are available), a pigment which can then be partially converted into vitamin A, which amongst other things is beneficial to sight and skin. Happily, carrots also happen to be delicious and though I’m not willing to gnaw on a whole raw carrot, it isn’t difficult to make them universally appealing.
Carrots make simply stunning salad ingredients – not only do they convey sweetness and vibrancy, they soak up all of the excess vinaigrette, preventing it from descending unused to the bottom of one’s salad bowl. Grapes may not seem like a natural salad ingredient, but their sweet juiciness works exceptionally well with carrots, making for a mouth-watering prospect and a dish suitable for even the most esteemed tables. The addition of cumin, chilli and pomegranate molasses complements the mixture perfectly, adding a much needed kick and a little more interest to what would otherwise be a heap of sweet.
Local connection: A vast proportion of the World’s carrots are produced in China. In my experience, these taste of water and little else – not to mention their rather large carbon footprint. Instead, get over to a local producer or food market and pick up something a little closer to home, the salad will benefit and so will you.
Carrot and Grape Salad
• 5 large carrots, grated
• A generous handful of seedless black grapes, quartered
• 3 spring onions, finely sliced
• 1 apple, shredded
• 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 4 tbsp good quality olive oil
• A squeeze of lemon juice
• A pinch of salt and chilli flakes
1. Pop your grated carrots, quartered grapes, shredded apple and spring onions in a large mixing bowl. In a separate vessel beat together the molasses, cumin, olive oil, juice, salt and chilli flakes, until thoroughly combined. Pour the vinaigrette onto the salad, toss thoroughly and serve astride whatever you please.
Cost: As you’ll likely realise, carrots are incredibly cheap – there’s no other way to put it. Grapes are a little more pricey, but if you shop around a good deal can be had relatively easily. As such, this salad, which will happily satisfy four if served alongside a few carbs (or in a pita), should set one back no more than around £1.30 – a steal!