Syrian Carrot Salad

This Syrian Carrot Salad falls somewhere between a salad and a quick pickle. Carrots are blanched then tossed in a garlicky dressing. If you make is several hours in advance, it lightly pickles. It’s bright, fresh, and addictive. When my vegetarian cooking group made a Syrian meal a few years ago, this humble little side dish was the surprising favorite of the evening. Lately I’ve been making it for dinner parties and people keep asking about it. I thought it was time I write it out for you.

You can use carrots of any color but try to use black carrots if you can find them, as they are more often used in Aleppo, Syria. This time I used mostly black carrots plus one orange carrot. When blanched, black carrots turn bright crimson.

syrian carrot salad

1 kg carrots

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

for the dressing

1/4 cup / 60 ml lemon juice

6 tablespoons / 90 ml olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed or grated on a microplane

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste


Peel and trim the carrots. Cut into lengths, then half or quarter them to make uniform spears. Place the carrots in a pot. Cover with water and add salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then lower the heat and simmer until the carrots are almost cooked (they should have a slight bite to them). Drain and place in a bowl.

Heat the cumin seeds in a dry pan until they start to pop. Add them to the carrots in the bowl.

Mix the dressing ingredients and pour over the carrots while they are still hot. Mix and taste for salt. Let marinate in the dressing and allow to cool to room temp.

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