I have a simple savory carrot salad already on this site, which I have gotten a lot of very good feedback from. It seems I am not the only one who finds savory carrot salads better than the oh-so-sweet versions. But I wanted to mix things up a little. This version contains a lot of other elements to add interest. Toasted nuts for flavor and texture, celery, again flavor and texture, and fresh herbs from my garden. I also used both balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar. I find that if you use one or another, it can be to overpowering. The balsamic makes it too sweet, the red wine too tart, but together I find it the perfect combination. The result is a refreshing salad with crunch and a lot of flavor.
Have I mentioned that I have a small herb garden in my back yard? It didn’t work out to plant vegetables plants in the spring, but I decided I, at least, had to plant some herbs. I have thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, dill and lovage. But the one that has really caught my interest recently has been the oregano. I knew I liked oregano, because I liked it dried. But it’s so much nicer fresh. I have used it in many different recipes, but this is one of my favorite ways to use it. Tinned Tomatoes is having her monthly cooking challenge ( labeled No Croutons Required). This month the challenge is to share a vegetarian soup or salad that showcases your favorite herb. I think this carrot salad recipe showcase oregano’s fresh, robust flavor very well.
And, for those of you who didn’t know, today is the second part of the Nourishing Frugal Food Carnival, this week hosted by Stephanie. What I love about this salad is that it is a gourmet salad, whose base (carrots) is a cheap, but nourishing vegetable that is very satisfying. You can often get carrots even cheaper by asking for special bulk orders at stores. I also try to buy my nuts in bulk to get them cheaper. If you have an herb garden, the oregano isn’t even an extra expense. And who says that frugal, nourishing and gourmet food isn’t possible?
Savory Carrot Salad with Toasted Nuts and Fresh Oregano
6 carrots, washed, peeled and shredded
2 celery sticks, washed and very thinly sliced
3/4 cup of chopped toasted nuts (toasted in a heavy pan over medium high heat on the stove top just until lightly browned and the rich smell of nuts drifts up to you)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or more to taste!)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
1 -2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
1-In a nice bowl, put the shredded carrots, sliced celery, toasted nuts, and fresh oregano. Lightly toss together.
2-Combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk well. Pour over the other ingredients and toss until carrots are coated.
3-Taste and adjust with salt, pepper and oil and vinegar. Depending on how large your carrots are, you may need to drizzle a little more oil and vinegar on, so that they aren’t dry.
Serve right away, or chill.