Salt and Stone: Local tri-color carrots make this salad sing

carrot salad

The first local carrots from our Lower Valley were in the produce box I received last week through Mcilrath Farm and Market. I joined their CSA (community supported agriculture) after quarantine started as a way to support a local business and cut down on time spent in the grocery store. It’s honestly the highlight of my week and something the entire family looks forward to.

There are a few CSA options in the Valley, including Mcilrath Farm and Market and Pacific Northwest Fresh. Both services offer a weekly box of selected produce you can have delivered to your home or pick up at select locations.

It’s a wonderful way to support local small farmers as well as enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables every week. I love that the box introduces me to items I may not naturally gravitate to at the grocery store and keeps me stocked up on our family’s staples such as onions, potatoes, apples and pears. It’s a win-win every week.

The tri-colored carrots were crunchy and impossibly sweet. I scrubbed a few for my kids and set them out. They were gobbled up almost immediately. The rest I hid at the back of the fridge while I decided what I wanted to do with them.

I decided on a salad because I had tender Pleasant Hills mixed greens (another local farmer in our Valley), gorgeous carrots I knew would get even sweeter after a few minutes in the oven and an array of little bits of this and that to throw together.

The Moroccan-inspired spices give the carrots a punch and add a savory bite. The medjool dates are a lovely sweet note to go along with the spicy pistachios, and cool, creamy goat cheese brings the whole thing together. Next time, I might experiment with adding a little pickled onion for a briny tart bite. We enjoyed our salad with a whole roasted chicken grilled on the barbecue. (That recipe and a host of others is available at thesaltandstone.com.)

• Andrea McCoy writes the column Kitchen Captivated for Yakima Magazine and at The Salt and Stone, a home cooking blog. The Salt and Stone is a nod not just to the essence of cooking, but also to the Yakima Valley. Read more at www.thesaltandstone.com.

Moroccan Roasted Carrot Salad

1 pound tri-color carrots washed, trimmed and cut into similar sizes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Juice of half a lemon

5 ounces spring-mix leafy greens OR arugula

1/4 cup chopped roasted pistachios

5 pitted medjool dates, chopped

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese OR feta cheese

Lemon vinaigrette (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, combine carrots with olive oil, spices, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Toss to combine and spread evenly. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the carrots are tender and roasted along the edges. Make sure to turn the carrots halfway through cooking so they roast evenly on both sides.

Remove carrots from oven and set aside to cool slightly while you assemble the salad. In a bowl, combine greens, pistachios, dates and goat cheese. Pile carrots on top of the salad and drizzle entire salad with lemon vinaigrette.

Lemon Vinaigrette

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Juice of a lemon

Pinch of kosher salt and black pepper

In a small jar with lid, combine ingredients. Put the lid on the jar and shake to combine. Drizzle over salad as needed. Store extras in the refrigerator.

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