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Tunisian carrot salad

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Jul 16th, 2014

This dish is a classic Tunisian salad. This salad can be served on its own, or is fantastic with fish or a grilled steak.

Tunisian carrot salad

Serves 4


  • 8 large carrots, peeled
  • olive oil, to coat and to finish
  • ½ cup (125 g) Kalamata olives, pitted and cut into quarters
  • 1 ½ Tbsp (25 g) coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1 ¼ Tbsp (20 g) cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1 ¼ Tbsp (20 g) caraway seeds, toasted
  • 2 red bird’s eye chilies, finely sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves picked, divided
  • 1 batch Harissa Dressing (recipe follows)
  • kosher salt, to finish

Harissa dressing

  • 5 Tbsp (75 mL) Harissa (see below)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) white vinegar
  •  ½ cup (125 mL) canola oil (approx)
  • kosher salt, to taste


  • 4 medium red bell peppers
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) whole cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) whole coriander seeds
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 20 long red bird’s eye chilies, seeds removed
  • 20 long red bird’s eye chilies (whole)
  •  ½ cup (125 mL) grapeseed oil
  • kosher salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
  2. Cut carrots in half crosswise and then quarter each half, lengthwise. Using a knife, carefully cut the core from each section of carrot. Set core aside for stocks, soups, or feeding to the chooks.
  3. Coat carrots in olive oil and spread carrot batons evenly on a baking sheet. Place in oven, and roast for 15-minute intervals, tossing carrots gently in between, for up to approximately 45 minutes or until tender. Remove carrots from oven and let carrots cool on baking sheet to room temperature.
  4. In a bowl, combine carrots, olives, toasted seeds, chilies and ¾ of the cilantro leaves. Dress liberally with Harrisa Dressing, tossing to coat evenly. Season to taste with salt.
  5. To serve, stack salad so carrots are in a wood stack formation on large flat serving plate. Garnish with remaining cilantro leaves, and lightly dress with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Harissa dressing

  1. In a blender, combine Harissa, garlic and vinegar. Purée until smooth. Transfer mixture into a bowl. Gently whisk in canola oil to combine. Be careful not to fully emulsify dressing.
  2. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  3. Makes about 1 cup (250 mL)


  1. Over a naked flame, blister the red bell peppers until skin is completely blackened. Place blistered peppers in a bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside and allow peppers to steam while cooling. When peppers have cooled, remove skin and seeds and set peppers aside at room temperature.
  2. In a dry pan, toast cumin and coriander seeds, tossing continually, for approximately 3 minutes over high heat or until aromatic. Remove seeds from pan and set aside at room temperature to cool.
  3. In a spice grinder, finely grind cooled toasted cumin and coriander seeds. Tip: Do not grind while hot as spice will burn.
  4. In a food processor, combine garlic cloves, chilies and ground spices. Process on high until smooth. Add bell pepper flesh and pulse until smooth. Note: Over-puréeing the mixture will turn its colour to orange rather than a desired deep red.
  5. Transfer mixture to a bowl, and add 115 mL of grapeseed oil. Gently stir to combine. Season mixture to taste with kosher salt, and transfer to an airtight container. Seal the surface of the harissa with 10 mL of grapeseed oil and cover with a lid. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  6. Makes about 2 ¼ cups (565 mL)

Courtesy Chef Adam Hynam-Smith, author, Curbside: Modern street food from a vagabond chef (November 2014–Whitecap Books)

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