Go crazy with carrot (salads) — Turkish and Tunisian styles

By Evan Kleiman

Classic Moroccan carrot salad is so easy, you don’t need a recipe. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

I have a huge carrot addiction. Whenever I need a hit of veggie crunch and sweetness, I reach for the sunny root vegetable. I admit to being a snob who buys her carrots at the farmers’ market because the difference between those available in supermarkets is huge. When fresh from the market, they are snappy with no trace of woodiness. I almost never bother to peel them. A vigorous scrubbing is almost always sufficient. As a child, I loved the ubiquitous 1950s carrot salad as long as the raisins were the golden ones. I still make that salad with a few tweaks. I forgo the mayonnaise and use olive oil and lemon juice instead. I love how a batch holds up in the fridge. But lately I’ve been using my four-pound monthly stash of carrots to make recipes I haven’t eaten since my catering days. Despite the fact that my restaurant was Italian, we focused on quite a few North African and Eastern Mediterranean dishes. Mezze is my jam.

I’ve picked two of my favorites that feature carrots for you, and interestingly the carrots are briefly cooked in both.

Carrot tarator aka Turkish carrot yogurt meze

Adapted from Paula Wolfert’s “The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean”

Carrot tarator is a Turkish yogurt salad with walnuts. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Carrot tarator is a Turkish dish. Tartator is a yogurt-based salad, and indeed this easy dish is simply sauteed grated carrots mixed with yogurt, walnuts and a bit of garlic. Sometimes I eat a bowlful for dinner with good bread. 


  • 3 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts + 3-5 whole walnuts for garnish 
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • salt, to taste


  1. Grate the carrots by hand or using a shredding disc of a food processor. 
  2. Microplane the garlic into the yogurt, add salt and stir. Set aside.
    Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the grated carrots and sauté for five minutes until the carrots soften.Then let them cool.
  3. Add the cooked and cooled carrots and chopped walnuts to the yogurt mixture and stir well. Put into a serving bowl or platter and garnish with whole walnuts.

Tunisian carrot salad

Adapted from Kitty Morse’s “North Africa: The Vegetarian Table.”

It’s nearly impossible to think of a carrot salad without the classic from North Africa coming to mind. The classic Moroccan carrot salad is even easier to make than the Turkish one. You simply cut carrots into coins, boil or steam them until tender, then toss with olive oil, garlic, cumin, lemon and parsley. However my favorite version is Tunisian. The addition of caraway, an underused spice and harissa, a warming blend of dried hot red pepper, caraway, cumin, and garlic all blended into a paste — adds a welcome savory note to the sweetness of the carrots. Traditionally this salad is made of pureed cooked carrots, but I like it with sliced carrots.


  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into ½” coins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley or cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 - 3 teaspoons Harissa or to taste
  • Salt to taste


Steam the carrots until barely tender. Mix them in a bowl while warm with the parsley or cilantro, caraway seeds, oil and vinegar. Microplane the garlic into the bowl and mix or mince them and add to taste. Add harissa a teaspoon at a time to taste then finish with salt to taste.