Hungry Ghost Moroccan Carrot Salad – Recipe

Hungry Ghost Moroccan Carrot Salad
Hungry Ghost Moroccan Carrot Salad

Before we get into Ellen Kanner’s lovely book, a quick note about the James Beard awards. My book didn’t win. While it would have been great, it also would have been a pretty huge surprise as a first time author. To be a finalist was an entirely sufficient thrill. My wife, Sarina, and I had a fantastic trip to New York, enjoyed all of the parties and after-parties and spent time with a host of wonderful people. We ate ridiculously well, including stellar meals at Del Posto, ABC Kitchen, Taïm, Caracas Arepas Bar and Mission Chinese Food, and off the hook drinks at Booker & Dax. Also, if I may brag on a friend for a moment, my old Louisville pal Adam Sachs (@sachsmo) took down 2 Beard awards on the same night and had a baby the next day. How great is that?

Now, on to the book. I’ve never met Ellen, but we’ve chatted back and forth over the years and she wrote a very kind review of Herbivoracious for HuffPo when it came out. I was excited to get my copy of Feeding the Hungry Ghost in the mail, and have been enjoying it ever since. A hungry ghost, in case you aren’t 100% up on your Taoist theology, is a restless soul, still seeking what it missed out on in life. Ellen’s thesis is that we are all in some way hungry ghosts, wanting both for physical nourishment from our food and for the deeper sense of connection to life and each other that food can bring.

The way I described that sounds preachy though, and Ellen is 180 degrees the opposite of preachy. She’s full of stories about friends who use their ovens as shoe storage, Catholic priests getting caught on the beach in compromising positions, and references to David Foster Wallace. She’s utterly exuberant; a sort of joyful warrior that wants to gently nudge you down the path of eating in a way that you probably already know you should.

But what about the food? Well, I can say conclusively that this Moroccan carrot salad rocks. I made it once, didn’t like the picture I took of it, and had already eaten it all before I realized that. So then a few days later I made it again, took the picture you see above, and ate all of it again. Ellen has the gift of simplicity with food. Most of the recipes contain relatively few ingredients, and most of them are easy to find staples. They invite you in; you just know that if you make a bowl of her green gumbo or a slice of farinata, the world is going to seem like a better place.

Hungry Ghost Moroccan Carrot Salad – Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 18 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Hungry Ghost Moroccan Carrot Salad – Recipe

  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika (sweet is traditional, smoked is edgy but quite nice)
  • Generous pinch of cayenne pepper or, if you have it, Aleppo pepper
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
  • Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  1. Coarsely shred the carrots in a food processor or cut into 1/4" matchsticks, your call. Dump into a good-size bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small skillet, heat the oil, cumin, paprika, and cayenne over low heat, stirring now and again until spices darken and the whole thing turns fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. Pour the spiced oil over the carrots. Add the agave nectar, lemon juice, and sea salt and stir until the carrots are evenly coated. (The carrot salad can be stored in a airtight container in the refrigerator for a day.)
  4. Just before serving, gently stir in the parsley. Enjoy chilled but not gelid.

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, May 13th, 2013 in Books, Events, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Vegan or Modifiable.

21 Responses to “Hungry Ghost Moroccan Carrot Salad – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    This salad sounds super easy & super delicious! Grated carrots are such an underrated salad veg–I love them so. 🙂

  2. Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Thanks for the link to Ellen Kanner’s book. All in the metaphysics of food.

    I’ve been shredding carrots with other veggies in an herbed water-lemon infusion for quick wrap sandwiches for decades. The carrots are so pretty, my kids never stopped once to think “Mom’s trying to feed us vegetables”.


  3. Reply
    May 14, 2013 at 5:11 am #

    Nice! Carrots were the only food I hated when I was a kid, but thankfully they’ve been growing on me in the last couple of years. Fortunately I can make recipes like this now 😉 I’ve been craving Moroccan flavours lately.

  4. Reply
    May 15, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Such good timing to have recently found your blog. I was just looking for a new carrot recipe (after a couple of days of eating plain, raw carrots). This recipe looks great and is
    simple enough to follow, which is always a plus.

    Thanks for all that you do and am excited to find other great recipes on your site. All the best :).

  5. Reply
    May 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    What a great and simple recipe! looks like we will be making this today.

  6. Reply
    May 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Truly sorry your book didn’t win.

  7. Reply
    May 17, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    As simple as it looks, I’m sure it is yummy. So similar to one of our indian versions, but I’m gonna try your recipe next…

  8. Reply
    May 18, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    This looks like tit would take forever to make! I love easy dishes that are so impressive everyone thinks I was in the kitchen all day!

  9. Reply
    May 20, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    The colors of this salad are superb! My sister-in-law and brother are enjoying your book very much, am so happy I got them a copy of it. Happy you enjoyed your trip out to NY. Have you been to Kalustyan’s? I think you would love it if you haven’t already made a visit there.


    • Reply
      May 20, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      Thanks, Chitra! Yes, Kalustyan’s is quite wonderful. I’m a sucker for any market that has that kind of range of supplies.

  10. Reply
    May 24, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    What a simple, easy, and delicous-looking recipe. Thank you so much for the idea! You have a great blog, will be stopping-by more often.

  11. Reply
    May 29, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    You wrote such nice things about this meal that you convinced me. Even though, I don’t really like carrots. But I’m giving it a try, let’s see.

  12. Reply
    June 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Nice! We really liked this, but even with one lemon it was a bit more sour than I’d like. I might increase the cumin to 1.5t, and use less honey and lemon. One other thing: when I poured the oil over the carrots, some remained behind. So I grabbed some carrots and stirred them around in the oily pan to get the last of it. I used the aleppo pepper — perhaps 1/2t — and it was great.

    • Reply
      June 18, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      Good tip, using the carrots to get the rest of the seasoned oil!

  13. Reply
    June 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    This recipe is a delicious, and fresh side I made for my family alongside, corn on the cobb and burgers(veggie for me). I got excited and didn’t read through the instructions so I just added the spices and oil without simmering first but it still tastes wonderful and refreshing. I also added fresh parsley from my garden so I was excited about that. This would also be good as an addition to spinach or romaine salad.

  14. Reply
    June 23, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Congratulations on the nomination for the James Beard award, what an honor! And I’m glad you got the swell trip out of it. I’d love to try this salad with the fried cumin, paprika, and cayenne. I make an Indian-style carrot salad that’s kind of a simple cousin of this one. You fry black mustard seeds in vegetable oil for a few seconds and then pour it over the carrots.

    • Reply
      June 24, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

      Thanks, Mary! I’m crazy about black mustard seeds too.

  15. Reply
    June 30, 2013 at 12:45 am #

    Thanks Michael, I am seriously into cumin at the moment since my Moroccan neighbour gave me Fava beans in cumin and olive oil as a snack, delicious! I love carrots so this is on my menu for this evening!

  16. Reply
    August 27, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    First off, a belated congrats on the very-much-deserved Beard nomination! And secondly, a tremendous thank-you for the tip on another excellent cookbook! My mom and dad own a little private bookstore, so I have far more cookbooks than I should (just ask my husband!), but you can bet that I am now on the lookout for “Feeding the Hungry Ghost”! Most of my recipes fall into the category of super-quick yet flavorful, healthy and family-friendly. This recipe is a winner on all fronts – can’t wait to try it!

  17. Reply
    October 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    This looks super easy and delicious, while I like eating well the kitchen sadly is not my happy place. I look for recipes like this that I can’t mess up too badly. Congrats on the nomination.

  18. Reply
    September 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    mmmm delicious!

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