This salad from Heidi Swanson has been one of my favorite ones to make this summer. I simplified it quite a bit by using canned chickpeas and a bag of pre-shredded carrots, which may not look as pretty as heirloom carrots sliced whisper-thin on a mandoline, but still taste pretty great. For those of you that like salads with a sweet dressing (I’m looking at you, Dad), you will love this one. The cumin and lemon juice cut through the sweetness from the dressing and the dates and the cayenne brings a nice bit of heat at the end. Perfect for lunch or an easy vegetarian dinner.
slightly adapted from: 101 Cookbooks
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
10 ounces carrots, shredded on a box grater or sliced whisper thin on a mandolin (or buy a 10 ounce bag of shredded carrots like I did)
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15- ounce can, drained and rinsed)
5 or 6 dates, pitted and cut into pieces
1/3 cup fresh mint, torn (feel free to use a combination of herbs, I threw in some dill as well)
lots of toasted almond slices for garnish
For the dressing:
Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant and lightly browned, a minute or two. Let cool, and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle (or a wooden bowl and a muddler).
In a bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, ground cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
For the salad:
In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, chickpeas, chopped dates, mint, and almonds. Gently toss with the dressing until everything is evenly coated. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
You can toss this salad, minus the almonds, hours in advance. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.