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A healthy grated carrot salad with smoky charred scallions, crunchy toasted walnuts and creamy fresh mozzarella cheese.
Carrots are essential in the kitchen but they often play second fiddle, appearing in the background as the flavor base of stocks, soups and sauces.
In this recipe, it’s all about them — a grated carrot salad combined with a few flavorful ingredients that put the spotlight on their sweet, approachable nature.
I saw a grated carrot recipe in the fall chapter of Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables that captured my attention.
It features an unusual combination of contrasting flavors, including blackened green onions.
The charred scallions are very interesting to eat — they pop up here and there when you eat the salad, adding a meaty nuance, almost like there are bits of smoky bacon strewn in it.
And the walnuts add a robust toastiness, along with their crunch. They pair nicely with the roasted onion and earthy carrots.
Anchovies are another addition that might seem odd in a straightforward raw carrot salad, but they magically disappear into the savory dressing.
Leave them out if you’re a strict vegetarian or vegan, or just don’t like them.
The recipe this is based on calls for burrata — a type of (delicious!) cream-stuffed mozzarella that can be super pricey and also extremely perishable and hard to find.
Buffalo mozzarella is a perfect substitute, and more readily available. It’s a few levels above your standard water-packed mozzarella balls. Because buffalo milk is richer and fattier than cow’s milk, it makes an outstanding fresh, creamy cheese.
Larger carrots are readily available in the fall and winter, and they’re great to slice into ribbons to use raw, like in this salad with fresh tangerine and pomegranate.
Carrots tend to get a bit sweeter in cooler temperatures, and more surface area means they’re easier to grate.
How to shred carrots:
- Use an everyday handheld box grater, a practical tool to have on hand in your kitchen. The medium holes work best to shred firm vegetables.
- A food processor fitted with the shredding attachment is the quickest way to grate carrots, and is especially helpful when you’re doubling up the recipe.
- This inexpensive julienne peeler easily makes slender noodles out of carrots. To use it, lay the trimmed carrot flat on your cutting board, then grab the tapered end with a kitchen towel while scraping the peeler in the opposite direction. You end up with some leftover bits you can either snack on or cut into additional julienne pieces with a chef’s knife.
Grated Carrot Salad with Mozzarella
- 1 pound (450 g) carrots, peeled
- 2 bunches scallions, green onions
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 finely chopped anchovies, optional
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried crushed chili flakes
- ½ cup Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped or torn
- ¾ cup (85 g) toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces (170 g) fresh buffalo mozzarella or burrata cheese
- Grate the carrots — you can use a box grater, food processor or a julienne peeler — then put them in a large bowl.
- Set the oven broiler to high with a rack 6-inches from the heat source. Trim the root ends and ½-inch of the scallion tops. Line them up on rimmed sheet pan or piece of foil and place under the broiler. Broil about 5 minutes per side, until they're charred on the outer layer and soft inside. Slice into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Whisk the lemon juice, salt and anchovies together in a small bowl to dissolve the salt. Pour over the carrots and toss. Grind 20 turns of the pepper grinder over the carrots and add the scallions, chili, parsley and walnuts. Toss well, then let sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Pour the olive oil over and toss, then taste for seasoning, adding more salt, lemon juice and/or chili.
- Tear the cheese into bite-size blobs and distribute over the salad.