North African-Spiced Carrot and Parsnip Salad

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Servings: 6

Harissa, a North African pepper-and-spice paste, adds a suggestion of heat to this salad, a flavorful tangle of earthy and sweet ingredients. Toasted spices infuse the dish with their warmth, while the smooth richness of extra-virgin olive oil brings depth and harmonizes the flavors.


  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 large carrots, about 3/4 lb. total
  • 3 large parsnips, about 3/4 lb. total
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 3/4 tsp. harissa
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or mint


In a small, heavy fry pan over medium-low heat, toast the cinnamon, cumin, coriander and ginger, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Peel the carrots and parsnips and shred them on the large holes of a box grater-shredder. Set aside.

In a small nonreactive bowl, whisk together the toasted spices, lemon juice, honey, harissa and a scant 1/2 tsp. salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until well blended to make a dressing. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

In a bowl, stir together the pistachios and a pinch of salt. Add the carrots and parsnips, raisins, 1/2 tsp. salt, several grinds of pepper and the dressing and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer the salad to a platter or serving bowl, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately. Serves. 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Salads, by Dina Cheney (Oxmoor House, 2009).

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