Sweet sticky caramelised vegetables, a spiced vinaigrette and soft smooth milky mozzarella. This Spiced Carrot, Red Onion and Mozzarella Salad is the salad for people who don’t like salad. The carrots are nutty and sweet, the onion is sticky and fragrant, the dressing perks everything up and then then mozzarella calms and cools. The perfect salad for so many occasions.
I love the colours in this Spiced Carrot, Red Onion and Mozzarella Salad. They are so vibrant!!!
It is that time again! A whole month has gone by since I posted my last project foodie post about cherries. I am a little scared by that. A whole month!!!! Like I said on Tuesday, my blogging has been a bit erratic and I have been struggling to get something written. So I guess it is hardly a surprise that it doesn’t feel very long since my Blue Cheese and Cherry Salsa Bruschetta post went live!
This month it was my turn to pick the ingredient, and I went a little alternative! We are a mixed blogging group, and amongst us we have a breakfast blogger and a dessert blogger. So I wanted something we could all cook with, but I didn’t want to make a dessert. (I am not a huge dessert fan, although I do have an absolute amazing one coming up soon! – Seriously I squealed when I took the photos!)
Which is one of the reasons I picked carrots. Carrots are fabulous for so many things, they are available all year round, they come in a variety of colours (well they do if you don’t live in the middle of no where in rural australia!!!) and they can be turned into both dessert and savoury courses. If you want to see the other fabulous carrot recipes from the project foodie group then scroll on down and you will find them below my recipe 😀
Today I am heroing carrots in a delicious warm Spiced Carrot, Red Onion and Mozzarella Salad. I love the word heroing – I feel like I am on Matserchef Australia!!! Although I would be terrible on the show!!! I would flap under pressure, cry too easily and go home very early on! 😉
This carrot salad is great as a starter/appetiser, for dishing up on a platter for a buffet or party. And it doesn’t need to be served warm, so try packing it up for a delicious and different lunch (Maybe take the dressing in a seperate pot).
Now if you had been around here before you will know that I am a big lover of roasted vegetables, nearly any vegetable you can think of tastes better when it is rubbed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted until the edges caramelise and the flesh is tender. I have a plenty of roasted veg recipes on Sprinkles and Sprouts. There’s cauliflower, squash, fennel, radishes, mushrooms and so many more. All more delicious for having taken a stint in the oven.
But today it is carrots and red onions, they both get sweeter, slightly sticky and oh so good. Paired with a spiced oil dressing and some milky soft mozzarella, this is a salad but with the bar raised.
In the words of Harvey Specter “Salad is here, I like it here” (Well maybe he wasn’t talking about salad but hey it still works! 😉 )
If you can’t find baby carrots then use regular carrots and cut them lengthways into quarters (or eighths if they are really large) They work just as well but will need an extra 10 minutes in the oven. You want to ensure that the ends get a good caramelisation on them. The natural sugars in the carrot get a toasted burnt sugar flavour that is almost toffee like. SO GOOD!!!!
And any onion would work here. I like the contrast of colours between the orange and the purple, but a white or brown onion will taste just as good.
When you make the dressing, allow the oil to cool slightly before you add the vinegar, otherwise there is a chance of it spitting at you. Add a drizzle of the dressing to the salad and then serve it with more in a jug. If you are packing this up for a lunch or a picnic, carry the dressing separately, so it doesn’t make everything soggy and overly vinegar tasting.
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Spiced Carrot, Red Onion and Mozzarella Salad
For the roasted vegetables
- 2 lb baby carrots 2 bunches, 900g
- 2 large red onions
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the Salad
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp peppercorns
- 1 star anise
- ½ tsp crushed red chilli flakes
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 fresh mozzarella balls
- fresh oregano
- Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF.
- Peel the carrots and then cut them in half (see notes)
- Peel the onions and leaving the root in place cut them into thick wedges.
- Line a baking tray with cooking paper (for easy clean up) and then add the onion sliced to the tray. (Make sure they are spaced out in a single layer)
- Drizzle with half of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
- Line a second tray with cooking paper and add the carrots, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Again make sure the carrots are spaced out in a single layer.
- Roast the carrots and onions for a 25 minutes until tender and caramelised.
- Meanwhile make the dressing.
- Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a shallow pan or skillet. Add the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, whole star anise, and red chilli flakes.
- Peel the garlic but leave it whole, add it to the oil.
- Place the pan/skillet over a very low heat and let the spices cook in the oil for 4 minutes, make sure the spices don't burn as then your dressing will be bitter.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before storing in the red wine vinegar and honey. Remove the star anise and whole garlic before serving.
- Transfer the roasted veg to a platter, drizzle over a little of the spiced dressing and then tear over the fresh mozzarella.
- Garnish with fresh oregano and an extra sprinkling of salt.
Cook the carrots for 10 minutes before you add the tray of onion wedges.
Delicious Carrot Recipes from the Project Foodie Group: