Smitten Kitchen's Every Day Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas and Salted Pistachios
Smitten Kitchen's Every Day Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas and Salted Pistachios

Woo-hoo!! We made it to the first Friday of 2018! And despite the bone-chilling temps and blizzard, home-from-school conditions that make you want to scarf down endless carbs and cups of hot chocolate, we've also managed to eat pretty healthily and mighty tastily too! To round out the week, we're talkin' salad today, but not just any old ordinary salad, take a look at this eye-catching and unique carrot, chickpea, pistachio and tahini toss-together, straight from the pages of Deb Perelman's latest cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day:  Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites, the focus of this week's Famous Fridays. If finding new, totally user friendly recipes gives you a tingle, prepare for a jolt because this book hits the jackpot on fun, out-of-the-ordinary home cooking!!

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If you're not familiar with the culinary goings-on of Deb Perelman, you're missing out not only on some great recipes but a lot of fun too. Deb is the witty genius behind the popular blog Smitten Kitchen and also the author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and everything she does is infused with comic realism and a down-to-earth style that makes you feel she's right there next to you in the kitchen, cooking and chatting. I've already featured her once before on Famous Fridays with these whimsical Popcorn Cookies but now with her new book, I felt she deserved another spot. Every Day is filled with recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts that feel classic but sort of new too. I've tried quite a few already--it was kinda hard to pick one for today to feature, but in the end, since we are all trying to do the New Year's healthy thing right now, this killer salad won out.

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Though this would work well any time of year, I feel it's particularly right for now when we all need a little brightness and flavor zing to get us through the it-gets-dark-so-early days!! The brightness of the carrots juxtaposed with the yellow of the chickpeas and green of the pistachios and parsley definitely helps chase away those winter blues! And so does the lemony, nutty taste! A treat for the senses in every way!

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And it comes together easily with ordinary everyday fridge and pantry staples that you wouldn't think would work particularly well together, but really, really do. That's the magic of Deb at work. So try the salad, pick up a copy of Every Day and have a delicious, safe and warm weekend. I'll be back next week with more healthy but yummy fare as we shovel our way into week two of 2018!!

Smitten Kitchen's Every Day Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas and Salted Pistachios

Makes 4 generous servings
Prep Time for Chickpeas:  About 20 minutes; Prep Time for salad and dressing:  About 15 minutes, more if you grate the carrots by hand


For the Chickpeas

  • One 15-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry with paper towels as much as possible
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin (I didn't use this)

For the Dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini, well-stirred (if yours has separated, whiz it in the blender or food processor)
  • 2 tablespoons water, plus more if necessary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

For the salad

  • 1 pound fresh carrots, peeled and grated (I did this in the food processor)
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup shelled salted pistachios, roughly chopped

The Recipe

1.  For the chickpeas:  Preheat oven to 425ºF. In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with the oil, salt and cumin (if using) and spread them on rimmed baking sheet. Roast them, tossing every now and then, for about 20 minutes, until they are crisp and browned. Set aside.

2.  While the chickpeas are roasting, make the dressing. Place the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, 2 tablespoons water and oil in a small bowl and whisk together. If it seems too thick to pour, add a bit more water and whisk again. Taste and season with the salt and red pepper flakes. It should taste lemony and sharp--it will offset the sweetness of the carrots. Set aside.

3.  To make the salad:  Place the grated carrots in a large bowl and toss with the parsley. Mix in about 2/3 of the dressing and taste. If you like, add the rest of the dressing and more salt and pepper if necessary. Toss on the chickpeas and pistachios and mix again. Serve immediately. This is best the day that it is made because the chickpeas are crunchy but it's still pretty darn good a after a couple of days in the fridge.


Note:  Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day:  Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman.


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