With longer days and warmer weather arriving, salad sounds better and better. But produce is still expensive, and it will be months before appealing tomatoes are available here in Michigan. Although, I planted radishes in my cold frame a couple weeks ago, and they are coming up, so we'll be talking radishes in this space soon! I addressed the salad cravings I was having last week with a simple, cheap, tasty and healthy salad that can be used in a lot of ways, and which depends on a vegetable that is always available with good quality: carrots. The health benefits of the carrots are pretty generally known, but mustard seeds and cumin also contain many beneficial nutrient and flavonoids.
This salad is versatile, you can enjoy it as a salad with a regular meal, but a large helping with a slice of bread would make a light vegetarian meal. You can use the leftovers as "dressing" for another salad by tossing a bunch of mixed salad greens in a bowl and stirring this up with them. I carry a salad to work for lunch everyday, and often just toss the greens in the tub and add a dollop of something like this to them to make things quicker in the morning. You could even make a tasty and elegant scandinavian style open face sandwich with this by buttering a slice of bread, adding a leaf of lettuce and some of this salad along with a rolled slice of chicken, ham or roast beef! This recipe makes a fairly small quantity, but you can easily double it.
Carrot and Garbanzo Bean Salad
2 large carrots, peeled
1 cup garbanzo beans (you can cook your own, or use canned)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp black mustard seeds (or 1/2 tsp english mustard powder)
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 shallot - peeled and minced fine (chopped chives, or the white parts of a scallion will work fine too, or omit altogether if you like)
1/3 cup high quality olive extra virgin olive oil (I use Nunez de Prado)
salt and pepper to taste
Put the chopper blade in your food processor and toss in the garbanzo beans. Pulse briefly a couple times so the garbanzos are very coarsely chopped. Put the garbanzo beans in a bowl, and replace the chopper blade in the shredded (I actually just leave the beans in there while I change this out - but it's personal preference). Shred the carrots and then put in a bowl with the garbanzos. Set aside while you make the dressing. If you are using black mustard seeds, grind them in a mortar and pestle a little to open them. Grind the cumin seeds as well. In a small bowl whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together well, add the spices and salt and pepper to taste and whisk together. Pour the dressing over the carrots and garbanzos and stir.