Sunday, November 4, 2012

Apple Carrot Salad with Cilantro
Carrot Apple Salad with Cilantro and Feta
I had this delicious apple carrot salad with cilantro and feta for lunch today and although I’ve never combined these exact flavors before, I’m really happy that I gave it a try.  The sweetness of the apples and carrots is cut by a tart lemon vinaigrette and the cilantro and feta turn an ordinary side dish into something really special.
We have a dry erase board on the side of our refrigerator where I try to keep an updated list of what’s inside.  It was Phil’s idea and I actually resisted doing it for a while because I didn’t think we would keep up with it.  It turns out that I absolutely love it.  It’s a lot easier to glance at the board and figure out what could turn into a meal than it is to bend down and dig around our dimly lit, poorly organized refrigerator to see what’s hiding inside.
Our refrigerator ingredient list is not really organized, but that’s what makes it fun.  Sometimes just seeing random things written down next to each other triggers a recipe idea that I might not have thought of on my own.  This salad is one of those recipes.  I happened to notice apples and cilantro on the list next to each other the other day and the combination sounded really interesting to me.  I wrote the words “Apple Cilantro Salad” on the bottom of the board.  I’ve been thinking about it since then and today I finally had time to play around with the idea.
I made this salad just for me today so I’m giving you a recipe that serves only one person for lunch or two people as a side dish.  Since it’s slightly unusual, you might want to try this small version before doubling or tripling it for a crowd anyway.  I loved this salad as it is, but if I had any on hand I might have tossed in some pomegranate arils and/or toasted chopped walnuts.  I always like things on the tart side so I used granny smith apples and a pretty tart dressing.  You can sweeten things up a bit by using sweeter apples and/or adding more honey to the dressing if that’s your preference.  As always, taste as you go and adjust things to your liking.
Apple Carrot Salad with Cilantro
Serves 1 for lunch or 2 as a side dish
1 medium apple*, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
small handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon honey (or, to taste)
pinch of ground cumin
crumbled feta cheese, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Put apple, carrots, and cilantro in a medium bowl.  In a separate small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, honey, and cumin.  Add dressing to apple mixture and toss everything together.  Season with salt, pepper, and a bit of crumbled feta cheese.
Recipe notes: *Use whatever type of apple you enjoy eating.  If the apple is especially tart, you might want to add a bit more honey to the dressing – taste and adjust as you go.