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July, 2011

Carrot Slaw with Citrus Ginger Dressing and Black Sesame Seeds

By Heidi Allison

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to creamy coleslaw for your next barbeque or picnic, this is your new go-to side

Organic Carrots
This easy, bright Asian-inspired carrot slaw is light on the fat and calories since it contains no mayo or sour cream, and, only a small amount of honey is used. In this sweet, tangy slaw, what grabs your attention is that all the flavors are perfectly balanced--no easy feat for a light side! In this recipe, the secret is to soften the tough texture of the raw carrots by lightly blanching them in a microwave before tossing with the Citrus Ginger Dressing. This crucial, first step not only provides a better mouth feel to the salad, but also enhances the sweetness of the carrots which forms the foundation of this dish (as the cellulose of the root breaks down, it releases the natural sugars). Briefly warming the dressing in the microwave is another important step that not only mellows its bold citrus and ginger flavors, but also melts the honey so it can be thoroughly incorporated. The only caveat for this recipe: do not overcook the carrots—you want this veggie to be soft yet crunchy. Approximately one minute total cooking time, divided up, and, using a minimal amount of water during cooking, gets the best results. The flavor profile of this stellar side is bright, crisp and bold—a nice change from traditional, bland mayonnaise-based coleslaws. The mildly acidic lemony, orange taste of the Meyer lemon juice is balanced with a hint of sweet orange juice and honey, which act to soften its “bite”, while a small amount freshly grated ginger imparts a subtle, spicy grace note. It’s a perfect play of tart and sweet—a nice foil to the nutty, sweetness of the black sesame seeds. Trust me, you won’t miss the mayo!

Carrot Slaw with Citrus Ginger Dressing and Black Sesame Seeds

Carrot Slaw with Citrus Ginger Dressing and Black Sesame Seeds
Serves: 4

1 pound carrots
1 Tbsp. black sesame seeds

Makes: 1/3 cup

Juice of 2 Meyer lemons, about 4 Tbsp. juice
1tsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. honey Pinch of flake kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 ½ Tbsp. Pecan oil (can substitute canola or sunflower; do not use roasted pecan oil)

Wash and peel carrots. Using a mandolin or Japanese Benriner, julienne the carrots into a ¼-inch match stick cut. Place carrots into a large bowl and pour 2 tablespoon of water over the carrots. Cover carrots with plastic wrap and microwave for 40 seconds. Uncover, stir and replace cover. Microwave for an additional 50 seconds, then remove from microwave and set aside. In a small bowl, add remaining ingredients. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave again for 20 seconds and stir. Drain carrots of any water. Pour warm dressing over carrots and stir. Cover with plastic wrap and place carrots in refrigerator for several hours to chill and let the flavors marry. Right before serving, sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

Notes from the Author:
This vegan dish is a safer choice for hot, summer picnics since this dish contains no dairy or mayo. Pairs well with barbecued chicken, grilled fish, turkey burgers and all things Asian.