Middle Eastern Carrot Tacos
The night I learned to make cous cous from scratch, I fell in love with a carrot salad. The grains of fluffy, fresh cous cous were the best cous cous I’d ever had, but the carrot salad that the team from NY Shuk served us alongside the slow-roasted lamb shoulder stole the show for me.
I have been a fan of glazed carrot coins since day one of my life. Carrots grow tender and sweet when lightly steamed. This Middle Eastern carrot recipe seasons those tender carrots with herbs, oil, spices, and a little bit of lemon, fragrant and addictive seasonings that suit the vegetable perfectly. As addictive as glazed carrots, this salad is ten times more sophisticated than that childhood favorite.
Is fusion still sophisticated, too? Sometimes I think turning anything into tacos is so last year, a food trend grown obvious and dull. At least that’s what I thought til I heard a little bit of wisdom from Rick Bayless at the kick-off event for this year of Sargento flavor journey-ing. Bayless said that food trends were worthwhile, because they got people interested in food who wouldn’t otherwise care, and that some of those people end up in the kitchen, cooking at home. That maybe it takes a cronut (or a fusion taco) to get a non-foodie interested in food, but that the cronut might be the gateway towards making dinner at home into a habit, a habit I can get behind.
And so I turned the carrot salad into a filling for simple vegetarian tacos, gooey with melted mozzarella and topped with creamy avocado. They were a win. Even if you’re skeptical that Middle Eastern-style carrots belong in a taco, I hope you make them soon
This sponsored post is part of an ongoing collaboration with Sargento, called Flavor Journey. Throughout the year, with the support of Sargento, I’m exploring Middle Eastern cuisine–at home, in Brooklyn, at cooking classes, and wherever the flavors may take me. You can see the whole series here. Sponsored posts let me do some of my best work on this blog, and I only ever work with brands whose values and products mesh with the content I love to produce for you. Here’s my affiliate disclosure.
Middle Eastern Carrot Tacos
Carrot salad adapted from NY Shuk
8 small carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 1 1/2 cups sliced carrots)
1 small bunch parsley
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin or 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
3\4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1\8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons safflower or olive oil
Zest of 1 whole lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus more for the avocado
1 cup shredded Sargento mozzarella
4 small corn tortillas
1/2 avocado, cubed and sprinkled with a little lemon juice
Place carrots in a steamer basket with sprig of parsley and sprinkle of salt. Steam for 5 minutes. Remove and toss the parsley sprig
If using whole cumin, toast in a dry pan over medium-high hear until fragrant, 3 minutes. Chop the parsley leaves very finely (you’ll want about 3 tablespoons). Combine the warm carrots with the parsley, toasted cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne, oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add a few pinches of salt and mix together. Let rest for about 10 minutes so the flavors meld. Taste, adding a little more salt as needed.
Heat two skillets over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Place a tortilla in the center of each. Top with one-quarter of the shredded cheese. Toast for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is golden. If you cover the pan, the cheese will melt more quickly. Repeat with the second two tortillas. Pile one quarter of the carrots on each tortilla and top with a few cubes of avocado.