I hate to break it to you, but you’ve been using your vegetable peeler incorrectly for your entire life. And so have I, until recently.
A few weeks ago I was casually browsing the internet looking for a recipe to include in my weekly For the Love of Food link roundup, when I stumbled upon an intriguing carrot salad recipe. The recipe itself was mildly interesting, but that wasn’t what captured my attention. I mean, how good can a carrot salad really be?
But I do eat a lot of salads, especially this time of year when the farmers market is exploding with delicious produce, and something about this particular preparation caught my eye.
I always try to include as many different types of vegetables as I can in my salads (within reason, of course), since it is one of the easiest ways to increase the nutrient diversity in my healthstyle. So you’ll often find carrots, radishes, tomatoes, avocado, peppers, nuts, herbs, cheese and other goodies in there. Ideally each salad bite would be brimming with flavor created by each of the seasonal ingredients.
It really doesn’t take much to make me happy.
In reality, however, the salad gods are not so kind. More often than not, the acts of dressing and tossing salad result in all the delicious vegetables sliding their way to the bottom of the bowl, making it extremely difficult to dish out well-represented servings to individual plates. This may sound like a petty First World problem, and it is. But it’s also really freaking annoying and sometimes results in unnecessary food waste.
The issue is that vegetables that have been cut into thin, round slices tend to stick to the side of the bowl when coated with dressing. Evening turning the bowl upside down and shaking it won’t help them onto my plate. If I’m feeling patient I might spend a few minutes scraping out each individual vegetable circle, but chances are I’ll give up about 80% of the way through so I can just eat my stupid dinner.
For some reason, carrots have always been the worst offender in my ridiculous salad shenanigans, and I could feel myself slowly coming to despise them. If they were going to continue making my dinners so difficult, why should I continue to include them? I know carrots are good for me an all, but they are also JERKS. I don’t need this kind of negative influence in my life.
But of course, the foodist in me knows better than to let negative psychology affect my health. Carrots are important. There aren’t a lot of other orange root vegetables in my life. So I’ve been actively looking for new ways to cut them in hopes of breaking my psychological barrier against them.
My first attempt was grating the carrots. It worked ok, certainly better than the sliced rounds, but still a lot of carrot wouldn’t budge from the sides of the bowl and ended up in my garbage disposal. I did get to eat more carrot as well, but I wouldn’t call it a perfect solution.
Then, like some magical invention sent down from the heavens, carrot ribbons appeared. Instead of flecks or rounds, long, curly, luxurious ribbons of carrot stream beautifully through the lettuce and vegetables, holding tight to the salad as if actively trying to avoid the sides of the bowl. Even in a thin layer of vinaigrette, they move happily from prep bowl to serving plate.
In my experiments, this method of carrot slicing increased my enjoyment of salad (both prepping and eating) by 237%, completely eliminating the barrier that stopped me from adding carrots. Your results may vary.
Creating carrot ribbons is simple. Instead of peeling your carrot, give it a good scrub with a vegetable brush. Then lay your carrot flat on a cutting board, and use your peeler to slice off thin ribbons. Don’t rotate the carrot as you would when making squash noodles, keep it in the same orientation so that the ribbons get wider as you move through the carrot.
There is one last awkward piece of carrot at the end that I either eat myself or give to my dog (he only likes the ones from the farmers market, he spits out carrots from the grocery store––not even kidding).
If you’re anything like me this will completely transform your salad experience. I am going to start experimenting by using this technique with other sliced veggies. Cucumbers, I’m looking in your direction….
Have you tried making carrot ribbons?