Back in the District and Still Eating Carrots - French-Inspired Shredded Carrot Salad

We returned to D.C. from France on Tuesday, and I've finally worked my way through the jet-lag haze to post my first post-Paris recipe.
Besides digging up my high school/college French skills to communicate with the French, the biggest challenge when we arrived in Paris was deciding what to eat.  Sure, a baguette with some French cheese is an obvious choice when you're in Paris, especially when you see everyone walking around with baguettes sticking out of their bags and get a free basket of freshly-sliced bread with every meal, but our trip was 2 weeks long, and I needed to find some other good staples.
Shredded carrots did the trick. The French love their shredded carrots, and you'll find carrot salad with vinaigrette (rappe), shredded carrots in salads, and even carrot slaw on delicious falafel sandwiches.
I loved the creative use of carrots and decided that with our new food processor's shredding attachment, shredded carrots could easily become a salad staple at home.

I started by making a more traditional shredded carrot salad with a lemon vinaigrette.  I recommend using the carrots with the tops still on, as they tend to be sweeter and have more flavor than bagged carrots.  They're a tad more expensive than bagged carrots, but I think it's worth the extra dollar or two when carrots are the main event in your salad.

Shredded Carrot Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette (4 servings as a side dish)
1 bunch carrots (about 7 medium carrots)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 of a lemon)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chopped parsley (optional, but nice for a splash of color)

1.  Shred the carrots in a food processor, or using a grater.  You can get a finer consistency grating the carrots by hand (the French shredded carrots are usually very finely grated), but having neither the time nor the patience to stand over my box grater, I used the food processor.

If you lay the carrots down lengthwise, you get longer shreds of carrot, which I like.  It took me two rounds to shred all the carrots.  You can discard the big pieces that don't make it through the shredder or finely chop them with a knife.

Transfer the shredded carrots to a serving bowl.
2.  Whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, agave nectar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Pour the vinaigrette mixture over the shredded carrots and add the chopped parsley.  Mix the carrots to coat them with the dressing.

3. Serve immediately as a side dish (about 4 servings), or read on to see how to incorporate the carrot salad into a main course salad for lunch.
The nutrition facts for one serving of carrot salad as a side dish (assuming you get 4 total servings):

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 114 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A 360%Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 4%Iron 3%

To turn this dish into a main course for lunch (makes 2 servings):

Combine the carrot salad with:
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup cucumber, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces 
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved  

Add mixed greens to two plates and distribute half of the carrot salad mixture to each plate.

I also added half of a sliced apple to the side of each plate.  You shouldn't need any additional dressing, but you may want to add some freshly ground pepper on top.  Bon appetit!

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