“Carrots keep you healthy and help you see in the blackout,” read one 1940s war propaganda advertisement.
While carrots are indeed loaded with vitamin A, which is necessary for good eyesight, eating them can’t improve night vision.
Smithsonian Magazine notes the exaggeration didn’t stop the British government from pushing the carrot’s superhero qualities in an effort to distract the Nazis from the real reason Royal Air Force pilots were shooting down their bombers: a secret radar system.
These days carrots are flying high in nutrition circles once again, especially when they are paired with turmeric, a super-spice gaining plenty of buzz in nutrition circles for its anti-inflammatory properties.
The dynamic duo shows up in recipes for elixirs, tonics and smoothies. The Kansas City Star’s recipe for Cilantro Carrot Salad includes turmeric, coriander seeds and red pepper flakes with a vinaigrette of olive oil and lemon.
Preparation tips: For more flavor, allow to marinate overnight but remember to wait until just before serving before tossing with cilantro and peanuts. Any type of peanut could be used in this recipe.
Crushing coriander in a mortar using a pestle releases the flavor and provides the ideal texture. If you don’t have a mortar/pestle, place the cooled seeds in a zip-top bag, seal the bag and place it on a board, then crush the seeds with the flat side of a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin or use a spice grinder.
CILANTRO CARROT SALAD
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 scant teaspoon coriander seeds (see tip)
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
1 pound carrots, peeled and grated (about 4 cups)
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
In a small skillet, over medium high heat, toast coriander seeds and toss frequently until fragrant. Remove skillet from heat and allow seeds to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, lemon juice, turmeric, red pepper flakes and olive oil.
Place cooled coriander seeds in a mortar and coarsely crush using the pestle. Add coriander to the dressing. Season lightly with salt and whisk to combine.
Place carrots in large glass bowl. Drizzle dressing over all and toss to coat carrots evenly. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or longer. Toss with cilantro and peanuts just before serving.
Per serving, based on 6: 141 calories (61 percent from fat), 10 g total fat (1 g saturated), no cholesterol, 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 83 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber.
Recipe developed exclusively for The Star by professional home economists Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss.