Carrot salad topped with sesame-spiced turkey meatballs, crispy chickpeas, and drizzled with tahini dressing might just be one of the most delicious ways to get your family to eat their veggies!
So this meal sounds like quite a mouthful doesn’t it? No pun intended, of course.
But I have to tell you guys that it is by far one of the best meals I’ve eaten in the past couple of weeks. I’m really working on pulling in a few more diverse meals into our kitchen – in our in-need-of-more-healthy-meals bellies – and this carrot salad with tahini dressing and crisped chickpeas certainly did the trick.
It’s similar to how I feel about more hearty springtime salads like this strawberry poppyseed chicken salad or one of my absolutely all-time faves: the thai crunch chicken salad with sweet chili thai dressing. A salad needs to FEEL like a meal in order to consider it a meal, am I right?
To round out this carrot salad into more of a meal, I baked up a batch of sesame-spiced turkey meatballs and tossed them on top of the crunchy, tahini-drizzled shredded carrots.
And then I proceeded to scarf a serving down.
It wasn’t hard to do considering I totally fell for the tahini dressing that smoothly coated the cold and crunchy carrot-cilantro salad. The warm meatballs really added a nice salty and spicy complement to the meal and if you’re doing the meatless thing, I imagine some crispy and fluffy falafel would be an excellent substitution for the meatballs.
And somewhat surprising to me, Kyle devoured his serving as well, so you can bet that we’ll be eating this all summer after we start plucking our carrots from the ground in a few weeks.
Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing, Crisped Chickpeas and Sesame-Spiced Baked Turkey Meatballs
- Prep Time: 30min
- Cook Time: 20-25min
- Yield: 6 servings
For the sesame-spiced meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey
2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup water
½ tsp table salt
1 large egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp aleppo or ancho chile powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper or ¼ tsp aleppo pepper powder
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
For the crisped chickpeas:
1 ¾ cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp coarse sea salt
¼ tsp ground cumin
For the carrot salad:
1 ½ lbs carrots, peeled
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro or parsley
For the tahini dressing:
1 medium garlic clove, minced
¼ cup lemon juice
3 tbsp well-stirred tahini
2 tbsp water, plus more if needed
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste
To make the meatballs: Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir all of the ingredients, excluding the olive oil, together lightly with a fork in a large bowl, until well-combined. With a medium cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoon-size), scoop out level portions of the mixture onto the baking sheet. With lightly damp hands, shape the meatballs. Keeping your hands just barely wet for this prevents the mixture from sticking to your hands. Drizzle some olive oil over the shaped meatballs before putting the pan in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.
To make the chickpeas: In a medium bowl, toss the dried chickpeas with the oil, salt, and cumin until well-coated. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake at the same time as the meatballs, about 20-25 minutes. Allow the chickpeas to cool slightly and crisp up before adding them to the carrot salad.
To make the carrot salad: While the meatballs and chickpeas bake, grate the carrots on the large holes of a box grater or with the shredding attachment in the food processor (my favorite!). Toss the shredded carrots and cilantro or parsley together in a large serving bowl.
To make the tahini dressing: Whisk garlic, lemon juice, tahini, water, and olive oil together. Add some extra water by the teaspoon if the dressing needs to be thinning – it should be pourable. The viscosity of tahini varies from brand to brand which will affect how much extra water you need here. Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes. You’ll likely have more dressing that you’ll need for this recipe but it stores well in the fridge.
To assemble: Pour 1/3 of the dressing over the carrot salad and toss to combine, adding extra dressing if you feel the salad needs it. Toss some crispy chickpeas over the salad along with the meatballs. The chickpeas will soften in the salad slightly after some time so only add them as you need them.
carrot salad adapted from Smitten Kitchen | turkey meatballs adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
Oh, man! I saved this salad recipe too, and have had those meatballs saved forever, but never would I have thought to put them together – you’re a genius, my friend! This is on my weekly menu, can’t wait to make it.
Haha! I wish I could take credit for the combination but Deb suggested it in her carrot salad post. She IS a genius though because it was an outstanding dinner!
What a wild salad—I mean really wild. And that’s a compliment. I liked how you season your turkey meatballs. So I had to pin this on my salad board and my ‘fowl’ board too.
Made this last night and loved it! I thought it would be time consuming with all the components but it was actually really easy to throw together (especially using the shredder attachment on my food processor for the carrots) and the flavours all worked so well together! I still have leftovers to enjoy but will likely be making it again soon!
So happy to hear you loved it! I agree – everything comes together so quickly and how about that shredder attachment? Golden, isn’t it? 🙂
Such a fantastic recipe! I made this tonight and we LOVED it!