Roasted-Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole Recipe (2024)

  • Salads
  • Dairy-free Salads
  • Carrots
  • Fall Salads
  • Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Carrots are coated with ground chiles and spices, then roasted and served warm with a simple mole sauce, crisp radishes, fresh herbs, and toasted pumpkin seeds.


J. Kenji López-Alt

Roasted-Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole Recipe (1)

J. Kenji López-Alt

Culinary Consultant

Kenji is the former culinary director for Serious Eats and a current culinary consultant for the site. He is also a New York Times food columnist and the author of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science.

Updated November 28, 2023


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Roasted-Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole Recipe (2)

Why It Works

  • Par-boiling the carrots before roasting renders them soft and tender and keeps them from drying out.
  • Using the same spice blend to season the carrots and flavor the mole simplifies prep.
  • Pairing crisp radishes, green herbs, and crunchy pumpkin seeds with the tender roasted carrots adds fresh flavors and textural contrast.

Ever since tasting the salad of baby carrots with cress, radishes, and mole Poblano at Alex Stupak'sEmpellon, I've been obsessed with the idea of warm (temperature) carrots and warm (flavored) spices. It's one of those combos that justworks, with the sweet-savory-spicy-nutty flavor of the mole bolstering the sweet-savory flavor of the carrots.

I used a similar combo in myroasted carrot salad with harissa and crème fraîche. In this recipe, I'm going with a more literal Mexican-inspired approach, combining roasted carrots with a simplified mole sauce, along with thin-sliced radishes, greens, and pumpkin seeds.

The key to roasting carrots for long enough to caramelize them without letting them soften up too much is to par-cook them in a pot of salted water. Not only does this soften them without allowing them to shrivel, but it also lets you season them more deeply. After that, it's a simple matter of tossing them with olive oil flavored with some spices—in this case, cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic, black pepper, and ground ancho chiles. A 40-minute stay in a hot oven, and they're done.

To streamline the recipe, I make an extra-large batch of that spice blend and use it as the base for my simplified mole poblano sauce, too. To make it, I sauté onions and garlic, then combine them with the spice mixture, along with toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds, a touch of peanut butter, some dark chocolate, some raisins, and just a bit of orange juice to bring out the fruitiness of the chiles. The whole mixture gets blended down with vegetable stock and vinegar. It's an insanely rich mixture with a nice spreadable texture and a balance of sweet, savory, and spicy elements.

Roasted-Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole Recipe (3)

The salad thus far has taken a few steps to prepare, but good news: All of those steps can be done in advance. To serve the salad, all you've got to do is toss the carrots (re-warmed in the microwave if you'd like) with a touch of lemon juice and olive oil along with some mixed herbs and greens, and plate them with a big swipe of mole, a scattering of pumpkin seeds, white onion, and radish, and a sprinkle of hot chile flakes.

Oh, did I happen to mention that this gorgeous and tasty thing is vegan?

February 2014

Recipe Details

Roasted-Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole Recipe

Prep5 mins

Cook60 mins

Active45 mins

Total65 mins

Serves4 servings


  • For the Spice Blend:
  • 3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the Carrots
  • 1 pound small carrots, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • For the Peanut-Sesame Mole
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small white onion, sliced, divided
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock or water (plus more as necessary)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 whole chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Salad
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful mixed greens and herbs (such as cilantro or mint)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Pinch dried chile flakes (optional)


  1. Make the Spice Blend: Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Combine chile powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper, coriander, and salt. Set aside.

  2. Simmer and Roast the Carrots: Place carrots in a large pot, cover with water, and season heavily with salt. Heat over high heat until boiling. Reduce to a simmer and cook until barely tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and allow to dry for 5 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons spice blend, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and garlic. Toss to combine. Transfer to foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread out in an even layer. Roast until caramelized, about 40 minutes, turning once or twice during roasting. Transfer to a large bowl.

  3. Make the Mole: While carrots roast, heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Set aside a small handful of the sliced onion and add remaining onions and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add remaining spice blend and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sesame seeds, chocolate, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, stock, raisins, orange juice, and chipotle peppers. Stir until hom*ogenous. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender. Add vinegar. Blend on high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes, adding more stock as necessary to adjust consistency to a thick, batter-like texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  4. Assemble the Salad: Toss cooked carrots, remaining onions, radishes, and greens/herbs with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Spread some of mole mixture onto a serving plate. Top with carrots, radishes, and greens. Dollop more mole mixture on top of salad and garnish with pumpkin seeds and chile flakes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.

Special Equipment

Rimmed baking sheet, blender

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Roasted-Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole Recipe (2024)
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