Date Night In: Carrot Salad with Cilantro & Cinnamon

These are the days I feel most like hibernating. It’s February during a cold snap, and just the walk around my car to brush off the snow leaves me chattering under my layers.

It takes a good hour to thaw out from any outing and so I prefer to stay in as much as possible, thank you very much, and that includes for my date nights with Danny. The comforts of home overrule a chic destination on the town any evening of the week. Fortunately a new cookbook landed in my mailbox recently – the much anticipated Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship by Ashley Rodriguez. It’s inspiration for delicious food and drink pour deux, sure enough, but her book is much, much more than that.

Carrot salad ingredients-1

Written in Ashley’s gentle voice that we know and love from her blog, Not Without Salt, and featuring her beautiful, one-of-a-kind food photography, Date Night In is the cookbook that brings warmth and light to this cold month. It’s birthed from her popular blog series, Dating My Husband, a string of  stories and recipes that inspired me ages ago to slow down and nurture my marriage.

It’s a real treat to consume Ashley’s work in book form. Oh, I can relate to her story of mothering three small children and juggling a career; I well know that feeling of utter exhaustion at the end of an impossibly long day. Spending the evening, working across from Danny and sharing nothing more than space on the sofa is no way to grow old together. Nope, it takes a appointment in both our calendars; an intentional ‘us’ time, where we set aside our work, tuck the children in bed, and connect with each other over a meal for two. We’re merely one couple out of hundreds that Ashley has thus inspired with her dating series.

Date Night In book

Danny and I don’t pay any attention to the 14th of February, a commercial, chocolate-covered holiday that is a tiny bit lame, if I’m being perfectly honest. As it happens this year, I’ll be hosting a book event in Vancouver on the 14th, so we won’t even be together. But there will be a date night in before I leave. And when I get back.

Today’s recipe is on the menu for both rendezvous, because I can’t get enough of it.

Divided by the seasons, Date Night In offers recipes that are bold in flavor, yet simple to execute. This salad is a perfect example.  Let’s face it, carrots are one of the more unexciting vegetables of the season, but they land the role of a lifetime in a dish that my husband and I ate straight from the bowl with two forks. Crunchy and sweet, the carrots are livened up with the gentle heat of a fresh jalepeno, a kiss of cinnamon, and a generous handful of fresh cilantro. Heaven.

Fresh Carrot Salad with Coriander

Ashley has generously agreed to let me share her recipe for Fresh Carrot Salad with you. It’s an absolute must make, and not just for date night in. It’s certainly going on my list for a weekday lunch and I don’t anticipate having a problem finishing it off myself.

Carrot Salad with Cilantro & Cinnamon
5.0 from 1 reviews
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Serves/Yield: 2 servings
Published with permission from the cookbook 'Date Night In' by Ashley Rodriguez. The fresh and bold flavours of this salad make for an addicting dish you'll want to make again and again.
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, jalepeno, and salt.
  2. Toss the dressing with grated carrots and cilantro.
  3. Serve at once.
Notes
This salad can be made one day in advance. Ashley recommends adding the cilantro just before serving.

 

Alright, I’m curious to know your thoughts on date nights in. Do you stay home or do you get out on the town instead?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. If my husband and I want a date it HAS to be in. Living in a new town without family or a babysitter, it’s that or nothing. This recipe looks great! I’m putting it in this weeks menu plan.

  2. J and I are getting back in the habit of planning out our date nights, we do a mix of in and out. Sometimes its a special dinner after the girls are in bed or playing a game with fun snacks and drinks.
    We don’t go out on the 14th, we’ll go out a few days after instead. I much prefer that. =)
    I love the idea behind this book, adding it to my list!

  3. I’m absolutely a fan of date nights – in or out. Glad to hear you’re taking part too. Even a couple without children, grown children, or grandchildren, I say it’s a must. Great idea for a book. Recipe looks yummy.

  4. Eric Rodgers says:

    Carrot salads must be trending today. This is the second recipe for one I’ve seen without actively searching for such. Incorporating the spicy elements against the sweet carrots in Ashley’s salad sounds like a stroke of genius.

  5. Ashley’s book is so beautiful! It’s such an inspiring and heartwarming read, with so many wonderful menus.

  6. That one nice looking salad! I have had a carrot based salad on my to try list for a while now and and this is inspiring me to get to it!

  7. Love this recipe! Never thought I’d put cilantro and cinnamon in a dish but it looks like it works so perfectly!

  8. This sounds just like me… totally making it!

  9. What a fantastic dish Aimee!! I loooooove going out for date night. Having someone else cook is such a treat for me 🙂

  10. Slightly off topic, but I got your book in the mail today and it’s beautiful! Anyway, how this relates to your post is that I’m excited to see that you’ll have a book event in Vancouver! Are you having just one when you’re in our neck of the woods? That is the day of my son’s birthday party and making it to Vancouver afterwards might be a bit tight but I’ll see what I can do.

    • Lisa, I’m not 100% what your neck of the woods is…. I am doing an event in Smithers on Feb 15. Does that help?

      • We’re about an hour out of Vancouver, so that one’s closer for me. If I don’t make it, please accept my hearty congratulations on your cookbook. I’m itching to try it out.

  11. YOU’RE COMING TO VANCOUVER! Well I need to check out your event! It would be amazing to celebrate your book and meet you!
    And date night in sounds like I could kick it up a bit with these ideas! We don’t like to pay for babysitting but no reason not to make a night in a little more special !

  12. This recipe looks great! I’m putting it in this weeks menu plan.

  13. I canNOT wait to make this salad, thanks for sharing. And I’ve now put this book on my list!

  14. Michelle Clardy says:

    I love the Mold jars in all sizes. I think I would use them to store leftovers as well as for canning. Thanks for educating me about them!

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