Roasted-Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

A hearty salad of roasted carrots flavored with cumin and chilies, served with a simple mole sauce, radishes, greens, and crunchy pumpkin seeds.

Recipe Details

Roasted-Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole Recipe

Active 45 mins
Total 75 mins
Serves 4 servings


  • For the Spice Blend:
  • 3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 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 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 chili flakes (optional)


  1. For the Spice Blend: Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 375°F. Combine chili powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper, coriander, and salt. Set aside.

  2. For 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 large bowl.

  3. While carrots roast, make the Mole: Set aside small handful of sliced onion. Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remainin onions and garlic. 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 homogenous. 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. To Serve: Toss cooked carrots, remaining onions, radishes, and greens/herbs with lemon juice and 1 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 chili flakes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.

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